Planning Your Next Travel Destination

Ever wonder what it takes to plan for your next holiday? Be it a short getaway or a long and much-needed vacation. Ever get confused or just being overwhelmed at all the information that is available to you via the internet, and you just don’t know where to start? Here’s what you should do when you are planning your next holiday.

CHOOSING A DESTINATION

Where to go next? There’s a few ways to go about it. You can either go by region. Say, South East Asia, or Europe and then you conquer each country one by one making your way down the list. Or, you can go by with where it sparks your interest. For example, if you are interested in building architecture, you can make research on the most beautiful buildings built by man in the world, like Rome! (I’ve always wanted to go there).

If buildings are not your cup of tea, and you feel like you are more in touch with the mother nature, then you could search for the place where you can drive around at your own pace, and witness the most majestic view.

Another way to go about it is also through other people’s experience. Be not afraid to ask about your friends or your colleague on their experience travelling. I am sure that they are more than happy to share with you their good and bad memories, to help you decide your next destination.

When choosing the destination, be sure to also check whether Malaysian passport can enter the country without a Visa, or can we apply for visa-on-arrival or, we would have to apply for a visa at the consulate before we fly. This research is so important and it could save you a lot of heartache.

GROUP TOUR OR INDEPENDENT TRAVEL

This would depend on whether you are comfortable and confident enough to be at a foreign country by yourself and decide on what you would like to do at your own pace. If it is the first time that you are travelling out of the country, then I would recommend you join a group tour where everything has been decided and arranged for you. You could expect minimal disruptions to your travel plans but, you should know you would have to be on a schedule and there isn’t much lee-way given if you need to do something at your free-will.

If you have been out of the country, and that you are more confident with the way things work, that I would definitely recommend for you to go by yourself. All the problems you may encounter (and always expect there would be problems) will become your most priceless memories that you would remember forever. With all the technologies available at hand, navigational apps telling you where you are exactly and how to get to your next point,  and language translator app to help you bridge the language barrier you can most definitely do it on your own. All you need, is courage to take the leap!

ITINERARY

Once you have decided whether you can go on an independent travel and you are sure of your destination, an itinerary is most crucial. It gives you more structure when you are deciding on where to go, what to do, where to stay, or eat. You can start from scratch, and be as detailed or precise as you want when planning your itinerary. I myself prefer it to be just the basics of what date and where would I be on a certain day. I feel it gives me more freedom on what I choose to do when I get there. But, it also saves you time on making the decision if you already have a general idea of the points of interest. You should be ready with all the information on the excursions and the things you would like to do, especially on how much it will cost, so you can be prepared. Any surprises when it comes to money can put extra pressure on you especially if you are travelling on a small budget.

If you are not into the details, there are more than enough itineraries available online, where they give you options depending on your length of stay and your travel plans, (i.e which airport you land or depart, travelling by car or public transports.)

itinerary

A typical itinerary

ONLINE BOOKINGS

If you are travelling in a large group, please consider booking a self-catering apartment or homes for your next holiday. It is sometimes much cheaper and you can also have the freedom to choose what suits you best. If you are not going to rent a car, an accommodation, that can easily access the public transport should be your main criteria. You don’t want to end up in the middle of no-where without any mode of transportation to help you get to where you need.

There’s a lot of websites that you can choose to make your bookings, but make sure that the website is a trusted website. When choosing a place to stay, spend some time reading the review section. There, you can make an informed decision based on the reviews given by the previous tenants, they can be really insightful. Our personal preference when we go for travel is the AirBNB website. If you use this platform often enough, you are actually building your own profile as a guest in their homes. If you have a good reputation, then most homeowner would be more open as to having you over into their homes.

20161220_195237

One of the homes we stayed in when we were in NZ

If however you’re going in a smaller group, I’d suggest you go online where there are a lot of hotel room deals that you can select from. Some websites can even provide you with comparisons for the same room at different deals. If you really want to live on the edge (of glory….), you can also make last-minute bookings, where they can really slash their room prices. Booking.com, Agoda, Trivago are some of the website I usually visit to get the best deals. They have free-cancellation policy on some of their deals, so that if you ever need to make changes to your bookings, you can do so subject to their terms and conditions.

TRANSPORTATION

Most developed countries have a very good and reliable network of public transports. They can offer you travel card packages where you can save on the transport charges. These cards are very important for us tourist because if we don’t have them, the transport charges can be really expensive. These cards sometimes come with free entrance fee for some excursion or at a discount. This is most applicable if you are going to a big city, and only plan to stay in the city. If you plan to go somewhere outside the CDB, a car will likely be best.

Malaysian drivers license are dual language, i.e Malay & English, so most countries do accept our drivers license without having to go and apply for an international drivers license. But, it is always best to check with the local transport authority to get the most accurate information. We don’t to be on the wrong side of the law. Renting a car, can either be done online or you can visit the rental car booth at the airport terminal. They can offer you the best type of car based on how many people you have travelling with you and your luggage space need. Also, don’t forget to research on the rules and traffic regulations of the country. It is quite possible that it is the total opposite of what we are used to.

I think that’s about it on what you should consider when planning for a trip. You can easily be overwhelmed with all the information online, but I’d take it one step at time, where you solve one issue at one given point. Plan your holiday as you do when you are at work, systematically and I’d guarantee, after planning a few trips, you will find that it is not difficult at all.

Happy Planning!

AZ

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