Traveling is probably one of the most popular things that appear on bucket lists, so it’s no wonder that so many decide to travel while on vacation. However, you might not always have enough time for it – or the budget that will allow you to do as much as you want. In this case, the best option is to have a multi-country trip to see different places. Hence, here’s the ultimate guide on how to think and write a multi-country travel plan in advance.
Why Travel to Multiple Countries at Once?
First of all, why would you want to travel to multiple countries at once? Well, there are several reasons why you might be interested in going on a trip like that:
- You can save money by planning a multi-country trip and visiting different destinations.
- You can see more places on one trip during holidays or your vacation time.
- You might improve your planning skills by organizing a trip like that.
- You will probably have a great time and experience many different things just by going on a single trip.
1. Research Opportunities
The first and very necessary step is research. Before you decide that you want to go to Spain or Japan or Antarctica, you need to know about all the opportunities you have and all the destinations you might want to include in your travel plan. Otherwise, you might miss out on some great places. Here are some things to do during research:
- Think about the current destinations you have in mind. Base your research on that.
- If you want to limit your trip to one continent, you will probably be able to see more countries next to each other. If you want to travel across continents, the trip may be too stressful, but you might see more variety in landscapes.
- Don’t stress about your budget during this phase. There are ways you can go on a trip around the world while spending less.
- Keep in mind the preferences of your travel buddies if you have already decided who they will be. If you will be traveling with your family or friends, make sure everyone is comfortable with the choices you have made.
2. Make A List of Destinations
Once you have done the research, you need to make a list of all the destinations you liked. Even if they were your second or third choice, it’s worth adding them to your list, because now you will be crossing out everything you don’t need. It’s a difficult process, but a necessary one if you want to plan the perfect multi-country trip.
Write the list vertically because it will be easier to cross out destinations this way. Start from the ones you like the least. Then, move on to the ones you weren’t sure about or the ones that have nuances (e.g. very high or low temperatures that may impact your well-being, local religion or culture that could limit you). Remember that it’s not a competition about who visits more places. You can always go on another trip, so make sure you enjoy this one.
3. Plan Your Route
After your list is ready, you will need to plan your route. This is the way you will be moving from one place to another. You will probably have to change your route a bit later on while deciding on transportation and booking accommodation, but you need some kind of outline now to build up on it. The best route is the one that visually looks less complicated, so try not to go in circles or jump in zigzags on the map.
It’s good to get down your starting and ending points first and then move between them, but you can also create mini routes and then link them together. If you’ve gone on similar trips before, it will be easier for you to figure out how to travel from one destination to another and choose the best route for it. Remember that you can also add or cross out destinations as you plan your route, so don’t discard your list from the previous step just yet!
4. Consider Your Budget
Now that everything is ready for the difficult stages, it’s worth checking your budget. You can probably manage a lot of traveling even with scarce resources, but you still shouldn’t overestimate your financial abilities, especially if you are traveling with family.
Firstly, think about how big your budget is for a trip to the number of countries you chose and the number of days the trip will take. Secondly, check local prices. In one country, food might cost you much more than in another. After you book transportation and accommodation, you will have some money left for souvenirs and food. Thirdly, you need to consider whether you can get a bigger budget just in case you can manage this one.
5. Decide on Transportation
Transportation is one of the most important aspects of any trip because this is how you will get from one destination to another. It’s best to book as much as you can now so that you don’t get into trouble later. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding on transportation:
- If you are limiting your trip to one continent, you could get around by car. For example, you can fly to your starting point and then get a rented car from there. Of course, you will need to return the car at the end of the trip making your starting point also your ending point. This can be particularly effective in Europe where crossing borders is not so difficult, so a car can be very useful.
- If you are visiting countries on different continents, you will probably have many differences in time zones. It’s better to find comfortable transportation that you can book beforehand so that you can rest while you’re getting to all the right places.
