The task of planning a long-haul trip or backpacking adventure can seem daunting or exciting depending on who you are.
I love this step. Researching new destinations, looking through books and blogs and bookmarking way too many websites…I can feel the world getting closer and closer to me.
It’s important to have a general idea of where you want to go before you can figure out an estimated price. Every traveller, new and old, often dreams up too many destinations and has to really look at what a practical number of destinations is in a given time.
First time backpackers are the most guilty of this. Often only spending two or three days in each country trying to see the most places with limited time and budget.
Trust us…it’s better to see more of one place and really get a good feel for it than rush through a few.
The next choice is deciding if you’re going to plan everything ahead of time or play it by ear.
The first four months of our travels we planed almost everything. From accommodation to flights, we always knew where we were going next. This way of travel has its pros and cons.
For us, in Europe in the peak season, it was a good idea to have our accommodation planned ahead of time. Since we mainly use airbnb.com (click here for 29$ off your first visit, score!) it is crucial to book ahead of time to get something in your price range, in a good area, and often very cool and trendy.
The obvious con is that if you decide you love a destination, you cannot just stay a few extra days.
If you are travelling in Europe and it is your first major trip, I suggest booking ahead for ease of mind.
When we moved on to Turkey, India, and then South East Asia, we stopped planning ahead because of how much cheaper it was to show up and bargain a price for accommodation.
There will always be places or times where it is a smart idea to book ahead: such as when you are arriving very late at night, travelling in peak season somewhere very popular (i.e Thai Islands), or wanting to stay somewhere cheap and popular with backpackers.
Check out our video on how we plan long term trips for more advice, info, and specific website recommendations: