You are currently viewing The right way to Plan a Journey: A Month-by-Month Information

The right way to Plan a Journey: A Month-by-Month Information


Nomadic Matt wearing a backpack while walking along a beach in Hawaii
Posted: 4/2/2024 | April 2nd, 2024

Journey planning could be a daunting activity. Flights, insurance coverage, gear, itineraries, lodging, and a lot extra all have to be thought of and sorted out earlier than you go.

It’s straightforward to get overwhelmed, particularly once you haven’t carried out one thing like this earlier than.

After over near twenty years of touring the world, I’ve deliberate numerous journeys and holidays for myself, associates, and household, even group excursions. At first, it was trial by hearth. I discovered a variety of classes the laborious manner. Nevertheless, that helped me develop an environment friendly guidelines that ensures I don’t miss something necessary in the course of the trip-planning course of.

One massive query I get requested lots is when to begin planning. To reply that query, this submit breaks the planning course of down into month-by-month steps so you may plan your subsequent journey with ease.

Right here’s the best way to plan a visit:

12 Months Out: Determine on Your Vacation spot(s)

A large commercial jet flying through the bright blue sky as it takes off
Lots of people discuss vaguely about journey: they by no means say the place they’re going, simply that they’re going. They could speak about it for years earlier than truly departing (in the event that they go in any respect). However it’s a lot simpler to succeed in and plan for the purpose of “I’m going to Paris for 2 weeks this summer time” than “I’m going someplace.”

If you have already got a dream vacation spot in thoughts, nice! If not, listed below are some posts that will help you get began:

However, this far out, the true factor you need to do is begin saving cash and determining your prices. Lodging and flights are the plain ones, however how a lot do eating places, points of interest, and different actions price? Figuring out these prices will enable you precisely estimate how a lot cash you’ll want. Right here is the best way to analysis prices:

  1. Purchase a guidebook
  2. Try my free journey guides (we break down all prices for every vacation spot)
  3. Skim the price of dwelling on
  4. Google costs for main actions you need to do, corresponding to scuba diving, vineyard excursions, and so forth. (Get Your Information is an efficient place to begin)
  5. Use Skyscanner or Google Flights for flight costs and join alerts to get emails if the worth adjustments
  6. Use Uncover Vehicles to cost out (and e-book) a rental automotive for those who want one
  7. Use and Hostelworld to analysis lodging prices

That will appear to be lots however you simply need to get a basic concept of how a lot you have to save. You may head to this web page to see all my articles on how to save cash to your journey.

12 Months Out: Begin Accumulating Factors & Miles

A bunch of different travel credit cards being held by avid traveler Nomadic Matt
When you’re working to save cash, get a journey bank card so you may earn miles and factors free of charge flights and resort stays. It’s what has saved my prices down and me on the street for thus a few years.

As of late, most playing cards have welcome presents of 60,000-80,000 factors (some may be as excessive as 100,000) once you meet their minimal spending requirement (usually $2,000-5,000 USD inside a 3–6-month timeframe). That’s sufficient miles for a free round-trip economic system flight to Europe from the East Coast of North America.

For extra data on this topic, take a look at these posts:

As well as, get a fee-free ATM card. I exploit Charles Schwab, however there are many different banks that don’t cost ATM charges (don’t neglect to test your native banks and credit score unions too). Right here’s how one can keep away from financial institution charges whereas touring.

8 Months Out: Visa Necessities, Passports, and Vaccines

When you possible gained’t want a visa to your required vacation spot, you must nonetheless test to verify. In the event you’re a US citizen, use the State Division’s search instrument to find out about your vacation spot’s entry necessities. (Canadians can use this search instrument.)

Moreover, guarantee that your passport is legitimate for no less than six months after your journey ends. Many nations require this for entry. Passport software and renewal wait instances may be lengthy (the usual is 6-8 weeks within the US), so do that as quickly as attainable.

Additionally, analysis for those who want any vaccines to your journey as many nations require vaccines to enter (and I don’t imply COVID). You may be taught extra about nation necessities and suggestions on the CDC’s web site. They will help you discover a clinic close to you as effectively (for those who’re within the US).

4-6 Months Out: Ebook Your Flight

A huge commerical airliner flying through the dark blue sky as it comes in for a landing at an airport
One of the best time to e-book your flight is usually round 3-4 months earlier than your departure, or 5-6 months earlier than in case you are going throughout a vacation spot’s peak season. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, although, so use it as a information.

Listed below are two articles on the best way to rating an inexpensive flight:

In the event you’ve signed up for a journey bank card and acquired your sign-up bonus, use your miles to e-book your flight and/or resort. The additional out you e-book, the extra availability there can be. Use instruments like and Awayz that will help you discover the perfect redemptions in your factors (for flights and lodges, respectively).

However even for those who aren’t utilizing miles or didn’t discover a low cost flight deal, there are nonetheless some ways to keep away from being the particular person on the flight who paid essentially the most for his or her ticket. My two favourite websites for locating low cost airfare are Skyscanner and Google Flights.

3-4 Months Out: Ebook Your Lodging

A small rolling suitcase standing near the door in a cozy hotel room abroad
In the event you’re touring for beneath two weeks and have a set schedule, e-book lodging in the course of your journey. In the event you’re visiting in the course of the excessive season, it’s additionally a good suggestion to e-book all the pieces prematurely. For journeys longer than two weeks, I counsel reserving solely the primary couple of nights of your journey. As soon as there, you might find yourself wanting to alter your plans based mostly on insider recommendation from different vacationers and/or resort/hostel workers. I desire having flexibility, so I at all times simply e-book a couple of nights and go from there.

