As we are on our way to our big South-East-Asia trip this year, I am remembering how this trip came to be. This winter, when both of us were struggling with severe wanderlust and a bit of a winter-depression, we started to think about our next big trip and figured we would head to south-east Asia.
What started as a plan to visit one or two Islands in Indonesia, quickly turned into a massive plan to overland – well most of the way anyway – from Bangkok to Lombok. This idea having lodged itself into our brains, we made sure to bring this plan to fruition. As many people will know, planning a big trip is not always easy. So, here in 11 steps, I will line out my latest process.
Disclaimer: if you follow this exact plan and your trip doesn’t turn out the way you want it, that is not my responsibility. I am just here for the inspiration and minor directions!
Decide that this time, you will do things differently. No more Miss Control Freak, no more planning every single detail and no more ending up stuck in places you don’t like simply because you’ve booked them in advance.
No, this time, you will just book your flights and nothing else so you can enjoy wherever serendipity ends op taking you.
Feel really really happy with your decision to embrace the full-on adventure. Remember to stick with it no matter what. If you waiver just a little, you know you will end up planning everything.
Feel maybe just a little bit less happy about your austere decision. After all, a teeny-tiny bit of pre-trip-planning can be a wonderful cure for wanderlust feelings during the winter.
Also, you love books. All books. But you’re currently craving those beautiful thick blue books with amazing pictures on the front detailing everything you want to know about a country – minus a few details that are indescribable and including a lot of thing you don’t need to know like where to eat and sleep.
You could just read those books and then have a rough idea of the country.
But no! YOU SHALL NOT WAIVER!
Secretly look up your preferred Lonely Planet books – insert any other you may wish. Also, maybe look on Tripadvisor just once – twice at the most.
Decide that this is not the way to go for you. You NEED the pre-trip planning. How on earth are you supposed to have any fun before your trip if you cannot picture the places you’ll go and the foods that you’ll eat and the sights you will see.
How on earth are you to feel like yourself if you have no way of asking how much something costs or where to find the best food in the language of the country you are visiting. And what if you end up missing some important detail like a visa-requirement or worse a must-see/avoid?
In order to be a little bit surprised still – and not to go insane over your boyfriends manner of finding information online – decide you will each plan two of the four weeks of your trip. Try not to obsess over what the other is planning
Figure out everything you want to see and all the places you want to visit. Also, make a list of handy phrases your screensaver and background screen – someone read somewhere that this will help your language skills.
Stare dismally at the list of everything because you realise there is just no way you can cram all of this in two weeks – let alone enjoy yourself while doing it. Also, learning a new language is hard!
Prioritise! Figure out what you want out of your holiday and chose the sights, places, optional activities etc. according to whatever it is you LOVE TO DO.
Book all the accommodation, transport and activities you need to book in advance. Decide on things you probably want to do. Make a list of what you want to pack. Put everything in an overview on Excel. Tweak all the lists for weeks.
Pack your bags two days in advance because you’ve managed to plan everything so full you have no other time to pack before you leave. Then check check, double check, maybe check once more and then just LEAVE!
Have fun out there!