Find out how to Plan a Journey: A Month-by-Month Information

Nomadic Matt wearing a backpack while walking along a beach in Hawaii
Posted: 4/2/2024 | April 2nd, 2024

Journey planning is usually a daunting job. Flights, insurance coverage, gear, itineraries, lodging, and a lot extra all must be thought-about and sorted out earlier than you go.

It’s straightforward to get overwhelmed, particularly once you haven’t finished one thing like this earlier than.

After over near twenty years of touring the world, I’ve deliberate numerous journeys and holidays for myself, mates, and household, even group excursions. To start with, it was trial by fireplace. I discovered numerous classes the arduous approach. Nevertheless, that helped me develop an environment friendly guidelines that ensures I don’t miss something necessary throughout the trip-planning course of.

One large query I get requested lots is when to start out planning. To reply that query, this submit breaks the planning course of down into month-by-month steps so you’ll be able to plan your subsequent journey with ease.

Right here’s how you can plan a visit:

12 Months Out: Resolve on Your Vacation spot(s)

A large commercial jet flying through the bright blue sky as it takes offA large commercial jet flying through the bright blue sky as it takes off
Lots of people discuss vaguely about journey: they by no means say the place they’re going, simply that they’re going. They may discuss it for years earlier than truly departing (in the event that they go in any respect). Nevertheless it’s a lot simpler to succeed in and plan for the aim of “I’m going to Paris for 2 weeks this summer season” than “I’m going someplace.”

If you have already got a dream vacation spot in thoughts, nice! If not, listed here are some posts that can assist you get began:

However, this far out, the true factor you wish to do is begin saving cash and determining your prices. Lodging and flights are the plain ones, however how a lot do eating places, sights, and different actions value? Understanding these prices will permit you precisely estimate how a lot cash you’ll want. Right here is how you can analysis prices:

  1. Purchase a guidebook
  2. Take a look at my free journey guides (we break down all prices for every vacation spot)
  3. Skim the price of residing on
  4. Google costs for main actions you wish to do, similar to scuba diving, vineyard excursions, and so forth. (Get Your Information is an efficient place to start out)
  5. Use Skyscanner or Google Flights for flight costs and join alerts to get emails if the value modifications
  6. Use Uncover Vehicles to cost out (and ebook) a rental automotive in the event you want one
  7. Use and Hostelworld to analysis lodging prices

Which will appear to be lots however you simply wish to get a common concept of how a lot you’ll want to save. You possibly can head to this web page to see all my articles on how to save cash on your journey.

12 Months Out: Begin Accumulating Factors & Miles

A bunch of different travel credit cards being held by avid traveler Nomadic MattA bunch of different travel credit cards being held by avid traveler Nomadic Matt
Whilst you’re working to save cash, get a journey bank card so you’ll be able to earn miles and factors at no cost flights and resort stays. It’s what has saved my prices down and me on the highway for therefore a few years.

As of late, most playing cards have welcome affords of 60,000-80,000 factors (some might be as excessive as 100,000) once you meet their minimal spending requirement (typically $2,000-5,000 USD inside a 3–6-month timeframe). That’s sufficient miles for a free round-trip financial system flight to Europe from the East Coast of North America.

For extra info on this topic, try these posts:

As well as, get a fee-free ATM card. I exploit Charles Schwab, however there are many different banks that don’t cost ATM charges (don’t neglect to examine your native banks and credit score unions too). Right here’s how one can keep away from financial institution charges whereas touring.

8 Months Out: Visa Necessities, Passports, and Vaccines

Whilst you probably gained’t want a visa to your required vacation spot, it’s best to nonetheless examine to verify. When you’re a US citizen, use the State Division’s search software to find out about your vacation spot’s entry necessities. (Canadians can use this search software.)

Moreover, be sure that your passport is legitimate for at the very least six months after your journey ends. Many nations require this for entry. Passport utility and renewal wait occasions might be lengthy (the usual is 6-8 weeks within the US), so do that as quickly as doable.

Additionally, analysis in the event you want any vaccines on your journey as many nations require vaccines to enter (and I don’t imply COVID). You possibly can be taught extra about nation necessities and proposals on the CDC’s web site. They may help you discover a clinic close to you as properly (in the event you’re within the US).

4-6 Months Out: E book Your Flight

A huge commerical airliner flying through the dark blue sky as it comes in for a landing at an airportA huge commerical airliner flying through the dark blue sky as it comes in for a landing at an airport
The very best time to ebook your flight is mostly round 3-4 months earlier than your departure, or 5-6 months earlier than in case you are going throughout a vacation spot’s peak season. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, although, so use it as a information.

Listed below are two articles on how you can rating an inexpensive flight:

When you’ve signed up for a journey bank card and obtained your sign-up bonus, use your miles to ebook your flight and/or resort. The additional out you ebook, the extra availability there will likely be. Use instruments like and Awayz that can assist you discover the most effective redemptions in your factors (for flights and resorts, respectively).

However even in the event you aren’t utilizing miles or didn’t discover a low cost flight deal, there are nonetheless some ways to keep away from being the individual on the flight who paid essentially the most for his or her ticket. My two favourite websites for locating low cost airfare are Skyscanner and Google Flights.

3-4 Months Out: E book Your Lodging

A small rolling suitcase standing near the door in a cozy hotel room abroadA small rolling suitcase standing near the door in a cozy hotel room abroad
When you’re touring for underneath two weeks and have a set schedule, ebook lodging all through your journey. When you’re visiting throughout the excessive season, it’s additionally a good suggestion to ebook the whole lot upfront. For journeys longer than two weeks, I counsel reserving solely the primary couple of nights of your journey. As soon as there, you might find yourself wanting to vary your plans primarily based on insider recommendation from different vacationers and/or resort/hostel workers. I desire having flexibility, so I at all times simply ebook a number of nights and go from there.

