As travel bloggers and frequent travellers, we can be said to have a decent understanding as to what goes behind every trip abroad. Although it normally ends up being labelled as a vacation and the drool worthy pics do end up causing a bit of envy, the sweat, time and energy that goes in making a trip successful is something everyone overlooks. If you’ve planned for your honeymoon yourself instead of signing up for a package, you know exactly what we go through every time. We’ve listed down some pointers on the major decision areas and how we keep them in check.
Most of us have to plan for the next big International trips because, budgets. We love to travel in luxury but despite what you might think, not all of our trips are sponsored. In fact we end up paying for almost all of them, all the time. That means we end up saving for our next International trip well in advance. Investment planning thus becomes a big keyword for us where we keep aside a certain percentage of our monthly incomes and have them generate a passive income for us. This in turn ends up funding a majority of our smaller trips and goes a long way in contributing to the budgets of our bigger international trips. For any trip, we do a lot of research to figure out the destinations we wish to explore and the activities we are interested in. This gives us a fair idea on the number of days, the bigger cost pits like flights and accommodations and the maximum amount we would end up spending on activities. That creates an informed base for our budget planning for the trip. Although we end up overshooting it most of the times (because we do enjoy splurging on a nice experience or a spa treatment or even a hotel upgrade) we’re yet to break the bank.
It’s always a big question on how much money to carry while going abroad. Credit card fees are pretty high for forex and you would ideally not want to carry around too much currency to avoid any unfortunate incidents. However when you’re like us and don’t like booking things in advance, you need to have some kind of a financial planning in place to avoid straining your budgets. The key to that is research. You can check forums, info guides and even booking platforms to estimate the amount of money you would end up spending for activities you like. We’ve found forex cards a good option but generally prefer taking along some cash for emergencies and petty expenses where hunting for cards isn’t always the most convenient option.
A lot of people skip on this very important thing while planning their travel abroad. Especially if you’re travelling with your family it is extremely important to invest in a term insurance for financial security and peace of mind. Also, healthcare is very expensive in certain countries and a freak injury or illness can not only put your holiday at risk, it can also become a very expensive proposition depending upon the situation. Add to it the common threat of missed/cancelled flights and MIA luggage and you have a very compelling reason to buy insurance. We always travel abroad with some kind of a travel insurance and are luckily yet to make use of it. That said, the sense of security it provides is worth the trivial investment by far. It’s best to do a bit of research to know the benefits each policy provides. We’ve found some policies offer better coverage in some regions while others are more geared towards mediclaim. It generally takes us all of 5-10 minutes to research and an additional 5 to buy online.
We’ve often faced a situation that the type of hotel we booked looked good in the pictures and turned up dismal despite being rated a star hotel. We’ve come to understand that ratings work differently in different countries. In some destinations we’ve found really good and affordable star rated hotels and in others we had to scurry out right after checking in and opt for a more expensive hotel because it just didn’t cut it. To give you a reference, we’ve found European hotels to be smaller in size, more practical in nature and more expensive for the facilities they provide while SE Asian hotels are generally cheaper, bigger and with more frills for similarly rated star hotels. Hotel rating are also a bit confusing as sometimes it’s very difficult to distinguish what incremental advantage you’re getting while choosing between two hotels at a similar location but rated as a 3 star hotels vs a 4/5 star hotel. We’ve even come across cases where a non-star boutique hotel was more expensive than a 5 star hotel from an established chain and still managed to provide value for our money.
If you’re a vegetarian like us or worse still, a vegan, it’s very difficult to find good options for food. This is especially true if you’re planning to explore some offbeat destinations off the road. We’ve found ourselves stuck many a time where we didn’t come across a single place on the road where we could stop and have a fulfilling hot meal. However that is where we feel our habit of packing some ready to eat food/ dry snacks becomes very helpful. We’ve never once had to do without food because we had some right with us which we would then refill in the next big city. It does become a hassle as you do have to lug it around, but that said, it becomes lighter with each passing day as you manage to eat your way through the load.
If you have some tips of your own and feel we’ve left out some key decision areas which you would like help with. Do share them with us in the comments or simply ping us. We will be glad to share our experience with you! If you liked reading this, you might also wish to check out our packing guide.