A Beginner’s Guide: 8 Steps in Planning Your First DIY Solo Trip

You spent your first quarter of the year scrimping and saving for a perfect summer getaway. You want to go beach bumming but where? You don’t even know where or how to start. You might as well spend that hard earned money wisely. To help you with that I made a comprehensive guide in preparing your most anticipated trip from the very start. This is what I do and it helps me feel confident that nothing can go wrong, well except for the bad weather.

  1. Know exactly where you want to go and why. This will eliminate the chances of having second thoughts and end up getting upset because you don’t know which destination to go. Knowing why you want to visit a place gives you a sense of purpose and leaves you feeling satisfied even more once it is achieved.
  1. Of course you want to keep all costs manageable. Plan ahead. Watch out for seat sales for as low as Php1 via Cebu Pacific Air or Air Asia (domestic and international flights). Like their Facebook pages for updates or you can visit their site. Disconnected? Grab one of those idle newspapers in your office. They normally place big ads there. These airlines offer such promos for a limited time only or until seats last so better be an early bird. This step is easier because you already know where to go. For details on how to book your flight, just follow the instructions when you get to their website. Please take note that these promos have specific range of flight dates. Make sure you check and verify if it fits with your schedule or if it’s the perfect timing to go there. Make sure you have a credit card or someone to lend you as this is the most convenient way to pay. Some airlines don’t require a hard copy of your itinerary. Print a copy just to be sure. DOUBLE CHECK your departure date, time and correct terminal to avoid last minute cramming. Please note that this only applies if you need to take a plane. Otherwise, go to the nearest bus terminal station and grab a ticket if you need to do an advanced booking. If not, you already know what to do.
  1. You have your ticket now! Next thing you want to do is to research for places to visit, activities to do and must-eat food in your destination. Like how you saw this post, Google is the best and the most practical way to learn more about a place. Be patient until you find what you’re looking for. Browse for travel blogs. They contain useful tips and information about different places. Make sure you browse a number of sites and links since some might give you information already obsolete. These days, changes are quick.
  1. List down all the places you want to visit, addresses, how to get there, contact person and their numbers, projected expense, entrance fees, best time to visit, everything. If you are a techie, you can just save the pages for offline reading. Note that some destinations have strict procedures to follow to be able to get there so make sure you get that too. Some needs early reservations which you also have to keep in mind.
  1. If you have friends or relatives in that particular place try to contact them and ask if they can host you (together with your friends) for a couple of days. Otherwise, book a hotel of your choice. Bear in mind that the cost should be in the range of your budget if you don’t want to end up spending a big chuck of your money to your accommodation. I prefer a non-A/C single bed with common toilet because I’m not that finicky in terms of accommodation. I prefer ones that are near most of the attractions I want to visit to save money and time. This type of room comes VERY cheap. However, experience taught me not to book a non-A/C room in the city center when the weather is humid. (I had to open the windows because my wall fan was not enough but then noises came in because my room was just beside the street.) You can go to several booking websites like bookings, agoda, tripadvisor, etc. Everything you need to know is there. Booking early is important if you want to skip the hassle of finding accommodation when you get there especially when it’s peak season.
  1. Plan your days ahead! Check out Google maps or grab the cheapest map in the bookstore if you’re not that familiar with the app to see which attractions are close to each other. This is another effective way to save time and money if you’re commuting. Visit one part of the place on your first day and the other part on your next day. Make a schedule. Although this is not necessarily to be followed, it is still better if you have an itinerary for your trip.
  1. Choose what to include in your backpack. I hate bringing a luggage personally. I just don’t like that rolling suitcase behind me. Consider the type of place you’re going, the weather and the activities you’ll do. This will help you with your shopping (if you have to). This will make you prioritize the most important stuffs especially when you’re traveling through plane. Check the airport rules. You don’t want a heavy bag behind you with too much junk in it. Check out my article What’s Inside My Backpack for more details.
  1. One important thing is to ask. Ask friends or family members who’ve been there. Ask them about their experience and tips. Try to check websites which allow you to post questions about your concern.

These steps are based on my personal experiences which some I learned the hard way. I hope you find these guides helpful on your much awaited adventure.

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