So i have been receiving a boat load of questions from viewers about travel…mainly with regards to trip planning, and approximate cost analysis for destinations around the world.  As humans, it’s in our nature that we all want convenience..however from first time travelers to seasoned globetrotters, nothing about trip planning is convenient.  The grim reality is that, no matter how much you plan and how much money you spend, something can and will always go wrong.  The intent of this multi-segment piece of “Smart Traveler’s Guide” isn’t meant to make you a pro, but it will mitigate risks and limit the common mistakes of travelers.

In these articles we will cover the following topics:

  1. Trip Planning 101 
  2. Cost Analysis (pre-trip)
  3. How to Pack
  4. Smart Spending (while traveling)
  5. Transportation
  6. Accommodation
  7. Tourism
  8. Safety
  9. Trip Assessment


Trip Planning 101 

So you decided to take a trip?  First, decide how much you are willing to spend including an emergency fund.  My rule of thumb for emergency fund is that the fund should be able to cover lodging and food for at least a week (or until you sort out the emergency situation).  Determine how many days you plan on taking a vacation, and don’t forget to include travel time!

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When is the best time to go?  Keep in mind that the best time between your busy schedule  may not be the best time for airline tickets and accommodations.  For instance, Europe in the Summer (June to September) is one of the most expensive international destinations to travel to from outside of the continent.  You can expect airline tickets from the states to soar from 600 USD to 3000 USD pending on the airline and time frame in which you purchase the ticket(Delta, Lufthansa, United, KLM, Air France, etc).  But having backpacked Europe in the Summer, i found a way to travel on a limited budget (10-30 Euros a day) which included transportation and accommodations.  Even with a tight budget, i was still able to attend concerts, party my ass off, and did bunch of other touristy stuff (stay tuned for the “Smart Spending” article).  Point is….traveling to Europe in the Summer might be worth the round trip flight.  If funding is an issue, i would HIGHLY recommend Europe in either Fall or Spring.  There are usually cheap flights from major US cities to large international airports such as Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, Madrid, Rome, etc.  During the Spring and Fall, there are many festivals and local events through the continent.  I usually avoid the European winter because weather can cause a lot of issues with flights especially if you have a tight schedule.  There’s risk and gains for every decision we make, but ultimately i base my plans on how i can maximize the length of my vacation with little stress.

Oktoberfest in Munich

The type of trip you decide will also dictate the money you spend and/or the time you are away.  For example, when i travel i usually have a set theme which varied from topics such as: Culture, Outdoors (hiking, sailing, etc), History, Party, and FOOD!!!  When i backpacked for more than 3 weeks, i did a mixture of all.  During the Summer, i attended Sziget, one of the largest music festivals in Europe.  After 7 days of partying i had to get the fuck out of there.  So i flew to Bulgaria and made my way to Macedonia for outdoor tourism such as hiking and kayaking.  Sometimes you need to break the monotony of partying or the same routine in order to save your sanity.  I mean that is one of the reasons we travel right???

Applications and Search Engines to Use:

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Plane ticket prices on Google Flights
Deals from Scott’s Cheap Flights

Solo or Group Travel. 

There’s pros and cons for traveling solo and traveling with friend(s).  It all depends on your personality and how you would adapt with or without people around you.  As a solo traveler, you would have the ability to set your own times and make your own decisions based on what you like.  In a group travel, we might need need to come to a group agreement and maintain accountability during any type of movements.  In a group travel, you have those who you can share memories and stories with.  These are times can bring happiness and joy for the rest of our lives, why not share it with people you care about?  As a solo traveler only you would know your own story, however based on your social comfort level, you are more than likely to attract other solos and still share the common bond and love for travel.

Part 2 coming soon!!! COST ANALYSIS AND HOW TO PACK