Have you ever hear of this quote from Walt Disney, First Think, Second Dream, Third Believe and Finally Dare
This is how everything starts and the same is applicable to travel as well. We'll go thru the below road map on how we started things and how it developed.
What Inspired us to go overseas is Movies, Youtube videos, a friend who has visited recently r may be you have read about it somewhere. Whenever we see a dream movie shot under the Eiffel, that’s the moment you think, I should also visit this place. Perhaps you’ve been dreaming for a long time about seeing Burj Khalifa in Dubai or visiting the beautiful island nation of Singapore. Maybe you don't know where exactly, but you just know you need to go.
This is the push you need.
Next comes the most important phase. You need a passport. The prime document for you to make an international travel. If you already have one, well and good. If not get one and keep. It is valid for 10 years.
Get Inspired & Get your Passport Ready
Planning & Basic research
When we went on or first trip, these were the questions we asked ourselves and narrowed it down to a destination.
Try it for yourselves, we have also included our first trip overseas and FAQ’s.
Do you want to visit your dream country first or to start off, try a country which is closer to you? If its honeymoon, couples normally tend to visit their dream destination.
Considering you have chosen the nearby countries, do some basic research and find what do you find interesting about these countries? Buildings, beaches, nightlife, culture?
Check for the visa requirements simultaneously. Some may offer visa free, e-visa, visa on arrival, check which option suits you. Also it is not a big documentation work and there are plenty of travel agencies who can get this processed for you.
Then you can narrow down to one or two.
Now assess your budget. How much are we going to spend? Some of the expenses are fixed and will go towards Flight, Accommodation & Visa. Depending upon your type of travel (backpacking, budget, mid-range) this will vary.
Which cities or places we are going to visit? Decide which places in the country is your point of interest. For ex, city, country side, islands, beach destinations
Try to narrow down the places you are going to visit, number of days, what you are going to see, do and experience?
Now you’ll have a fair idea about the country and your travel itinerary.
Our first trip was a well-planned one. We had our flights & accommodation pre booked months back. Itinerary was planned for each day, each session, what activity, how much will that cost us. Where we are going to eat? We initially thought this is the best way to travel and we don’t have to worry about any logistics, safety, hassles and changes. All we had to do is hop on the bus/taxi and enjoy the trip
For first time it was ok, then trip after trip we found that we had very little time in each place, we had rush in and rush out. Except for the photos we didn’t have any good memories.
That’s is the time we realized that we are not doing group tours any more. We decided to plan & travel on our own. Depending upon the activity you are going to do, some needs pre-booking. But it allows you to change and tweak timings & plans. There is chance that it may go wrong, but you will learn from it.
From Luxury Travelers, we switched over to mid-range travel. Third & fourth trip, we were more of budget travelers. Throughout Europe we were backpackers and that was the best travel style we had ever experienced.
What’s Your Travel Style? - How to Decide What Type of Trip is Right for You
As usual try answering these questions! You can always mix and match your type
If you are concerned about cutting down cost at all possible areas, stay in shared accommodations, hostels, still go out and enjoy things?
You are ok with cheapest transportation and eats
Your travel type is
Are you a person who tries to cut down cost in flights/Accommodation and spend more on the activities & seeing places?
You don’t mind going in large groups?
Not interested in planning your day-to-day?
Your travel type is Budget/Group traveler
Are you a person who needs comfort in flights/Accommodation and at the same time spend on the activities & seeing places?
Have done extensive research, got your itinerary pre booked?
If you don’t have time to plan, it’s great to use the expertise of a travel agent to help you book your trip. Pick what you want to do, and let them figure out the logistics.
Your travel type is Mid-Range/Small Group traveler
What would be the ideal type for First timers: Independent traveler with a budget is what would be the best case scenario, but we recommend the below
For first timers, we would always recommend, mid-range to budget travel with partial pre bookings. The plan and tweak your other plans based on this. Do check our Case study (Our first Overseas trip), which will give you a real time example
Booking your flight
Now based on your budget, travel style and your itinerary, go ahead in booking your flight tickets and Accommodation. Flight tickets will be fluctuating and earlier, the better.
We usually check for prices in Skyscanner & compare it with the airlines website.
Again it’s a personal choice whether you travel with prime airlines or budget carriers, depends on or budget and the city you fly from.
Book Your Accommodation
It is always a good option to get the accommodation booked. We had never taken that chance of leaving it till the last minute or searching for one after landing. It will not give you a peace of mind. The only time you leave it flexible is when your plans are not fixed. But first timers, please get this done.
As we mentioned earlier, we stayed in Hostels, Hotels, Resorts, Airbnb’s
If you’re traveling solo, we recommend staying in a hostel. You will meet fellow travelers and it’s a great way to have fun. It saves you money. If you prefer privacy, you can still get a private room, but you can also get to know people.
We often tend to over carry luggage just because the airline is offering. You don’t have to do that, unless your trip is from point A to point B. Check the luggage allowance provided by the airline and with budget carriers strict policy, they will charge you heavily if the weight exceeds the allowed limit
It’s a good idea to keep a spare set of clothes in your carry-on bag in case the luggage is missed or delayed for some reason.
Try to do some basic research about the accommodation, if they are offering you toiletries, towels, bath robe, slippers, hair dryers you can straightaway take these off your bag.
Also try to pack clothes which suits your holiday. No point in packing 3 sets of jeans & shirts if you are going on a beach holiday. If possible pack less and purchase things in local markets. It’s still cheap than paying for the luggage
You now have an itinerary outlined and you have decided what you are going to do. Now comes the tricky part in getting the bookings for your activities.
We would recommend to get only the activities which needs a mandatory advance booking or a place which has limited number of visitors per day to be pre booked. The advantage is that the prices with the local tour operators/agents are economical & flexible. You can always change plans based on the weather, mood and likings. There are always discounts & offers when you speak to a tour operator face to face.
Doing your homework before you arrive at the destination will give you time to have Plan B & Plan C in place.
Buy Travel Insurance
One of the most underrated thing while travelling abroad is the Travel Insurance. This will safe guard you from personal loss, theft, damages (including car rental), any medical expenses, lost luggage or canceled flights.
We had a personal experience of missing a flight and had to pay for the consequential damages in terms of flight tickets, accommodation and fortifying the money we paid for our pre booked tours. It’s a total loss, because we didn’t spend a tiny amount as insurance