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  • Writer's pictureAgatha Catchrain

How to Plan Your Trip: Travel Made Easy

Let's be honest - there are 2 types of people. The ones who plan every single detail, and the ones who just go with the flow for their trip.


Which type are you?

  • 📝 I like to plan in detail

  • 🤪 I go with the flow


I'm the person who likes to plan and make the perfect itinerary. I aspire not to waste a lot of time, aimlessly trying to find where to eat, what to do and just scratch my head wondering where's the adventure all the travelers promised.


A wholesome trip requires at least some planning. And you might feel like it's too much work, and it honestly kinda is. That's why I created this article - to make it simple for you. Because I've mastered this art enough, to finally be able to simplify it.



 

About the Author


Hi my travel buddy, I'm Agatha Catchrain — a full-time traveler, content creator, and entrepreneur. 2 years ago I quit my job to travel the world, as I always felt like I was meant for so much more than spending my life on 9to5. Turns out — I was right, and so can be the case for you, if you set your mind to make it work.



During this time I mastered the art of getting paid to travel — growing on social media, getting collabs with brands, and more. It started off as barter deals, and ended with huge ongoing contracts with companies that I adore. Now I've optimized several income streams, that allow me to live the life that I always dreamed of. But just 2 years ago I was completely lost with no idea how to make it happen. And because I had nothing to help me, I created this free ebook to get you started on this journey. So that you don't have to go through the struggles that I went through. And get to your dream destination very soon.


Now let's get back to learning how to plan your trip!


 

What Steps You Need to Take to Plan the Perfect Trip


Right now I'm planning my upcoming trip to Faro, Portugal, and I decided to create this article to give you a glimpse on how I plan my trips. This will take your trip planning to the next level!


Ready to plan your perfect trip? Here are the 8 crucial steps you'll learn in this article:

  1. Research Travel Restrictions & Conditions

  2. Discover Things to Do

  3. Research Things You Need to Know Before You Go

  4. Find Good Affordable Flights

  5. Find the Perfect Accommodation

  6. Discover Cheap High Rated Restaurants

  7. Plan Your Itinerary

  8. Pack Your Bags & Go


Even if all these steps seem obvious to you, I recommend you check out the details in this article, as it's packed with practical tips, tools to use and many other things that will make your life so much easier. Now let's begin!


 

Step 1: Research Travel Restrictions & Conditions


You've decided on your next destination, but hold your horses before you get the flight tickets! Let's first understand if you need anything specific to enter this country.


Q: Do I need a VISA?

A: This is a very sensitive topic, and even though it's extremely unfair, there is no one size fits it with this question. Not every passport has the same conditions. If you're from USA, Europe etc., you'll need VISA for a lot less countries than people coming from most countries in Asia, Africa etc.


The best way how you can find if you need a visa is by using Entriva. You simply select the country of your passport, where you're traveling from and in which dates you go.



Then it automatically informs you if you need anything specific:



And also allows you to get the visa from the platform:



Q: are covid restrictions still relevant?

I'd like to say no, but every now and then, especially in Asia, some restrictions reappear. Just to be safe, it's good to check before getting your flight, if any restrictions apply. You can also do that on Entriva, by scrolling below:



Now that you have checked the restrictions and documents you need, let's proceed with the next step!


 

Step 2: Find Things to Do


Time for the fun part! Whenever I go to a new place, I want to make sure that I don't miss out on the most exciting places to visit - the must-do things, the mind-blowing hidden gems and so much more. After spending all these years on traveling, I have created a magic formula that helps me make sure that I don't miss the best things to do. And now I'll share them with you.



Source 1: ChatGPT

The foundation of my "things to do" plan is inspired by ChatGPT. I usually give it a prompt:

Please research Faro, Portugal, and find the best things to do for a traveler. Please consider the most iconic tourist spots where everyone wants to go, as well as reported hidden gems in Faro to check out. Give me a plan of places to visit, and organize them in a way you suggest the order of visit (that geographically makes most sense). Please also give me affordable high rated restaurant recommendations, and things I need to know before I go to Faro (what taxi app to instal, how public transport works, things I need to know before I go).

Based on the results, you might ask ChatGPT some follow-up questions to tweak the plan. If you don't have a paid version of ChatGPT, you can either:

  • Use free version

  • Alternatively try Google Bard AI for free

  • Or Bing AI, that according to what I know, is the only free one with 4.0 version


If you want to learn more about how to use ChatGPT in a way that actually works and gives you great results, please write ChatGPT (or your questions) in the comments of this article. I'll tell you anything!