Listed below are my go-to websites in terms of discovering the perfect offers on lodging:

  • Hostelworld – Hostelworld has the biggest number of hostels and is my go-to web site for locating reasonably priced hostels.
  • – is the perfect general platform for locating finances lodges and guesthouses.
  • Agoda – Agoda has the perfect outcomes for those who’re heading to Asia (although it generally has good US offers too).

I like to recommend checking the cancelation coverage of wherever you e-book. I like having the flexibleness to cancel if one thing comes up.

In the event you’re on a decent finances otherwise you need to join with extra locals throughout your travels, contemplate becoming a member of platforms like Couchsurfing or BeWelcome. These communities enable vacationers to stick with residents free of charge as a type of cultural change.

Lengthy-term vacationers may also attempt housesitting or WWOOFing as effectively, as they each supply free lodging (in change for pet sitting or farm work, respectively).

2 Months Out: Plan Your Actions

Now it’s time for the enjoyable a part of journey planning! Which means studying books about your vacation spot, studying basic journey suggestions, connecting with on-line communities, and pre-booking any essential actions.

Pre-booking ensures you don’t miss out on issues that you just actually need to do in your journey. In the event you’re going to a well-liked vacation spot, excursions and actions replenish shortly, and for those who’re going to a smaller place, actions or excursions would possibly solely run on sure days and have restricted availability.

Both manner, Get Your Information the perfect place to seek for and pre-book actions, excursions, and tickets. Native tour operators and points of interest can listing their choices on this on-line market, so you’ll find tons of stuff right here, from meals excursions to museum tickets with skip-the-line entry.

1 Month Out: Get Journey Insurance coverage

Get journey insurance coverage. That manner, these purchases are protected ought to one thing occur that makes you cancel your journey.

Lots of people suppose, “I’m wholesome. I don’t want journey insurance coverage.” However journey insurance coverage is far more than simply medical safety. It covers you when your digital camera breaks, your flight is canceled, a member of the family dies and you need to come house, or one thing will get stolen. (That’s why you’ll additionally need to familiarize your self with any frequent journey scams to look out for, in addition to the best way to conduct your self with a view to mix in to keep away from wanting like a goal for petty theft.)

Sure, it’s an added expense. However it’s at all times higher to be protected than sorry. I by no means depart house with out it, as a result of I’ve seen firsthand simply what can occur on the street.

I by no means thought I’d pop my eardrum whereas I used to be scuba diving in Thailand, break my digital camera in Italy, or get knifed in Colombia.

Sadly, unhealthy issues can occur once you’re touring. True, these occasions are few and much between. However they will price tens of 1000’s of {dollars}. In the event you’re not ready to pay out of pocket, purchase journey insurance coverage.

Listed below are some posts on journey insurance coverage to get you began:

I by no means depart house with out journey insurance coverage. You shouldn’t both.

7 days out: Pack!

Nomadic Matt's gear on the bed as he packs his backpack before a trip
Your journey is nearly right here, and it’s time to pack! It may be tempting to need to deliver all the pieces with you “simply in case.” However in terms of journey, much less is extra. Whereas what you pack will rely upon the place you’re going, keep in mind that you don’t have to take all the pieces you personal. You should purchase stuff you want and do laundry on the street. On the finish of the day, you need to carry all the pieces you deliver. So deliver much less!

I journey with a 45L REI bag after which a smaller day bag. Right here’s my urged packing listing that will help you take simply the correct amount of stuff and keep away from overpacking (right here’s an inventory for feminine vacationers).

Moreover, deliver any prescriptions you want in the course of your journey. Attempt to not depend on filling these overseas (although deliver a prescription and physician’s be aware simply in case).


With all the pieces taken care of, it’s time to go in your journey and have enjoyable! Make an inventory of last-minute objects you have to pack the day of (your toothbrush, glasses, telephone charger, and so forth.) and test in on-line beforehand (you are able to do so 24 hours prematurely). (In the event you’ve acquired lounge entry by a premium journey rewards card, you would possibly end up wanting ahead to attending to the airport early.)

In the event you’re feeling nervous, don’t fear. That’s completely regular. Feeling anxious or not sure is one thing each traveler experiences. However you’ve made it this far. Belief your planning and observe your instincts. You’re about to have the journey of a lifetime.

Ebook Your Journey: Logistical Suggestions and Tips

Ebook Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight by utilizing Skyscanner. It’s my favourite search engine as a result of it searches web sites and airways across the globe so that you at all times know no stone is being left unturned.

Ebook Your Lodging
You may e-book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you wish to keep someplace apart from a hostel, use because it constantly returns the most affordable charges for guesthouses and lodges.

Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you towards sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes fallacious. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many instances up to now. My favourite corporations that provide the perfect service and worth are:

Need to Journey for Free?
Journey bank cards let you earn factors that may be redeemed free of charge flights and lodging — all with none additional spending. Try my information to selecting the correct card and my present favorites to get began and see the newest greatest offers.

Want Assist Discovering Actions for Your Journey?
Get Your Information is a big on-line market the place you’ll find cool strolling excursions, enjoyable excursions, skip-the-line tickets, non-public guides, and extra.

Able to Ebook Your Journey?
Try my useful resource web page for the perfect corporations to make use of once you journey. I listing all those I exploit once I journey. They’re the perfect in school and you’ll’t go fallacious utilizing them in your journey.