Planning | A step by step guide to planning the perfect trip

Planning | A step by step guide to planning the perfect trip

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Need some expert help planning the perfect trip? The most common thing that people ask me is about trip planning. You would be amazed at home many people email me each week asking for advice on planning and booking their next vacation.

I am a long-term traveler, meaning I don’t stay in many resorts or fancy hotels. My budget is a fraction of most holidaymakers.

However, my expert knowledge of booking and planning means I know a thing or two about planning the perfect trip.

Take it step by step. In the following article I’m going to take you through the 10 steps I take when planning and how you can follow them to plan your perfect trip.


10 steps to planning the perfect trip

  1. What kind of vacation do you want?
  2. Hot or cold
  3. When
  4. Activities
  5. Where
  6. Flights
  7. Accommodation
  8. Research and planning things to do
  9. Packing list
  10. Enjoy your holiday

Claire's Itchy Feet about me Claire Summers

Step 1 – Deciding what kind of vacation do you want?

The first thing I like to do is to close my eye’s and imagine I’m already on vacation. Take some time to visualize the perfect destination, what you will do there, what you will eat and where you will stay.

Now you should have a clear idea in your head of your perfect vacation! Time for step 2…

Step 2 – Do you want to go on vacation somewhere hot or cold?

The number 1 thing you need to consider is if you want to be hot or cold! Depending on this answer you are instantly going to rule out a lot of countries. If you want to go somewhere hot then you can cross Iceland and Norway off your list. If you want to go on a winter holiday somewhere cool then you probably want to stay away from countries close to the equator.

Step 3 – When do you want to goon vacation?

So now you should have a visual idea of the kind of holiday you want an know if you want to be hot or cold. The next step is to decide where you want to go. Do a few google searches using some keywords that you want from your holiday.

For example:

  • beach holidays in Europe
  • luxury winter escape

As well as searching google I like to search on Pinterest and # on Instagram. They are both very visual platforms and you can take some time to look at the pictures and click on anything that catches your eye. Make a note of the countries and places you were drawn to.

What activities do you like doing?

Now the next thing I do is write down my top activities to do on vacation. So for me, I love to hike, surf, scuba dive and relax on the beach.

Everyone is different and if you are traveling with someone else you are going to need to add things they like to do to this list too!

Colombia Guides | Things to do in Palomino




Deciding where do you want to go?

It’s decision time. By now you should have a clear idea of what you want from a vacation. This is going to help you to narrow down the places you would like to go.

Write a list of your top 5 or 10 places and jot down some notes on each.

Booking your flights

Now for the exciting part! It is time to book your flights. This is my favorite part but I know that flight booking can be a total nightmare for some people. So if you need some extra help I wrote a whole post guiding you step-by-step through how I book flights.

Finding the perfect accommodation

Now that you have your flights it is time to book your accommodation. Be careful to search more than one site and look for the best deals. Remember don’t book anything until you have checked the reviews on the booking site and google.

For my full guide to booking accommodation.

Colombia Guides | How to spend a day in Cartagena


Research and planning things to do

Now you have everything booked it is time for the really fun part… planning your time there. I have google documents and sheets, google maps and a whole Pinterest board for each destination I travel to.

Now you may not want to go as crazy as me on the planning stuff. But I would recommend taking a read of my travel research guide and at least setting up a Pinterest board.

Making the perfect packing list

Now you know where you are going, how you will get there and what you are going to be doing when you get there, there is only one thing left… Write a packing list!

Whether you have an electronic one on your cell phone or a handwritten on in your diary, keep it close. That way you can keep adding to it when you remember someone new you need to add.

Enjoy your vacation!





A step by step guide to planning the perfect trip

Here are my other planning guides


How to Save Money for Travel

How to to find the best deals on accommodation

How to find the best flight deals online

Who is better Skyscanner or Google Flights

Do you need travel insurance for longterm travel and backpacking

12 Travel apps to download before taking your trip


Are You Traveling soon?

Be sure to check Skyscanner for the best flight deals.

I never travel anywhere without Travel Insurance. If you are looking for insurance be sure to check World Nomads first.

This post was proofread by Grammarly




  1. December 27, 2016 / 8:42 pm

    Congrats on finishing your first ebook, they can be challenging! We have only put together one for my husband’s photography course and it was tedious work. It sounds like you’re passionate about it which is great if you want to continue making more.

  2. December 28, 2016 / 1:53 am

    Congrats on scoring your first ebook!! I’m sure it took a lot of work and the end product must be something to be proud of. I’ll sign up for sure!

  3. December 27, 2016 / 10:13 pm

    Wow look at you! That is HUGE news! I am so happy for you that you had a dream and made it come true :). I can’t even imagine that work that goes into making an ebook. Looking forward to see what you get up to next.

    • December 29, 2016 / 1:45 am

      Thanks Chantell! Hard at it right now prepping for Central America. Love reading your blog and following your adventures too x

  4. December 28, 2016 / 4:01 am

    This is so inspirational. I’ve been wanting to write a book and I think blogging is a great gateway. I was 100 pages don’t for my novel but not even sure where to start when it comes to publication. Congrats!! Will definitely take a look at your guide.

    • December 29, 2016 / 1:47 am

      I really want to write a novel. This was me dipping my toe into it. So many great books and guild to self-publishing out there. You should go for it!

  5. Hra
    December 28, 2016 / 10:46 am

    Congrats!!! Huge news!! We proud of you!! I’ll sigh up fo sure 🙂 <3

  6. December 28, 2016 / 11:19 am

    That is so awesome! I have plans to write a couple this year. I just have not had the time to get to it yet,


    • December 29, 2016 / 1:50 am

      Go for it! It’s a bit of a headache but not as hard as i thought it would be.

  7. December 28, 2016 / 6:05 pm

    Congratulations, that’s a big milestone! I know it must have been a lot of work, but hope Canva made the layout easy. A guide to getting cheap flights would be great, too.

  8. December 29, 2016 / 5:12 am

    Congrats! That’s exciting. I’ve always wanted to write one as well but just never find the time. Not sure mine could be whipped up in a day though haha. Great to keep it simple and to the point for travelers though. ^^

  9. December 29, 2016 / 4:01 pm

    Congratulations on your first Ebook. You made it sound really easy – wrote it in a day? Crazy! It sounds like you are really passionate about helping others plan their vacations. I actually love planning vacations too, but only for myself. 🙂 I hope you have lots of success!

    • December 30, 2016 / 1:53 pm

      Thank you Tara! Yes did it all in a day. Although I had written 4 posts on planning so I just took bits from each of them and edited into the ebook. So I wasn’t starting from nothing 🙂

  10. January 8, 2017 / 12:27 pm

    hi Claire!
    It’s good to read here you actually wrote a book, ebook. It was amazing, some of my friends and avid readers told me I should write a book. May I ask did you have a specific niche when you wrote it? ( sorry I haven’t opened the link yet as it needs to register ) but I am interested. I write mostly about travel stories and love, life and relationship in general. Thanks much!


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