A trip could be an unforgettable and exciting experience. For the success of the trip, hikers and vacationers tend to bother about all of the many and important details. A trip is not a distance or a v mark contest. A trip is not measured by how much you managed to see, but by how much you managed to absorb, understand and to have fun. Therefore, take your time and walk leisurely, try to see and meet the local residents, and to learn about their culture and customs.
Not once during the trip abroad, you run into unexpected problems, due to lack of experience and information, like differences in hours, pickpockets and crime areas, weather, as well as budget issues and much more.
In order to avoid malfunctions and aggravation, you should prepare yourself some questions towards the trip, which through them you will be aware of your motivation, wills, capabilities or limits before you hit the road. The awareness to these details will allow you to enjoy the trip and make the best out of it.
Examples for questions: Would I like to travel with or without a guide?
Would I like to travel alone, with my family or friends?
Would I like to make a short or a long trip?
Planning the trip
When you decide to go on a trip, it’s recommended to start planning a few months ahead, in order to avoid bumping into problems (place is closed, tickets have sold out, highways or roads closed, etc). You should browse guide books, the different trip websites and your destination’s website. we advise you to buy a good and detailed map, where main and sideway roads appear.
To plan the trip from one place to another better and more accurate, you should use websites where you can get the road map, the number of kilometers, journey time, and the shortest and fastest way reaching the desired location. Please notice whether the information about the distance is in kilometer or miles. If the information is in miles, convert it to kilometers and then continue planning the trip.
There is the possibility to address the foreign country’s embassy offices, and get some information and maps about the wanted sites there. You may also enter the tourist offices where you want to visit, email them, and get free information brochures about the locations. Another way of getting additional information is by talking to friends that have already been in those places.
Make a table and write in it: the destinations you want to visit, the date and day of the week, the transportation means if you use them, the accommodations, what you do each day, the organized tours or car rental, the cities, hotels and their level, and some description of the sites and places you visit.
The trip’s offer that you get is only a recommendation, and it’s fully adjustable due to variable situations. Therefore, feed the trip’s program with secondary destinations so you won’t stuck and start searching other places and sites when you’re there.
You need to coordinate the different takeoffs and landings dates with your trip’s plan. It’s recommended to add the flight’s number, in which terminal the takeoff and the landing is, the time of the takeoff and the landing, and the waiting time between flights. Pay attention to the date of the flight.
After you have formulated the plan for the trip, you may forward it to your friends and forum’s websites for consulting. This is very acceptable, and you could get ideas that you haven’t even thought about.
During your plan, please consider the budget issue, which is an important and vital component to the trip. You should think about the profitability about renting a car: small car or a big one, gasoline car or a diesel one (each one with a different price), rent a car for a week or less (not once renting a car for a period of over a week is worth better renting one for 5-6 days). In extreme conditions, you can check the possibility of purchasing a car and selling it at the end of the trip.
Food and its accessories: the cost of a personal food pack against a family one.
Accommodation: the price of a hotel against a B&B.
Insurance: health insurance, luggage insurance, car insurance.
You need to remember that the credit card only gives you partial insurance, and that you should compare the different insurance specifications. Check the possibility to make market survey between several agents, formulate the desirable trip with the dates and locations, and give the agents the franchise system in order to get prices offers for your plan.
Trip’s budget components: fuel, parking, toll roads, vehicle fines, entrance prices to the different sites (museums, amusement parks, theaters, shows, etc – check if it’s possible to purchase a combined ticket to several sites in town), accommodation, daily budget (shopping, self cooking, restaurants), money for personal shopping
Choosing your trip’s destination is a function of personal preferences. Make a list ahead with places and destinations you would like to visit, and rate the primary and secondary locations, in case the primary site will be closed or if you have free time. Plan the route of your arrival. Don’t compromise on the places, only the arrival ways.
It’s recommended to buy a map with a good scale (for countries -1:150,000 , for cities – 1:15,000) which contains all of the sites, locations and areas you want to visit. Pay attention to the last date the map got updated. It’s very important to check that main and sideway road numbers are noted, and learn the map’s legend.
Trip’s duration and date
The trip’s duration is a function of its destination. On the one half the time is a personal consideration of each, but on the other half the ticket’s price is no different if you travel for one day or more, so you would better plan the trip for a week minimum.
The minimal traveling time to Australia and New-Zealand is about 4 weeks, to the United States and the Far East is about 3 weeks, and to Europe is about 2 weeks. Within this time you can catch many locations, and not feel that you get tired from it.
We advocate you to have enough time for calendar flexibility, so you can enjoy nice locations and sites that are not written in the books you have read.
For travelers that are limited by the date of the trip’s takeoff, it’s better to determine the date of the trip according to your job. For example, the second half of May or September is a good date for teachers to travel, since the weather is good and there are not many tourists.
There are different types of trips: star, circle or line trip. The type of the trip will be determined by your personal need, the flight’s price, the car, accommodation, and by the participants in the trip. If you are traveling with adults or children, it’s better to travel in the star type, where you sleep at the same place for the entire trip, it saves searching for accommodations, packing and unpacking luggage every time, and allows you to obtain and keep food in the room, do laundry, rest, and to keep walk till the late hours of the day. On the other hand, when you travel in a circle or a link type, you save time on traveling back and forth, fuel, and allows to reach more distant places.
