How I Failed Our Trip Planning (and how you can avoid making the same mistakes)

I am officially the worst person to listen to in regards to how best plan your trip.

I was going to start a blog featuring tips on easy, stress-free ways to organise your trips. Me! I might as well start a blog on how to survive deep-space travel.

Everytime we go on holidays I come back determined to plan it better the next time, to be more organised. Unfortunately, I seem to be getting worse at it. Is that possible? To get worse at something the more you do it?

Because there we were, 3 and a half weeks out from flying to Japan and we had practically nothing booked!

You don’t have “all the time in the world”

We initially started planning this trip over 2 months earlier, and we were discussing it months before that. In all that time the only thing we managed to do was book our flights. And that took us a month!

I know, work and life creeps in and even though you’re looking forward to it, that long-awaited holiday seems months and months away. The problem is, time goes very quickly now. Everywhere we turn there’s demands on our time, facebook, friends, TV, movies, music, work, family, chores, all constantly clamouring for our attention. Your average workday, once you factor commuting into it, takes around 10-12 hours out of your day, every day. Then you get home and you have to cook, eat, clean up. By the time you get that done it’s time for bed. And you can’t rely on doing anything on your commute because Australia’s mobile service is so rubbish you can spend 20 minutes of a 30 minute trip simply staring at your phone waiting for sites to load. So what do you do?

Make time to plan.

You need to carve out time to plan your holiday. I know it’s hard, I know you’re busy with other stuff or you just want to veg out in front of the TV but when it comes down to it, when you’re three weeks out from your holiday and you need to book accommodation, what do you do? You better believe you suddenly find time for it. You drop everything else, you focus your whole attention on booking this holiday. And then you end up sitting up till all hours of the night, booking everything in a mad rush and paying more for it.

You need to do that a month earlier. Not the mad rush bit, that’s just silly. You need to make time. Turn off the TV, put down your phone and treat your holiday planning like you’re flying out in 2 weeks. It’s the one thing you look forward to more than anything else, right? So why not treat it accordingly. If you don’t, you end up like me now and your holiday planning turns into a constant source of stress.

Make lists.

Something I didn’t do this time, and which I might try next trip, is to sit down and make a list of everything you want to see and any restrictions on it, such as operating hours, special holidays, seasonal restrictions and a rough estimate of how long you think it might take. Spend some time on this, make sure you’ve covered everything you want to see. And a note here, unless you’re going over there specifically for shopping, forget the shopping districts! You know you’ll just end up wandering around shopping malls or in and out of shops and not actually buying anything. Before you know it, you’ll have wasted a whole day on nothing.

I still haven’t come up with a foolproof order yet but I think the best way is to rough out a list of attractions and sites and then build your itinerary around that. Once you work out what you want to see you should have a better idea of how long you’ll need to see it and you’ll be able to plan your trip accordingly.

Thankfully I did end up getting everything booked and planned but, as expected, due to rushing to book accomodation and internal flights, I realised that things we wanted to see or do in certain cities wouldn’t be available to us at the time we there. And unfortunately, with things already booked, we couldn’t change it. Or not without a mass of hassle and possibly paying more anyway.

The important thing though is to get on it. This is not Christmas present shopping or calling your parents or feeding your pets. This is IMPORTANT and it should be something you want to do. So stop reading this post and get to it!


Got any ideas for how you plan your perfect holiday? Tips for a battler like me? Let me know down below. And if you enjoyed this be sure to sign up for my email list for so much more.

stealth out

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