Tonya Topel, Travel

Part 1: Traveling Planning Tips

Travel planning can be challenging and overwhelming — especially if you are planning a trip overseas. If you are planning a trip and don’t know where to get started or just want tips on how to plan a better vacation, this guide is for you!

When I first began planning trips, I had no idea what I was doing. Now I’m a travel agent, and I get help others plan their dream vacations. Over the course of my travel career, I have learned the ins and outs of planning a great trip and here are my tips!

Make a Budget

While it is hard to make a budget before you start planning, you should have an idea of how much money you can and want to spend on your travel plans. It’s important to consider your budget before planning because this helps you determine how much money you can spend on accommodations. I recommend running a brief search on a few different destinations to look at airline prices and hotel fares to gain a general understanding how much a trip will cost you and what you can afford.

Choose Your Destination

The first step in travel planning is deciding where you want to go. Important questions to consider are how much time do you have, who are you traveling with, what is your budget, when do you want to go, and what kind of experiences do you like? If you only have a short amount of time for a trip, don’t waste too much time traveling to your destination. Likewise, if you are traveling with kids and want kid-friendly activities, your destination choice should be family friendly. Budget and timeframe are also important factors when planning a trip because it is often cheaper to travel out of season, but some would rather spend more and travel during prime time.

Booking Flights

After choosing your destination, the next step is booking a flight. I recommend booking your airline tickets and other travel accommodations prior to booking a hotel because airline prices can dramatically change depending on what days you select to travel. When searching for flights, be sure to check airline carriers’ direct websites because they often have lower fares. Additionally, I recommend only paying for a direct flight if you are traveling with kids or have limited travel time. (Check back soon for another blog on tips for finding cheap flights)

Booking Other Accommodations

After you know what days you’ll be traveling, planning your hotel accommodations is another major travel expense. When searching for a hotel, consider hotels or apartments that offer full kitchen space. While the price may be higher, it will actually save you money because then you do not have to eat out for every meal. If you are traveling with kids, I recommend staying in a hotel or apartment that has separate bedrooms from the living space. If you are traveling solo or in a small group, consider staying in an AirBnB because they offer low-cost accommodations.

Planning a trip takes much more than these four steps — so check back soon for Part 2: Traveling Planning Tips!

Tonya Topel is an avid traveler and licensed travel agent located in Kansas City, MO. Check more of her travel tips or follow her on Twitter!

Originally published at on March 12, 2018.

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