Planning A Trip: The Blueprint
Food Feels Flava is such a brilliant concept because its surrounded by this notion of planning your trip around the experience of food. With every trip you take, each place has something different to offer. Food can sometimes make or break a trip (especially if you are a picky eater).
Additionally, choosing a place to visit can be overwhelming. Here are some of my top tips on how to plan a trip.
Bali, Indonesia 2016
1. Invest in a passport. Invest in a passport. Invest in a passport.
A passport is typically $110 and they don’t expire until TEN YEARS after you receive it. Passports usually take up to 4-9 weeks to be completed. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to get a passport quickly, you can get one expedited but it will cost an additional $60.
2. Pick a Destination
Pick a destination in advance. I would suggest to start planning a trip a minimum 6 to 12 months before the actual trip. The more time between when you decide you want to go somewhere and the actual the trip, the better. This not only allows you to save your coins, but also gives you more time to research amenities such as food, transportation, lodging etc.
Tokyo, Japan 2017
3. Planning the Trip
After you pick a destination, the planning preparations should start. At this point, you should decide if you want a curated trip through an agency/travel group or if you want to plan the trip yourself. Always remember that the more people that intend to go, the more planning that needs to be done.
Travel Agency vs. Self-curated trips
Planning your own trip can be exhausting because you're essentially planning for something you've never experienced before; however, if you pull it off, it can be extremely rewarding knowing that you created this itinerary and it was fruitful.
Pros: You will save money.
Cons: Can be tedious planning every detail and it’s sometimes difficult getting a large group of friends to commit to actually going on the trip. If you decide to create your own trip make sure you create a budget and include an itinerary of things you want to do.
Travel agencies are great if you plan to go international for the first time. Personally, I have used Travel Noire on a trip to Bali, Indonesia and it was amazing. After the calculations, I could have saved so much money but the experience was invaluable. Travel groups/agencies allow you opportunities that you most likely will not find yourself unless you do extensive research.
Pros: Everything is done for you and it's usually upscale activities. Travel groups are experts and they have experience with each destination and they really know how to make the most of one trip.
Cons: Extremely pricey; also if you don't consider yourself a people person this may not be the best option because there’s a good chance that you will be within close proximity to other people you most likely will not know.
Tokyo, Japan 2017
4. Purchasing a plane ticket
Plane tickets are cheaper to purchase now than ever before. With that being said, it’s important to utilize the tools the internet offers us. “Hopper” is my best friend when it comes to looking for plane tickets. Hopper is a third party app that forecasts ticket prices for a destination. Sometimes I window shop for plane tickets just to see when I can get deals for the low low. So here is the deal with Hopper: I never actually purchase through Hopper I just look for the cheapest deals then decide which airline to commit to. In my experience, you want to try to avoid third-party travel agencies if possible (think: Expedia, Cheap o’ tickets, Kayak, etc.). Honestly, they are just the middle man. Why not just go to the source if you can? Most airlines will honor the fact that you found a cheap ticket if you give them the details of the flight.
Check out the hopper app
5. Secure Minor Details
● Two weeks before your trip let your card/phone company that you are planning to go out of the country and they will let you know your data plan
● Make sure you get all your vaccinations (some locations don't require them)
● Check to make sure if your destination requires a visa (this should be done at least a month before the trip)
Bali, Indonesia 2016
What will the weather be like on your trip? What type are activities will you be doing? These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself when packing for a trip. I can admit that I am a horrible packer. It never fails I over pack every time. Every time. I would just rather be over prepared than under prepared. Please don’t be like me, like the wise Erykah Badu once said, “Pack light”. Also, make sure you have a copy of all your documentation in your luggage.
Side note: I tried not planning once for my trip to Cuba and as you can imagine it was a beautiful hot mess lol but it was also an important lesson to learn in traveling. Maybe I’ll tell ya’ll about that story another time. Anyways wherever you decide to go, be present, disconnect from your phones, immerse yourself in the culture and most importantly have fun! Adjust each experience to your comfortability. If you want to see where I’ve been or have any further questions just ask!
My IG is JstJas.