Listed below are my go-to websites in terms of discovering the most effective offers on lodging:

  • Hostelworld – Hostelworld has the most important choice of hostels and is my go-to web site for locating inexpensive hostels.
  • – is the most effective total platform for locating funds resorts and guesthouses.
  • Agoda – Agoda has the most effective outcomes in the event you’re heading to Asia (although it generally has good US offers too).

I like to recommend checking the cancelation coverage of wherever you ebook. I like having the pliability to cancel if one thing comes up.

When you’re on a good funds otherwise you wish to join with extra locals throughout your travels, think about becoming a member of platforms like Couchsurfing or BeWelcome. These communities permit vacationers to stick with residents at no cost as a form of cultural change.

Lengthy-term vacationers can even strive housesitting or WWOOFing as properly, as they each provide free lodging (in change for pet sitting or farm work, respectively).

2 Months Out: Plan Your Actions

Now it’s time for the enjoyable a part of journey planning! Meaning studying books about your vacation spot, studying common journey suggestions, connecting with on-line communities, and pre-booking any crucial actions.

Pre-booking ensures you don’t miss out on issues that you simply actually wish to do in your journey. When you’re going to a well-liked vacation spot, excursions and actions refill shortly, and in the event you’re going to a smaller place, actions or excursions may solely run on sure days and have restricted availability.

Both approach, Get Your Information the most effective place to seek for and pre-book actions, excursions, and tickets. Native tour operators and sights can listing their choices on this on-line market, so you will discover tons of stuff right here, from meals excursions to museum tickets with skip-the-line entry.

1 Month Out: Get Journey Insurance coverage

Get journey insurance coverage. That approach, these purchases are protected ought to one thing occur that makes you cancel your journey.

Lots of people suppose, “I’m wholesome. I don’t want journey insurance coverage.” However journey insurance coverage is way more than simply medical safety. It covers you when your digital camera breaks, your flight is canceled, a member of the family dies and you must come dwelling, or one thing will get stolen. (That’s why you’ll additionally wish to familiarize your self with any widespread journey scams to look out for, in addition to how you can conduct your self in an effort to mix in to keep away from trying like a goal for petty theft.)

Sure, it’s an added expense. Nevertheless it’s at all times higher to be secure than sorry. I by no means depart dwelling with out it, as a result of I’ve seen firsthand simply what can occur on the highway.

I by no means thought I’d pop my eardrum whereas I used to be scuba diving in Thailand, break my digital camera in Italy, or get knifed in Colombia.

Sadly, dangerous issues can occur once you’re touring. True, these occasions are few and much between. However they will value tens of 1000’s of {dollars}. When you’re not ready to pay out of pocket, purchase journey insurance coverage.

Listed below are some posts on journey insurance coverage to get you began:

I by no means depart dwelling with out journey insurance coverage. You shouldn’t both.

7 days out: Pack!

Nomadic Matt's gear on the bed as he packs his backpack before a tripNomadic Matt's gear on the bed as he packs his backpack before a trip
Your journey is nearly right here, and it’s time to pack! It may be tempting to wish to deliver the whole lot with you “simply in case.” However in terms of journey, much less is extra. Whereas what you pack will rely upon the place you’re going, keep in mind that you don’t have to take the whole lot you personal. You should buy stuff you want and do laundry on the highway. On the finish of the day, you must carry the whole lot you deliver. So deliver much less!

I journey with a 45L REI bag after which a smaller day bag. Right here’s my steered packing listing that can assist you take simply the correct quantity of stuff and keep away from overpacking (right here’s an inventory for feminine vacationers).

Moreover, deliver any prescriptions you want all through your journey. Attempt to not depend on filling these overseas (although deliver a prescription and physician’s observe simply in case).


With the whole lot taken care of, it’s time to go in your journey and have enjoyable! Make an inventory of last-minute objects you’ll want to pack the day of (your toothbrush, glasses, telephone charger, and so forth.) and examine in on-line beforehand (you are able to do so 24 hours upfront). (When you’ve obtained lounge entry by means of a premium journey rewards card, you may end up trying ahead to attending to the airport early.)

When you’re feeling nervous, don’t fear. That’s completely regular. Feeling anxious or not sure is one thing each traveler experiences. However you’ve made it this far. Belief your planning and comply with your instincts. You’re about to have the journey of a lifetime.

E book Your Journey: Logistical Ideas and Methods

E book Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight by utilizing Skyscanner. It’s my favourite search engine as a result of it searches web sites and airways across the globe so that you at all times know no stone is being left unturned.

E book Your Lodging
You possibly can ebook your hostel with Hostelworld. If you wish to keep someplace apart from a hostel, use because it persistently returns the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and resorts.

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you towards sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes unsuitable. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions prior to now. My favourite firms that supply the most effective service and worth are:

Need to Journey for Free?
Journey bank cards mean you can earn factors that may be redeemed at no cost flights and lodging — all with none further spending. Take a look at my information to choosing the right card and my present favorites to get began and see the most recent greatest offers.

Want Assist Discovering Actions for Your Journey?
Get Your Information is a large on-line market the place you will discover cool strolling excursions, enjoyable excursions, skip-the-line tickets, personal guides, and extra.

Able to E book Your Journey?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for the most effective firms to make use of once you journey. I listing all those I exploit after I journey. They’re the most effective in school and you’ll’t go unsuitable utilizing them in your journey.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles