Travel: Where Do You Start?

February 8, 2018

  

So you want to travel to perform, create, or study your art but aren’t sure where to begin? These 10 tips will help you get there.

 

1. Plan Your Itinerary

 

Choosing an itinerary can be one of the most challenging parts of travel but it doesn’t have to be. When planning your next trip, consider the following: Where do you want to go? What’s your budget? Are the locations close to each other? 

 

You may want to focus on one part of the world to maximize your time and money. If you want to travel to several countries that are farther apart decide which way to move (east or west) as it frequently makes more sense to keep moving in one direction rather than hopping all over the place. The internet is your friend in this process as you can search all kinds of different locations and see reviews from fellow travelers.

 

I like to start with an outline of where I want to go and in what order. Then I make a list of all the sights I want to see in each location I want to travel to and decide how much time is reasonable for each stop. After googling and speaking with people who have been to those places I make some tough cuts from my wish list of sights. I am left with a good general itinerary for my trip. I allow myself to be flexible once on my trip because there will be things you didn’t plan on seeing that come up.

 

2. Set A Budget

 

You will need to budget in order to know if you can leave now or if you will need to save some money first. First research your airfare costs since those will be a big chunk upfront. Then try to figure out how much money you will need per day for food, accommodation, and incidentals (activities, alcohol, souvenirs, etc) and make a list. Once you add all of the costs together you will have the total you need to take your trip.

 

Every dollar you put away for your future travel will add up and it can be very satisfying to watch your travel account grow. Consider using a budgeting app to help you.  I personally use Mint since it is free, easy to use, and gives feedback on where I can cut costs.

 

3. Get Your Passport And Visas

 

If you don’t have a passport and plan on flying internationally get one as soon as you can. You can pay extra to have your passport application expedited. You will need to fill out an application, provide photos, and pay a fee. The process is fairly easy but it does take some time so don’t put it off. 

 

Check the visa requirements for all international travel as they vary from country to country.  You can look up different countries visa requirements on www.projectvisa.com or visit the embassy website for the country you are traveling to. Many tourist visas are available at the airport on entry of country but there are exceptions so be sure to check before you purchase your place ticket to see if you need to apply before you arrive.

 

4. Book Your Airfare

 

Purchasing airfare has never been so easy thanks to the proliferation of travel websites and apps.  Some popular ones are Skyscanner, Google Flights, and Momondo. Google Flights has some great search options if you aren't too picky on where you fly in and out of.

 

5. Set Your Lodging

 

Depending on whether you are planning a short trip or a long one you may want to have your lodging figured out prior to leaving. I would suggest for long trips finding accommodation for at least your first few nights and then you should be able to find lodging once you’re in the area for the remainder of the time. It can be nice to see for yourself if the hotel you found online is actually in the area you thought it was in and you can frequently get great deals on the ground.

 

6. See The Doctor

 

Make all of your doctor appointments prior to traveling if you need vaccinations, prescriptions refilled, or need any physical or mental health checkups. Don’t wait, you’ll be happy you did this prior to leaving – especially if you’re planning on going for a longer time period.

 

Make an appointment to see a doctor or nurse at a travel clinic to get all information you need on what vaccines are recommended. Some vaccines take multiple shots that need to be spaced out by a month or longer so get this taken care of long before you plan on traveling.

 

7. Get Ready To Go

 

What do YOU need to do to prepare for your trip? If you’re a performing artist do you need to pare down your makeup and buy small necessities? Do you need new costumes? If you’re a painter or a sketch artist do you need new pencils, paint, or chalk? Will you need prescriptions filled? You may want to purchase travel insurance. Figure out what you need and start putting together your supplies and to-do lists now.

 

Also consider buying some travel guidebooks (if you haven’t already) or doing more research online into the places you are visiting. It is always good to know a little about the area you are traveling to, some history, and what the customs are. You will also get great tips on places to visit and must-see spots.

 

8. Pack

 

There are a bunch of great packing guides online.  I like the packing guide for Rick Steves. My general guidelines for packing are to use the following categories: clothing, costumes, toiletries, medical supplies, travel gear, and footwear.

 

Try to pack the smallest amount of clothing possible using layering pieces. Costumes are the tricky part for me as a dancer because they are bulky, heavy, and need to be accompanied by jewelry shoes, and other dance supplies like finger cymbals and veils. I pack these into ziplock bags and squeeze as much air out as possible to make them as small as I can.

 

Take essential toiletries, medicines, and medical supplies. Bring whatever travel gear you will need for the needs of your trip such as a travel sheet, towel, charger, and adapter. Your needs can be vastly different depending on where you go.

 

9. Create A Plan To Exit The Airport

 

You just landed in a foreign country and you are overwhelmed by the crowd, signs you can’t read as you don’t understand the language, and you are alone. What do you do? Have a plan on how you are going to get from the airport to your hotel worked out before you fly. You don’t want to be figuring out how to change money or find a cab when no one speaks the same language as you and the internet on your phone is turned off because you don’t want to pay international roaming fees. 

 

Find out where to go at the airport to hail a cab and know what form of currency they will accept. If you prefer to take a public transportation option, know where to go to get on the bus or train and which one will get you to your destination.

 

10. Money 

 

Research what type of money is used at the destination you are headed to, the exchange rate, and find out where you can exchange your money if needed. Be sure to let your bank and credit card companies know where and when you are headed so they don’t freeze your account for unusual activity. Research what fees your bank charges for overseas transactions or withdrawals and consider moving to a foreign friendly bank prior to your travel.

I hope these tips help you figure out where to start so you can plan the trip of your dreams. What are your favorite travel planning hacks? Enjoy your trip! 

 

 

 

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