Travel Planning Guidelines and everything in between

Here at TravelPlanInfo.com we know how stressful traveling can be and this is why we are posting this travel planning guidelines (and everything in between).. We have many years of experience of helping take the stress out of your upcoming trip. From gathering and checking documentation, useful reminders, what to pack, where to get the best deals, seamless airport pickups recommendations to help you save money at the airport to the perks of even hiring a luxury limousine service for that stress free vacation you’ve been planning since ever. We’re here to help. So, we thought we’d put this handy guide together to help you plan your next trip.
travel planning guide
Travel Planning guidelines

Passport/Visa/Vaccinations

Once you have chosen your destination, and if it is abroad, before booking anything we always recommend having a look at your passport. Is it still valid, and have you got at least 6 months left on the passport? As many countries require at least 6 months until it expires.
Then you need to look at visa as some countries require you apply for these beforehand. A good visa checking website is VisaHQ to see what is required.
When you have this information, also check online and with your local medical professionals, if you require any vaccinations before traveling to another country and can you have all the necessary doses in the time before you plan to travel.

Copies of important travel docs

As a good travel planning practice, we recommend always having a photocopy of your passport with you in case it is ever needed. Also with a digitally scanned copy of your passport that you should either email yourself so you can access it from any computer, or on a similar service such as Dropbox. You should then do this for any other important documents, such driving licence, flight details, visas etc. Quick tip! Have a few spare passport photos with you. These can come in handy sometimes with immigration in certain countries for their forms.
travel planning
Where do you want to go and when? What interests you?

Travel Planning 101- Where do you want to go???

If it is a leisure trip, then the first step is to work out where you want to travel to. We recommend taking into account the time of year you will be going and looking at the weather, festivals & events that will be on, religious holidays etc in that country. For example, if you go to Canada, do you want to experience their winter and skate on a canal, go skiing or snowboarding, or would you rather go in their summer and camp under the stars and swim in their famous lakes? The time of year you go can completely change your experience of a country and also the activities and places you go there.

Book Travel

If all of the above is ok, then it is time to book your travel arrangements! There are various websites to use to book your flights, but have a look at Skyscanner or Kiwi among the many others.
It also helps to factor in what time your flight/train arrives. Will it be easy to get transport from the airport/train station to your hotel? If you arrive at an airport at 3 am, then public transport may not be running for instance. You
We can of course help with any rides to and from an airport in the USA with our excellent car service!

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is essential if anything happens to you while you are abroad, from flights being cancelled, to being injured or having a medical emergency, to your passport being lost or stolen. If you do not have any travel insurance, this can lead to expensive bills. Please ensure you are insured before travelling anywhere!

Money Access when traveling internationally

Having money access is not always easy when traveling, especially if you are abroad and have to deal with currency exchange. We recommend carrying a mixture of local money, and at least 2 credit/debit cards. You should also inquire with banks before leaving about cards that do not charge you fees when you are abroad.
Quick tip! It is also always useful to have some US dollars with you in cash at all times, as these are widely accepted around the world.

Mobile devices, WiFi and international travel

Mobile devices with interchangeable chips – Check with your carrier before you leave if they offer an international roaming plan and activate before you leave – If your phone does not take SIM cards, buy a prepaid mobile from Walmart, Target, etc.. If taking your laptop or tablet, think about internet connection and find out if the hotel or place where you be staying has wifi available.

If not, your mobile phone most likely have a HotSpot feature and you will be able to share data with you other mobile devices, but then again, we come back to roaming and traveling internationally. Ideally, you will want to buy a pass from your provider. If not your best option is to buy a SIM card once you arrive at your vacation destination and get a plan with enough data to last until you leave.

Packing Electronics

Packing is a lot easier if you know the weather of the destination you’ll be arriving in, so once you know the season then you can pack accordingly. If going to a colder climate, it’s always easier to pack and wear layers than take big bulky clothing. If you are checking in your luggage when flying then always have a spare change of clothes in your hand luggage just in case your luggage goes missing in transit.

