If shelter-in-place orders have led to the travel bug biting you hard, you can soothe your cabin fever by diving in and planning your next big trip.
After spending so much time in one place, even people who don’t travel often are getting the itch to explore. If you’re yearning to learn about different cultures, wander down unfamiliar streets, try foreign cuisine, and see drop-dead gorgeous sights, you’re definitely not alone!
Just thinking about traveling can bring a sense of excitement and joy. That’s why researching and starting to plan your next trip will help you lose cabin fever. We’ll help you get going!
Pick a Location (or Two)
Being cooped up and staring at the same four walls for a long time is enough to make most people want to go anywhere right now, so picking just one destination might be challenging. The South of France might sound like the best place to be, but Bali is a Zen mecca, and, of course, you’ve always wanted to go to Machu Pichu!
If that’s your brain right now, choose the one location you most want to visit, and then research other areas near there you might want to explore. For example, if you go anywhere in Europe, all the other countries are pretty well-connected and relatively close. You can easily rent a car or jump on a train and visit Italy or Spain.
If you go somewhere like New York, though, there’s so much to do and see there, you don’t want to overwhelm your itinerary by trying to visit anywhere else.
What Type of Traveler Are You?
After you choose a location, it’s a good time to figure out what kind of traveler are you. Answer the following questions:
- What do you enjoy doing most when you travel?
- Are you a loner, or do you prefer to travel with others?
- Do you like fancy hotels, or do you just need a bed and a shower?
- Do upscale restaurants and fine dining define your experience, or do you only eat to fuel up?
- Are you adventurous, or do you prefer lounging around?
- Nature or big city?
- Do you collect souvenirs and take a million photos, or do you prefer to get lost in the moment?
- Always eager to check out the local art scene or prefer the mall?
- Do you plan everything to the last detail, or wander around and go with the flow?
Once you have your answers, you’ll be able to form a clearer picture of what you want to experience and get out of your trip. If you’ll be traveling with others, make sure your interests align, or you’ll end up fighting over the itinerary and spending more time apart than together (unless, of course, that’s the whole point).
Calculate Your Budget
Knowing exactly where you stand with your money before, during, and after your trip will help you find the best deals to suit your budget. It will also prevent you from spending too much during the first part of your trip.
When you return home, you’ll be able to see if you could have splurged a little on one thing and saved a bit more somewhere else. If you learn from your mistakes, it will help you on your future trips.
Be clear with your money and allocate an amount for lodging and meals, transport, and activities and sightseeing. Add in some extra cash for emergencies, leisure, or the odd coffee or extra meal if your plane gets delayed. If something goes wrong, you want to make sure you can afford whatever you might need.
Having a screenshot of your budget is also helpful, so you’ll know exactly how much you can spend on each category.
Plan Your Transport and Lodging
When you have a location and budget, it’s time to start booking transport and lodging. Depending on how near or far your destination is, you might need to find the best deals on airline tickets, browse train schedules, rent a car, or find a cruise ship that suits your preferences.
If your destination is foreign, research if you’ll need a visa or other formal document to enter the country, and always make sure your passport is up to date. You don’t want to have any problems with customs or the authorities, or risk being sent back home.
Once you arrive at your destination, will you need a car? Do you want to check the local train or bus service? It’s better to check and book whichever mode of transit you’re going to use before you actually get there. This is especially true for a foreign location with a different language and currency system.
Speaking of currency, always check the exchange rate, and make sure you carry some foreign cash with you at all times. Where you live right now, you might be used to swiping your card or tapping your phone, but in many locations, cash is still the only way of paying for goods. Do your research and bring some of the local currency with you. Try to avoid money exchange machines in airports and train stations as their rates are usually not in your favor.
Now that you’ve crossed those two items off your list, start looking for lodging. If you prefer fancy hotels, this will be the most expensive part of your trip. Try to stay within your budget. After all, is a hotel with that one extra star worth eating McDonald’s for a week?
If you don’t care much about where you sleep, just look for somewhere clean and safe, that has good reviews. You don’t want to risk getting ripped off or sleeping on dirty sheets, even if you only spend six hours there each night.
Plan Sightseeing and Activities
There are probably some things you want to see and do in your chosen location. Keep in mind that travel volume will likely spike after the pandemic, as everyone else will want to get out of the house and go somewhere exciting.
Popular locations will be more crowded than ever, so booking well in advance or visiting less popular destinations to avoid the surge might be a good idea. To that end, definitely check out our tips and tricks for avoiding crowds while traveling.
Do your research and see what people who have been there are saying. Maybe it’s best to come at 6 a.m. before an attraction opens, or maybe you have to call and book ahead.
Come prepared and know exactly how to see and do everything on your itinerary.
Plan Your Packing List
It’s not as glamorous as picking Bali or the Big Apple, but every little bit of planning can help you with your cabin fever, and that includes your packing list.
Depending on where in the world you’re going, you’ll have to pack accordingly and make sure you don’t forget the most important things. Bring clothing you can layer, as weather is unpredictable everywhere, no matter what that app on your phone might say.
If you suffer from headaches or allergies, don’t forget to pack your medication. You don’t want to end up wandering a foreign pharmacy with a pounding migraine.
Last, but not least, prepare some snacks to bring with you on the plane or train. You don’t wanna get hangry or overspend on airport food. This will help you stay within your budget and give you more money to work with on your trip.
Planning a future trip, and all the fun activities and beautiful sights you want to experience will put a smile on your face. You might even forget for a moment that you’re still sitting on your couch. When daydreaming becomes planning, anything seems possible!