Travel Planning

Every trip begins with the planning and preparation of the trip.

We always plan our trips on our own, because package holidays and crowds at the buffet are not our thing. We love individuality and travel without conventions and pressure. At the same time, it is also important to us to get the most out of the limited time of a trip. We are employed and only have 30 vacation days per year. Therefore our trips have to be organized efficiently. It may not be romantic, but there is no other way. Our travel planning tool has really proven itself. At the end of your travel planning you can simply print out the file and take it with you on the trip or keep an overview on your smartphone.

Just give it a try.

The tool consists of three workbooks.

WORKBOOK # 1:

Simple TRAVEL PLANNING - overview

This table will help you plan your trip. The longer the trip takes and the more different destinations you head for, the more complicated it becomes and the more helpful this tool is.

Enter all flights & transfers, overnight stays and other activities with times and costs in the table. This way you can see immediately whether you have a planning or booking error and keep an overview of the costs.

We have been using the table for years to plan our trips and do not want to do without it anymore.

reiseplanung

WORKBOOK # 2:

Comprehensive TRAVEL PLANNING - complete overview

You should use this worksheet if you are planning a longer and more extensive trip.

We created and tested it during our 3-month trip around the world. With 28 flights, ten countries, six rental cars and much more, it is not easy to keep an overview.

With every booking you can enter the details in the file. You keep an eye on dates, costs, providers, etc.

We have already made a few sample entries for the download

reiseplanung
reiseplanung

WORKBOOK # 3:

Transport comparison

We all want to get the best out of every trip because the hard earned money and the short vacation days are valuable.

This means that the unpleasant parts of the trip such as transfers and waiting times have to be optimized in terms of costs, time and comfort.

Those who do not book in the travel agency look for their flights, trains and other transfers on the relevant portals.

There are so many flight options and transport connections and the tabs on the PC are stacking up so that you lose track.

With our transport comparison, you can display all options on one page and compare them in terms of costs, times and other criteria.

MY PROCEDURE FOR PLANNING:

I write options on a piece of paper. 
What about travel time and climate? Do I want to travel during the best travel time or is the weather unimportant, the main thing is that there are not many tourists on the way? I get an overview.
I plan my country route roughly, so I can best estimate how long I want to stay in a country, what I really want to see and how much time I definitely need there. We create our own maps on google.de/maps.
If I have entered the points in maps, you can already see a rough plan of the route.

Depending on where the focus of my interest is, I can also use the route to create a schedule. Where do I want to stay and for how long?

What type of hotel am I? We are totally into small boutique hotels and, for example, are not bag packers at all. I choose hotels on our route and book them. Booking portals where you can cancel free of charge are advantageous. Plans can change quickly. A price comparison is always worthwhile. Some hotel booking portals offer various discount programs. At booking.com there is about the genius status, where I usually get 10% to 15% discount, room upgrades or free breakfast. At hotels.com I collect free next ones. Ten nights means one free night worth the average of the cost of the last ten nights. There is a little trick for free nights. If you book via the mobile app, you do not have to pay any fees to redeem the next bonus, but you do have to do so via an internet browser.

I ask myself the following questions:

Do I need a rental car or any transfer trips?

How do I get from goal A to goal B?

We usually book our rental cars via Check24: Free cancellation up to 24h before collection and the cheapest prices. We always book our rental car with the best insurance cover and without a deductible.

Which flight route makes the most sense? Pay attention to price, flight duration, stops and transfer times. Do I want the cheapest price and may have to expect long travel times or do I prefer to pay a little more and travel shorter? We first compare on portals where we have an overview of several airlines. If the flight price on the airline website is the same as other comparison sites, we would always book directly with the airline. - Attention: Pay attention to the credit card fees for flight bookings, these are different on each booking page. Also, the baggage fees not included. If you have to pay in the local currency on the airline site, you still have to pay any foreign currency fees.

If you want to join tours, take care of it early enough. For some experiences you need permits that have to be requested well in advance - for example gorilla permits in Uganda, dives at special spots or boat trips to remote islands.

QUESTIONS I ASK ME BEFORE TRAVELING IN TRAVEL PLANNING

WHAT BUDGET DO I HAVE FOR THE TRAVEL?

Set a budget for your trip that you don't want to exceed.

Of course you cannot plan every issue in detail, but at least the major issues such as flights, hotels, rental cars etc. should be known beforehand.

At least the following cost factors are added:

Food as a cost factor

We love good food and if we don't get good food, the trip is not a success for us.