Source 2: Google

While I love ChatGPT, it's far from perfect. So I'll use Google to check some things out as well, asking questions like:

Things to do in Faro

First of all, look out for the Google suggestions of "Top sights in Faro", that are usually some of the best things to do in your destination:



Then you might see some ad with top picks by an OTA like GetYourGuide. You don't always have to be scared of ads, because some of those suggestions are pretty good:



And I also suggest you open at least one of these articles by TripAdvisor, Viator etc. about top 10 etc. things to do in your destination:



This will already give you a clear picture of the best things to do in Faro.


Source 3: YouTube videos

If you want the perfect trip, you should watch at least 1 YouTube video about "Things to do in (your destination)". That will give you a visual and personal direction for your trip.


Source 4: TikTok videos

TikTok is full of hidden gems! You can check out both "things to do" and "hidden gems" by just using the search bar, and it will give you some incredible insights on your destination, in ways that neither ChatGPT or Google can. Here's for example a video about things to do in Sri Lanka — one of my favorite destinations.


Summarize your findings

Now that you found what's best, you need to summarize and prioritize. It's possible you won't have time for everything, it's possible you're not interested in some of the things you found. So continue by creating a list of things that you do want to do. And then let's continue with the next step!


 

Step 3: Research Things You Need to Know Before You Go


Very important step! For example, when visiting Tanzania, you need to consider malaria prevention, when visiting Japan, you need to consider earthquakes and many other things. You don't need to dive in too deep, but let's just make sure to learn about the essentials.


Source 1: ChatGPT

Ask ChatGPT (or alternatives I provided above), what are things you need to know before going to your destination as a tourist. Ask if there are any risks, dangers or other things you need to know before you go.


Source 2: Google

Now repeat the same action with Google, and perhaps choose an article to quickly check out.


Source 3: YouTube

This is my favorite. Always before a trip I watch at least 2 videos like "things I wish I knew before I went". Those are incredibly valuable as they are created by people who just went there and can give this fresh perspective of things you really need to know before you go. Here's one I created about things you need to know before going to Japan.


Source 4: TikTok

When I'm actively planning my next trip, every once in a while I check out some videos on TikTok about things I need to know as well. Here's one I created about things I wish I knew before going to Vietnam.


Make sure to remember the important tips

Now that you've found out things you need to know before you go, make sure to write down the most important ones, so you don't forget. Usually I have one important file for my travel planning, where I also document the most important things I need to consider and tasks I need to do. You can use my budget trip planning template if you want. To get access to all the budget trip planning tools, get the free guide here. Now you're all set! Let's proceed with the next step.


Step 4: Find Good Affordable Flights


I constantly find the cheap flights — $10 around Europe, $100 across Asia and $150 across the globe. And people keep asking me — how? Now I'm here to spill the beans and show you how.


My absolute favorite way how to find the cheapest available flights is by using Skyscanner's "Anytime" and "Everywhere" features. "Everywhere" makes sense, when you're not yet set about the destination and can look which destination tickets are cheaper. "Anytime" is perfect for when you know the destination but want to find the cheapest days.



If I'm not booking the flights directly from the airline (which usually is my preference) then I use Trip.com (ideal when you have flight connections).


If you have any questions about finding flights, ask in the comments of this article and I'll send you my answers!


Now that you know how to find cheap flights, let's proceed with the next step!


 

Step 5: Find the Perfect Accommodation


Another common question that I get is — how do you find all those semi luxury hotel rooms for so cheap? And the answer this — I know the right tools and the right principles to use that let me get the same hotel rooms for cheaper. Now let's quickly go through them.


Compare Booking with Agoda

Everyone knows about Booking, and keeps asking what's Agoda? It's another huge hotel platform, same as Booking, that very often (or even most of the time) has the same hotel rooms for a cheaper price! Seriously. If you find a hotel you like on Booking, make sure to compare it with Agoda.


Compare desktop vs mobile prices

That's wild but true. The same hotel room for the same day most often will have a different price between a desktop and a mobile device. Most often booking from mobile is cheaper.


Write to the hotel directly

Because hotels need to pay commissions to these booking platforms, they are often open minded to give you a discount price booking directly, if you ask for one. You can also look up the hotel rooms and see the features that higher-value rooms have. Then you can make a request with any of those features, like "extra large bed", "bath" etc. Basically you're asking for a free room upgrade without directly asking for it. That increases your chances to get a free upgrade. That, and being very polite and nice to the staff.