- Flying is the fastest way of getting to your destinations, but you could also consider a cruise if your destinations can be reached by water. In the cities or regions, it’s better to book tours beforehand so you will only need to get on the tour bus instead of using public transport or getting a taxi while already there.
6. Book Accommodation
Accommodation might just be the most important aspect of your trip because you always need to book it ahead. If you don’t book a place where you can rest and sleep, you might not be able to find one while already there and may even end up sleeping on the street in the worst-case scenario.
If you are traveling alone, you can book cheap motels to save money. If you are with your friends, you can also consider this option. Alternatively, consider using Airbnb or finding locals who let you stay at their place for a small price.
If you are traveling with your family, you will probably need to find a good hotel to ensure that everyone is comfortable. Hotels range in prices depending on service, quality, location, and so on, so make sure to research all the options and find what fits your budget best.
7. Identify Activities and Sites to Visit
Now that you know where you want to go and how you want to get there, you need to decide what you want to do and which sites you want to visit. If you already booked some tour buses, you will already have popular tourist routes covered, but exploring the local area on your own can be just as exciting (and sometimes even much cheaper than the tours).
There are several types of activities and sites that you should keep in mind:
- “Active” Activities: Depending on what kind of person you are and who you are traveling with, you will want to stick to either “active” or “passive” activities. “Active” activities are the ones that will require more from you, especially in the physical sense. Hiking, participating in walking tours, playing local sports, shopping or exploring the city on your own, etc. are all considered “active”. These are not always right for families with small children or elderly travelers, but they can be perfect for a group of young friends or for single travelers who want a challenge.
- “Passive” Activities: As the name suggests, these activities require less from you and can be done by virtually any tourist. Bus tours, sunbathing on the beach or by the pool, staying in the hotel to rest, etc. are all considered “passive” activities. Believe it or not, some people may spend a day or two on the beach and stay in the hotel for the rest of the week just because they like resting that way!
- Historical Sites: Historical sites usually include architecture and other culturally significant places or constructions. They are undoubtedly the most popular sites to visit and can be located both within urban areas and outside of them. In the latter case, you will probably need to take a tour bus to get there.
- Art & Entertainment: Anything from festivals to art galleries and museums can be considered art and entertainment.
Some people prefer visiting a local cinema while others like walking through the city and admiring the old architecture while the tour guide explains everything. In both cases, you will need to have a list of what you want to do beforehand so that you don’t get lost once you arrive. Moreover, it’s better to combine different types of activities and sites to get the best experience on your trip.
8. Get Documentation and Vaccinations
Now that you have everything planned, you need to get documentation and vaccinations ready. Some places will require you to get a visa while others may have more tourist-friendly laws. In some cases, you will need to get proper vaccinations to be let into the country. Make sure that you prepare all of these in advance as getting a visa can take quite some time. You can organize the documentation through your tourist company.
9. Find Your Travel Buddies
If you haven’t done it yet, you should find your travel buddies as soon as possible. Sure, you have the route and everything else planned and you are currently in the process of getting your documents… And suddenly, you think that going on the trip by yourself is too lonely. Grab a friend or a family member and arrange for them to go with you!
10. Pack Your Things
Last but not least, pack everything you need. While making your multi-country travel plan, you can also make a list of things you need to take with you, so you don’t forget anything. You should definitely include:
- Documents: All the necessary documents you need.
- Hygiene: The products you use for your hair, face, body, and so on as well as all the tools like your hairbrush, toothbrush, makeup, etc.
- Clothes: A few pairs of underwear, possibly a swimsuit, and several different outfits you can wear. Make sure to check the climate and the forecast to be sure that you are really taking everything you need.
- Leisure: A book or anything else you need during your leisure time.
- Other: Tech, health-related products, and so on.
To sum up, having a multi-country travel plan in advance is definitely a must when you want to see as many places as you can during your short vacation. Use the tips in this article to create your own travel plan and start enjoying your trips even more.
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