5 Things You Should Ask Yourself Before Planning That Big Trip

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By Prerna Sood | March 5, 2014 3:32 PM EST

You beam at the thought of traveling. That's all you want to do. It is that time when you have decided that you are going to travel, but are still somewhat unsure of how to go about it.

Reuters
An Air India Airlines Boeing 787 dreamliner takes part in a flying display during the 50th Paris Air Show at the Le Bourget airport near Paris, June 14, 2013.

You have set aside a date, you have managed to save enough and begun planning. Remember how all travel magazines and websites always recommend one to travel stating "The world is your oyster". It is obvious that given the time and resources, one can wander off to any place in the world.

But it is particularly at this moment when there are endless options, you are faced with the tricky task of narrowing things down and taking a final call. You could go absolutely anywhere you want. Do what you want. The question is how do you arrive at a decision? How do you figure out what you want most and how to go about it?

Here are 5 big questions that you need to ask yourself before you embark on that trip you have always wanted.

  • Where do you want to go?
    This is obviously the first thing that needs to be decided. And it is not so surprising, that surrounded by the overload of travel related information available on the internet, guide books, travel websites, etc one often tends to ignore the places they always wanted to visit. It becomes more of a competition when it comes to picking a destination like if a friend visited Seychelles, it will automatically become your choice for the next trip.

Don't let anyone else's life influence your decision. Take a moment to think and narrow down to a place that you have always wanted to visit. Keep in mind what your interests are, what culture would you want to explore, is there a specific place that inspires you. Think hard and take some time if you need. Maybe it is a place that you read about some time and immediately fell in love with or it is that food from your favorite cuisine that made you want to visit the place. Or maybe you have a list of places you want to visit in your lifetime. It could be anything that established a connection between you and a faraway place. Find out what that is and take the first step.

  • What season are you visiting in?
    Travel books are abundant with information and details about every place possible. They can suggest the "best" time of the year to visit a place. Travel books by "best" mean the peak season and if you do end up planning a trip within that time you will have to incur much more expenses than usual.

Worse is that the peak season is when places are thronged by tourists and it kills the sole purpose of taking a vacation in the first place, relaxation. With thousands of fellow holiday goers, it's impossible to find quiet. Traveling in off season might just be a better idea with the added benefits of slashed prices on flights, accommodation and no crowd. Visiting a place in shoulder season also lets you see the "real" place with more locals than tourists.

  • What languages do you know?
    No matter how adventurous you want your experience to be, you need to be smart about making choices. Planning a spontaneous out of the box trip is thrilling for sure but can it cause you any unnecessary hassles? Ask yourself. Do you speak the local language of the place you want to visit? If the answer is no, it's better to take a step back until you're somewhat fluent in that language.

Language is the only way one can communicate in a new place; hence knowledge of it is indispensable. If you don't speak many languages, sure it will narrow down your choices but will save you any awkward situations in future. So whichever place you select for a trip, make sure you not only know the language but also have a fair idea about locally used gestures and their meanings. Learn the language if you have planned months ahead. It is wise to know your limitations and plan likewise.

  • How long will your trip be?
    This is another aspect of pre travel planning that needs a good amount of attention. Though it seems obvious, but it definitely isn't. The kind of time you are ready to spend on a trip will define the length and quality of your time spent traveling.

The duration of your trip needs to be practical too. Even if you have a lot of time on hand, the longer you travel, the more you will realize what you have not seen so far. Is your trip long enough for you to rent a place, say a couple of months? Or is it just a few days? Do you plan to keep moving and switch hotels every few days? Or is it going to be a long one for you to explore the place to the fullest? Answer these questions to yourself and you will have an unambiguous understanding of how your trip is going to shape up. If there is no itinerary, plan as you move forward.

  • Are you confident enough?
    How comfortable and confident you will feel depends on a lot of things. Is it your first trip ever? Is it going to be a group trip or a solo one? Do you have an itinerary or you plan to take one day at a time? Have you planned enough? Have you visited the place before? Do you know the language? Do what it takes to make you feel comfortable throughout the trip.

If you're a planner but decide to take on a spur-of-the-moment trip, chances are you will panic easily and keep wondering about the next moment. If you are not sure about the local places, hire a guide. This will give a sense of security and safety. If you shudder at the thought of traveling alone, don't go all out on a solo trip just so you appear cool. It's great to experiment and let loose but taking calculative risks is the smart way to do it. Do it your own way but be sensible so you don't feel uncomfortable at any point.

(Photo: Reuters / )
An Air India Airlines Boeing 787 dreamliner takes part in a flying display during the 50th Paris Air Show at the Le Bourget airport near Paris, June 14, 2013.
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