Other types of accommodation

If you want, you can also consider staying at a hostel (party hostels like Lub D are a great place where to make new friends and have fun), or renting an apartment, villa, stay at a treehouse or anything else. The options are limitless. In many places like Japan, Sri Lanka etc. it's worth it staying at a "share-house" or "homestay" with locals, as you get to see traditional way of living.


Now that you have your accomodation, let's proceed with finding where to eat!


 

Step 6: Discover Cheap High Rated Restaurants


Huge part of having a great trip is finding where to get great food! Many locations like Thailand, Japan, Peru etc. are any foodies paradise, as they have tons of amazing restaurants and meals to get. But it would be a shame if you go to that foodie's paradise, but end up walking in the worst places, instead of the best ones...


Quick Rules to Follow

So personally I don't ever walk into a restaurant without checking out the reviews on Google Maps first. Here are some important rules that I always follow:

  1. If there are less than 10 reviews, it's not worth the risk

  2. If there are detailed negative reviews that make sense, the same thing can very likely happen to you. It's a good idea to judge a place by their worst reviews

  3. Ideally I'll take a quick look at TripAdvisor or Yelp to see if reviews there are fine too. I had some cases when a restaurant had decent reviews but only a few on Google Maps and then some horror stories on TripAdvisor


How to Find Cheap High-Rated Restaurants

Before going anywhere, I always find at least some of the best restaurants that I want to include in my itinerary. And it's pretty simple actually — Google let's you filter restaurants by price and rating. Then you can browse around, check out pictures, save them for later and visit them during your trip. That's how I have found most of the best meals I've had in my life. And I wish the same for you.


So now that we know where you'll eat, let's proceed with planning your flawless itinerary!


 

Step 7: Plan Your Itinerary


If you're a "go with the flow" type of person, you might sometimes sneak a giggle about us over planners, but only till the point you see the difference in experiences you get when you have the perfect plan. Now let me show you how you can take all these amazing things you just planned for yourself and put into a solid itinerary.


When I have a list of locations I want to visit, I save them in Google Maps into a new map, calling it the name of the destination, like "Faro".


Then I add all the locations I want to visit and see where they are on the map. I will then group those locations by region, seeing which places I can visit in each day.


When I plan each day, I then simply reorganize the order (like you can see in the gif below) to find the most optimal order how to visit those places.



I've created different itineraries for some of the places I've visited, by using this method. You can access them for free on my resources page. There are ones for Thailand, Japan, Vietnam etc. If you want me to make an itinerary for another location, write your request in the comments.


Now you have your perfect itinerary!

 

Step 8: Pack Your Bags & Go


Last but not least! Before you go on your trip, you need to make sure that you take all the essentials that you need. I've created this free resource, that includes a packing checklist. You can check it out for your next trip.


After spending 2 years traveling full-time, here are the things I believe are the most important things to have when traveling:

  1. Sturdy theft-free waterproof backpack with tons of well thought compartments

  2. Sturdy water-proof fanny pack you can put over your chest, it's harder to steal your valuables that way

  3. Universal adapter

  4. Good powerbank

  5. Very good raincoat with a hood

  6. Comfortable breathable shoes

  7. Hand sanitizer, napkins, wet napkins

  8. Comfortable travel pillow

  9. 3D eye mask


For more suggestions, check out the resource above.


Now that you're all set, it's time to go on your adventure! So excited!


 

Next Steps


Deciding to travel the world solo was the best decision I've ever made. It allowed me to finally become the person I always wished to be — full of energy, motivation, healthy, capable, started my own business and so much more. Because of that I feel that I can do anything that I set my mind to do.


And it would not be possible if I hadn't figured out how to make money while I travel. In this free ebook I've described the different ways how you can make money while you travel, but I focus on how to start your online business or become a travel content creator.


If you're really serious about becoming a travel content creator, then I recommend you check out my master course. It's packed with practical tips and step by step guides on how you can become a full-time content creator and monetize your social media with collabs, affiliate marketing and more.


From the bottom of my heart, I hope you get to travel the world and live your best life. If you have any questions or requests, please let me know in the comments. Have a lovely day!


Best regards,

Agatha Catchrain


 

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Got a tour company? Get this free ebook on how to get more bookings, or consider the ultimate marketing framework kit. If you need custom solutions to grow your tour company, check out services page. See you soon!


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