Ensure all your electronic devices are charged before the flight or train journey and look to see if you can get your mobile phone unlocked before going abroad. This can help you avoid high roaming costs as if your phone is unlocked then you can put in a local sim card and use data this way.

Quick tip! If you check with your accommodation beforehand what is provided, then you know if you need to take items like towels and hairdryers.

Packing and pre-filling your medication

Air travel can be an anxiety-inducing experience for anybody: Are the pilots awake? Is that toddler sitting next to you going to scream through the whole flight? Are the plane’s stocks of wine running low? Can you even bring all your prescription medication on board? That last one, at least, is easy to solve, thanks to reasonably clear rules from the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Confirming Flights

Packing is a lot easier if you know the weather of the destination you’ll be arriving in, so once you know the season then you can pack accordingly. If going to a colder climate, it’s always easier to pack and wear layers than take big bulky clothing. If you are checking in your luggage when flying then always have a spare change of clothes in your hand luggage just in case your luggage goes missing in transit.
Ensure all your electronic devices are charged before the flight or train journey and look to see if you can get your mobile phone unlocked before going abroad. This can help you avoid high roaming costs as if your phone is unlocked then you can put in a local sim card and use data this way.
Quick tip! If you check with your accommodation beforehand what is provided, then you know if you need to take items like towels and hairdryers.

Booking accommodations

When you are choosing your accommodation, keep in mind how important location is. A lower priced option may appear great at first, but if it’s not near where you want to be, then the cost of travelling via taxi or by other means may soon add up and negate the saving you made in the first place.
There are many accommodation sites to book with. If you’re after a hotel you could try booking.com, Agoda or Hotels.com
AirBnB is another popular option to book with, and with AirBnB you can often get a whole house or apartment, which then also means you get access to a kitchen.

What Activities are you thinking of?

There’s usually a wealth of information online about what you want to see and do in the location you have chosen, so search to see what is free, must do, off the beaten path, day trips from your main location etc. Make a list of what appeals and see if there is anything you need to do before visiting. Are there any activities or events that you need tickets before? For example, if you’re going to New York City and want to see a Broadway show, then you should purchase tickets in advance.

Also look in advance at places you would like to eat and drink, especially if you have any special dietary requirements that would require restaurants to accommodate you. If you want to eat at a restaurant on a certain night, then look to book that before so you know you have it confirmed.

Quick tip! If it is a business trip you should see if there are any activities or events on that you can attend outside your work schedule, these are also a great way to meet people.

How to get to the train station/airport/seaport from your home

Of course, you can often get a train or bus but do you want to go on there with your luggage? Do you want to deal with the hassle of driving there plus finding airport parking (or parking remotely off-airport grounds and wait for the shuttle and pray you don’t miss your flight? Nowadays, there are many ground transportation options that help you get to of from your destination while on vacation, in a safe and relaxed environment. 

How to get from train station/airport to your new destination

There will be a variety of ways to get around depending on your location. If you are in a different country, you can see if Uber or Lyft operate there. If not, you can also grab a local taxi. We recommend speaking to your accommodation first to see what they think the local rate should be from the airport to your hotel, so you are not overcharged. You also run the risk of surge pricing with Uber depending on the time you land. You can always check to see what the local bus and train situation is too. However, with luggage this can be cumbersome.

How to make better use of your time if you are on a business trip

If you are on a business trip then you want to be as productive as possible and make the most of every minute. If you have to drive yourself around with a rental car, then this is valuable time that you are wasting as you are not only going “A to B” but also then trying to find parking. Just imagine doing this in a city such as New York City, it can be very time consuming and stressful.

We recommend having someone drive you about when you get to your destination. This removes a lot of the stress of you finding your location each time such as your hotel or office, especially when in a new place.
This then gives you more time to prepare and work before meetings, relax before that all-important presentation and make phone calls without having to worry about being distracted by driving.

P.S. Do not forget to print a copy of your Travel Planning Guidelines and make sure to cross check all items you have deemed relevant or important and go over it one more time the day before you embark on your travels.