I’ve been travelling for a while now and let me tell you – after my first organised trip, the one with a travel agency I decided that I can plan my trip way cheap and never looked back. Been to Paris, Dubai, London, Barcelona, Bali(where I organized the trip for me and 5 friends of mine) and more – all planned by myself. So in this post, I will share with you all of my steps to make the perfect trip.
Step 1: Decide where you want to go
This one is the most important of course – if you know where you want to go it is easy. But if you just want to travel it becomes a little challenging.
You know your destination
You’ve been thinking of this magical place that is full of instagrammable spots and you just can’t wait to visit. But all you see is super expensive offers that you can’t afford even after years of hard work. This article will help you plan your trip in no time and go there sooner than you expect. So.. first things first – find out when is the season there and choose time outside of it. For example, when I went to Dubai it was during summer and this is way out of season for them. It was really hot and uncomfortable but more than 3 times cheaper than usual.
You just want to travel somewhere
If you just want to travel and have no idea where you have to decide depending on the cheapest flights you find. Here is some reference when to look for International flights:
- Europe: around 4 months in advance
- Asia: around 3 months in advance
- The Middle East and the Carribean: around 5 months in advance
- Africa: around 5 months in advance
- South America: around 3 months in advance
- Central America: around 2 months in advance
Have in mind any holidays and time of the year when people tend to travel to your desired place and don’t look around those dates. It will be more expensive than usual.
Step 2: Book a flight
The most exciting step. After you book your flight there is no going back. It is done deal and even if you have to sleep under a bridge you will go there. But don’t worry – in step 3 I will tell you all about booking cheap accommodations.
The main websites I use to search for cheap flights are:
Step 3: Book an accommodation
If you don’t have a friend to stay with where you are going here are my top websites where you can find the best accommodation for you.
- Booking.com – if you use this website on a regular basis they have a discount program and you can get up to 15% off for every booking. There are a lot of deals every day. Just make sure you book your place, not in the last minute.
- Airbnb – sometimes you can find really cheap places through this website. The idea of this site is that people who have free rooms or whole flats and villas are renting them. With this link, you can get more than $30 off.
- Hostel World – if you want to travel even cheaper hostels are a really good idea. You share a room with strangers but you can find some great friends this way and if you are a solo traveller it is the perfect way to find some company.
- Couchsurfing – is for the people who love adventures – the idea is similar to Airbnb but in this case, people are giving you a couch at their place or an entire room for free! They just want you to be nice and share a bit about your culture with them. Make sure that you check all of the opinions about them before going to someone’s place. After all, there are a lot of people who can misuse the great idea of the website.
For me, the most important thing when I book a place is to be near a subway and a supermarket and to have a WiFi. Also, make sure you can check-in after you reach your new home. Some flights are during the night and some hotels don’t have 24h working reception.
Step 4: Find the places you want to visit
When I go to a new place I always check google for the most popular sightseeing spots and then search for the hidden gems you can find there. Make a list of all the things you want to visit – including coffees and restaurants(I don’t recommend these if you are on a tight budget). Then look for their working times and entrance fees.
- Some places work on weekends but are closed on Monday or on Wednesday
- Some of them have free entrance once a month and
- some have reduced price for people under 25, students, etc.
Step 5: Transport
First, you have to find a way to go to your hotel/hostel/place where you are staying. You can check if they offer airport transfer, some places have it for free. I many cases there is a bus that can drive you from the airport to the biggest bus station.
As I mentioned above when I book accommodation I make sure that it is close to the subway if there is one in this town. I also check if there is an Uber or something similar – in Bali, you can use GoJek and Grab in some areas.
Just make sure you know how you will go from place to place and take your time to see the ticket prices, the schedule, and if they have cards you can use to travel cheaper.
Step 6: The finale – Make the trip plan/schedule
After all of this research sit and make a program/timetable/plan for every day of your cheap trip with all the expenses.
Include the hours of your flight, the airport transfer, the check-in for your room. Include all the places you want to visit and group them by how close they are to each other. So you can visit them in one day. Google Maps is your best friend for this final step.
And for this whole procedure to be way easier I decided to include my Trip planner printable template that you can use for your planning as well.
A GIFT FOR YOU – COMPLETELY FREE
Just enter your name and email and I will send you the pass to my WHOLE Resource Library, including this Trip planner! There you will find even more useful templates and books:
At the end when you see what will be your final budget add at least 10% on top of it just in case something goes wrong. And don’t be afraid if something goes wrong – you learn so many new things when you have no other choice but to find a way out. You build your confidence and you see that you are way more capable than you think you are.
And this is it – my full short guide to plan a cheap trip by yourself. Do you know some of these tips or you have your own secrets for cheap trips? Comment them below!
More help for your next trip:
- Find the best price for hotels in Booking.com
- Sign up to Airbnb with this link and receive a US $30 off your first booking.