Where to start
There are a number of things you
have to decide when planning your
trip, all equally important. Feel
free to answer these questions with
a pen and paper, in your head or
print out the
free worksheet here.
1) Determine the amount of time you
have to travel. Not counting your
arrival and departure days, how
many days does this give you to
2) Determine who you will be
traveling with if, anyone as well
as well as whether you want to
travel on your own or with an
organized tour group.
Don't be intimidated about
traveling on your own - even if you
are going it alone. Having complete flexibility and freedom
is incredible, so definitely
consider it. You can even do a
combination of the two - start your
trip off with a tour then finish
with time to travel on your own.
If you are interested in a group
tour, see the following links:
3) When do you want to travel? Do
you mind crowds in Italy or rain in
December. Weather can be an
important factor in these decisions.
Do a search on
Google for "average rainfall
November Italy" or "average
temperature Barcelona April" and
try variations until you find what
4) Determine your and your travel
partner (s) objective for your
trip. This can be crucial and a
discussion is definitely needed in
regards to it. Do you want to be up
early and going to museums? Does
your travel partner like to party
and stay out all night? Are you
both planners or will you play it
by ear? Shared rooms or private?
Conservative with money or free
5) The key question - how much is
it going to cost. You are going to
need to budget a MINIMUM of $60 a
day, $75 is probably more
realistic. This will get you a dorm
bed, food, sightseeing and a maybe
a beer at the pub. Do not kid
yourself into thinking it will be
possible to do it for less - you
will run into unexpected expenses,
such as bus fare, mandatory bed
sheet rentals, shower tokens etc.
If you need to, scale back your
number of days in order to match
your budget. This is your trip of a
lifetime - you want to experience
it, not be left at the hostel while
your room mates head out for
some gelato in Italy or fish and
chips in England.
6) Determine what kind of
accommodation you are interested in
staying in. Hostels, budget hotels,
private rooms, dorm rooms. Are you
more comfortable with a reservation
or just winging it? I definitely recommend a
reservation in the high season or if you are planning
on staying in a private room in
Consider whether you are OK with
trekking around town with a heavy
pack, looking for a place to stay.
If you don't have much time, it's
not worth it.
7) Get yourself a good guidebook
and start reading. I like Lonely
Planet and Rough Guides the best,
Rick Steves and Let's Go are also
very popular. Make sure you look
through all of them to see which
one suits you the best. Look to see
that it has:
- Places that you are planning to
- Very important - that it lists accommodation in your price range.
- Maps - are they detailed and clear? You will be using them a lot.
- That it's the latest version published.
- It's the most specific book for
your trip - as in, if you are just
going to London - get a London book
rather than an England book.
OK - so at this point we should
have all our details figured out -
from what time of year we are going
to who we are going with... Oh, and we've got a guidebook -
good job! Keep all of these things
your worksheet our
because now we are getting into the
Let's move on! Where do we want
to go and what kind of route do we
Let's find out:
to go and what route to take