How much planning should you do before travelling?

We are planners (at least I, Tash, am a planner). I just love planning events and trips. But if there’s one thing we’ve learnt, it’s that travelling doesn’t need a plan for every step of the way.

Though I’m not sure Danny’s jump in the car and go approach would always work, there needs to be certain amount of freedom when you travel – so the question is, how much planning should you do?

Here’s our advice for smart planning, whilst leaving plenty of room for spontaneous adventures!

  1. Saving money

Perhaps the most important part of planning a trip is the money. Are you going to save up before you go? Will you work abroad? How are you going to fund your lifestyle? Once you’ve decided this you’ll have a better idea of just how much planning you’ll need to do.

If you want to go away with a big sum of money, check out our life hacks for saving extra cash to travel. If all you need is enough to book a one way plane ticket – then they’ll be less planning and budgeting to do beforehand.

  1. Before you leave

Before you set off, you’ll want to have an idea of which countries you’d like to visit. You might want to make yourself a bucket list of places you want to see. This will also be tied to your savings. If you want to visit lots of places, you’re might need more money to do so!

Plus, wherever you choose to go, you need to tie up loose ends before you leave, especially if you’re leaving a job or house behind. All of which will require forward planning.

  1. Your first destination

It’s always good to have a first destination planned, that way you can book your transport – even if it’s a one way ticket! It also helps to have somewhere to stay when you arrive. Having a place to stay when you get there will help you find your feet.

When we set off on our European road trip we booked up our first hotel in Paris for a few days so we could have some time to plan the next leg of the journey.

  1. Packing well

You’ll find that if you pack well and take all the right things, they’ll be less need to plan out the smaller details. It’s better to be prepared for any situation, that way there won’t be anything holding you back.

Plus, having a smartphone to hand makes everything easier – there’s an app for almost everything these days. Through your phone you’ll have access to a map, endless information about the places you’re visiting, and you can book flights and hotels at the push of a button.

This means you don’t have to do too much planning ahead of time if you don’t want to, you can be more flexible, booking things up as you go.

  1. Remember you want to relax and enjoy

If you set yourself tight deadlines by booking flights or destinations too far in advance, you may end up having to leave somewhere before you’ve spent enough time there.

Booking too much in advance can really limit you to what you can do. And you don’t just want to fly from tourist destination, to tourist destination. If you give yourself more time you’ll be able to do more exploring and go off the beaten track.

  1. Don’t be upset if it doesn’t go to plan

The thing about planning too much in advance, is you might be disappointed or stressed if it doesn’t end up going to plan. Travelling is such a wonderful experience, don’t let it be dictated by a need to organise everything before you leave.

Having a bucket list, or ideas of places you want to see is great! But just let these things come naturally as you explore and move from place to place.


So really the key here is, preparation not planning. If you make sure you prepare properly beforehand (save some money, book your first flight, pack well etc.) then you’ll set yourself up for an amazing adventure.

If your keeping to a tight schedule it might be beneficial to book up a few destinations or some activities before you arrive. But if you are completely flexible, it’s better to take it one step at a time.


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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