When I started to plan my first trip overseas, everything was on loose as I have no idea which should I do first. There was one trip I’ve been to where I just impulsively bought plane tickets, book hotel accommodation and availed tour packages on the spot which led me to overspending. But I have learnt my lessons, now I know how to carefully plan my trip to visa-free countries and hopefully will be able to add more steps to make my life easier when going for a holiday.


  1. Goal
    • Before I decide on planning a trip I will think of reasons why I need to go on a holiday. It helps me to stay on track and focus on the little parts that will help me reach my objectives.
  2. Destination
  • Based on the goals I set, I will decide where to go and be more specific about the place so it will be easier for me to plan the trip and to research about its culture.
  • On making research about my destination, I consider these things:
    • Place to stay ( near to the tourist spots is the best place to stay but expensive too but if you are like me who doesn’t mind wandering around on foot, then you’ll be fine if you’re a bit far from the central area)
    • Tourist spots to visit
    • Activities to do
    • Food to eat
    • Mode of transportation
    • Monetary System (and how much my money will be if converted to their money)
  1. Days and Date
  • I will check which month has holidays to save my annual leave and from there, I will research on the popularity of my chosen destination to see if there will be a lot of or less tourists (this dictates the costs of the trip, more tourists means more expensive). Also, I will check on flight details and the weather to know what to bring and to expect during the trip.
  • According to what I read, they said that booking a flight must be seven weeks before the date of travel.
  • Also, I book on Tuesday, Thursday on Friday as I find the plane tickets cheaper than the other days of the week.
  1. Costs
  • As I decided which place to go, how long my stay will be and when to go, I will make a draft of possible expenses to make everything happen. This draft includes
    • Flight ticket
    • Accommodation
    • Food allowance
    • Location transportation allowance
    • Activities allowance
    • Souvenir allowance
  1. Save
  • Counting how many months from the date of the trip, I will save from my main source of income and cut unnecessary expenses.



  1. Book  A Flight
  • What I do is I will check the cheapest flights via Skyscanner and compare all the flight details.
    • To save time and energy, I always choose departure time at dawn so when I reached my destination it will be on or before my scheduled hotel check-in. I prefer to settle my accommodation first before exploring the whole place.
    • If the flight cost and time from an airline doesn’t match what I want, I will book one way tickets from two different airlines.
  1. Book accommodation
  • If I will be flying alone, of course the accommodation will be a lot expensive as I will be paying a room for myself. But if on a group, less expenses on hotel stays. The location of my place to stay should meet the following:
    • Surrounded by tourist areas or few kilometres away from my hotel
    • Food should be around the area
    • Not in a remote place, transportation vehicles can be easily accessed (I am a foreigner therefore I should take care of myself and be responsible for my own safety)
    • High speed wi-fi
    • City/nature view
  1. Plan your activities
  • I will carefully list down the places I want to visit such as Museums, cultural heritages, amusement parks and likes.
  • I will check the cost of each activity so I will not spend out of my budget
  • I avail tourist packages to save myself from getting lost and to grab the opportunity to learn about the place. (I usually do this on the first day of my trip)
  • I will use google maps to find my way to the places I want to see.
  1. Pack
  • I only bring carry-on baggage, to save money for the check in baggage fee, to not buy souvenirs that are not practical and to not wait for my luggage to come out of baggage bays.
  • Here are some of the things I bring with me on a trip:
    • Documents
      • Passport
      • Visa
      • Identification Cards
      • Itinerary
      • ATM/Cash
    • Clothes
      • 1 or 2 pants
      • Tops for each day
      • 1 set of PJs
      • Underwear
      • Slippers
      • 1 pair of sandals or shoes
    • Toiletries
      • Lotion
      • Deodorant
      • Toothbrush
      • Facial wash
      • Moisturizer
      • Sun block
      • Alcohol
      • Mosquito repellent
      • Tissue
    • Electronics
      • Laptop
      • Charger
      • Mobile phone
      • Charger
      • External hard drive
      • Camera
      • Powerbank
      • ear pods
    • Others
      • Notebook
      • Devotion book/book
      • Pens
      • Home keys
    • I don’t bring shampoo, conditioner, soap and towel because the hotel provides them.
  1. Other deets:
    • I make sure to list down the emergency contact information and my hotel’s contact number for safety purposes.
    • I also buy mobile sim card at the airport for easy communication for the travel agencies or emergency purposes and for mobile data usage when there is no free wi-fi connection.
    • I always travel with a hand-carry baggage as it is much cheaper but when I realize that I bought too many souvenirs before my return flight, I will add check-in baggage online a day or 4 hours before my check-in time because its more expensive in the airport. 

Disclaimer: These procedures were all collated from personal experiences and don’t mean that they are applicable to everyone. This is for my personal reference and for those who find this helpful to them.


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