When you plan your daily route, you need to consider to not load too much on the first day of the trip. Everything depends on the time of the landing and the time you get your rented car, but just in case, it’s better to get to your destination in that day and walk near it, learn and meet the environment, and by so allowing yourself to get some rest from the flight and all the preparation.
Even on the last day of your trip, you shouldn’t make long routes, but again, it all depends on the time of the takeoff. You need to get back to the airport several hours earlier, according to the distance from your whereabouts, to avoid unpleasantness being late for the flight due to unexpected problems, just as traffic.
At the beginning of the trip, start with the most important and significant sites in the area. At the other days, it’s best to balance the trip in terms of content, traveling times, entertainment sites, to diversify and not to return the same subject every day.
It’s worthwhile to check for dates of events, rest, and festivals in your area. Try avoiding traveling in especially popular sites during the local holidays and student’s vacations, since most of the locals go out to these locations in the masses, the roads are jammed, the hotels are full and expensive, and the tourist sites are bombed.
Try to find out if there are integrated or discounts tickets to where you’re going. In each site you need to ask if you could buy integrated, family, students, retired tickets or organization’s tickets owners just as AAA.
Accommodation is a very important element in the success of the trip, both in terms of rest, and in terms of optimal utilization of the duration of the trip. You need to take in account that the date of the trip won’t be in the vacation season, won’t be in a very popular location, and won’t it be in a period when festivals or conferences take place in the area, because the prices are enormously expensive and vacancy could become a problem. If everything is fine, there is no problem in finding somewhere to rest by the end of the day.
Today, in the internet era, it’s very recommended to reserve a place ahead by email. It doesn’t require or need any payment in advance in most places (just don’t forget to inform the cancelation, in case you change your mind), so you could remail calm and allow yourself to walk until late evening, without the fear of not finding accommodation (in the site of every city you can find a section about it).
There are those who advocate in reserving accommodation during the trip, and there are those who advocate the opposite. Each one has it’s own advantage and disadvantages. It’s best to combine both of them: the first 2-3 days and the last one to reserve in advance, and the other nights to reserve during the trip. This methos is good for those who want to adjust and be properly prepared for the return without being tired. Searching for accommodation needs to be done during daylight, so you need to consider sunset’s hour.
If you choose the star trip, you need to select centered destinations to rest in a few nights in a row, and from there perform daily travels, and by so save days moving from one hotel to another. You need to take in account that it’s a waste of fuel, but if you plan it right, you can achieve optimal that will justify this accommodation. When there isn’t a car, it’s recommended to live in the center of the city, in the vicinity of public transportation.
Renting a car is desirable for those who travel not in a central city. If you are staying in such city, it’s preferable to reserve a hotel close to the city’s center, and walk around. Driving a rented car in central city is not so easy and makes the trip much more expensive, not mentioning the parking problem. In these cases you should use public transportation.
If you plan to visit a central city and to continue visiting in the remote area, you should rent a car only at the day you leave the city ( pay attention to the hour you got the car, because you will mostly be forced to return it at the same hour). Learn and get to know the means of transportation and schedules available where you visit: air and sea ports, trains, car rental agencies and ferries, also find out if they could bring you to your exact destination.
Remember that every plan can be changed. Even if you made a specific plan for each day, sometimes you can’t execute it precisely for all kinds of reasons. At the end of the day, go back and check what you have done and what’s left, and plan the next day according to it. The average traveling distance for the independent traveler, without children, is about 250-300 kilometers per day.
You can leave the shopping subject to the end of the trip, considering weekdays. It’s shame to carry heavy stuff during the entire trip, but if you see something you really want to buy, buy it, because you can’t be sure you will ever see anything like it in other places during the trip.
Packaging and equipment
For those who travel abroad a lot, it’s worth buying a good quality luggage, probably rigid (it keeps its content from braking or frowning), with a removable carrying handle good wheels which saves the need for looking after luggage carts. The luggage color should be prominent, or rather wrap it with a colorful belt you can buy at every traveling equipment store. It helps identify the luggage easily when it moves on the moving conveyer.
It’s always good to take an extra luggage, for storing the shopping when you run out of space in your own personal luggage. Don’t forget to take a set of clothes, underwear, toiletries, regular medication any other important things in your handbag, the one that goes with you to the plane, in case the big luggage won’t reach its destination safely.
The handbag and luggage are limited in weight and size. Make sure the details are accurate according to the traveling agencies and the ticket since they vary from company to company. You need to remember that airlines are very careful about the content of your handbag, and doesn’t allow sharp objects such as penknife, scissors, or bottle opener in the plane.
You should obtain a small handbag with padded and comfort straps for daily carrying, where you can hold some money, maps, information pages about the location, basic first aid kit, second aid kit, digital camera, batteries and water.
More important issues needed paying attention
You need to check for problems or delays before you leave the country (execution, etc), and fix them as soon as possible. Prepare every passenger’s visa to the countries that demand it in advance, make car, flights, hotels and sites tickets reservations only after you get vista confirmation. In case your vista won’t get confirmation, any cancellation by each of the above factors will drag fines.
Students need to have their valid student’s certificates.
Electricity: you need to remember that the sockets or voltage aboard are not always compatible with the Israeli standards, and therefore, we recommend those who plan to take electric products with them (cellular phone charger, electric spoon, etc), check which kind of sockets and voltage those countries use and buy compatible ones.