Trying the local food and getting to know the associated preparation techniques is an important expectation for us on every trip.

So we always spend a little more on food. While everyone around us is eating canned ravioli, we have lamb chops, prawns and other goodies. Good food, good trip.

Accommodation as a cost factor

A good bed, a nice garden, great design, not too many rooms and above all a great location, that makes a hotel perfect for us.

Just like the food, a good hotel decides whether the trip will be remembered for a long time or not. The most beautiful travel destination without pleasant hotels and the trip will not be remembered positively.

Here you will find hotels all over the world that we particularly liked.

Experiences as a cost factor

A good trip depends on the experiences you make during the trip.

For us, nature and wildlife are the focus here. We also like to spend a little more money for a good tour and this point is usually reflected properly in our travel expenses.

We don't save on the quality of accommodation, food or experiences when traveling. We still try to pay little money for it. With hotels and flights in particular, loyalty programs from booking portals and airlines can often make good deals.

DO I NEED A VISA TO TRAVEL? IF YES, HOW EFFICIENT TO APPLY?

There are different ways to apply for a visa depending on the country of travel.

Find out whether you need a Visa on Arrival, eVisa (visa can be applied for and granted online) or whether the passport must be sent to the consulate of the respective country in order to obtain an entry permit.

HOW LONG IS MY PASSPORT VALID?

Find out how long the passport must still be valid for entry into your country of travel.

DO I NEED AN INTERNATIONAL DRIVING LICENSE?

Research whether you need an international driver's license to drive a car or a scooter in the destination country.

The application is not too complicated. The international driving license is issued in the driving license offices of the district offices.

DO I NEED SPECIAL Vaccinations? Are my standard vaccinations still up to date?

You should inquire about prescribed vaccinations a few months before departure.

We had a pretty tight vaccination plan for our trip to Southeast Asia, which lasted two months. You should note that you must be healthy on the vaccination days.

The health insurance companies also offer various services here. At the TKK you can e.g. have travel vaccinations carried out indefinitely per year and receive 90% of the costs incurred.

There are the following options for vaccination advice:

- Vaccination advice from your family doctor: This usually does not have the information itself and inquires at the tropical institute or other specialists

- Online research: We always do research on the website of the Center for Travel Medicine (link to https://crm.de/)

DO I NEED SPECIAL HEALTH CARE FOR TRAVEL?

Anyone who likes to travel should have international health insurance.

The typical and very inexpensive foreign health insurance policies are intended for trips that do not last longer than 60 to 80 days at a time.

If you are planning a longer trip, inform yourself about a suitable international health insurance.

We chose Allianz's “Long Good Travel” insurance, which was relatively inexpensive (99 days and around € 100).

We always put together a first-aid kit with the most important medicines in advance. We always have medication for the following pain with us:

- headache
- nausea
- earache
- diarrhea / constipation
- flu infection
- special personal medicine

DO I NEED TO IMPORT MEDICINES INTO THE COUNTRY THAT ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE TRAVELING COUNTRY?

Do you need a drug with an anesthetic / calming agent for your trip?

Better take a look at the ingredient list and find out from the embassies of the countries you are traveling to whether you can introduce medicine to the country. You should also keep a form with you. The form includes the patient's name and passport number, medication (amount, dosage and trade name), as well as the signature and stamp of the doctor who prescribed the medication. A copy of the prescription drug prescription should be attached to the form.

We always carry a drug with the active ingredient lorazepam because of Kathrin's fear of flying with us. We usually have the certificate with us.

IS THERE A SPECIAL CLOTHING OR OTHER CULTURAL SPECIAL FEATURES IN THE COUNTRY?

Find out about local customs and respect the culture of your host country.

WHAT MEANS OF PAYMENT ARE COMMON IN TRAVEL COUNTRY

We used to order banknotes in the currency of our travel destination from the bank before each trip to avoid expensive credit card fees.

In the meantime, we only withdraw money from the target country. For this we have a credit card that is free of charge, with no international fee and no withdrawal fees.

HOW MUCH LUGGAGE DO I NEED? WHICH LUGGAGE DO I USE?

Suitcase or backpack? Since we couldn't make up our minds, we took a combination of the two for our trip around the world.

By the way, here you can download our packing lists.

If you have several flights during your trip - maybe even with different airlines - check the respective baggage regulations in advance. Nothing is more annoying than paying fees for a suitcase that is too heavy.

Baggage regulations vary between airlines and in some cases the requirements on domestic flights are different from those on long-haul flights.

 

Other posts you may be interested in: