Why You Should Plan Ahead for Your Next Trip

Alix M Campbell

Senior Contributor

As you’re slowly getting more familiar with the workings of an airport again, you might still feel a little rusty in terms of travelling. The key thing is to give yourself enough time to prepare for your trip(s) of the year! Planning ahead means that you can stretch the joys of anticipation and minimise your stress levels because you got really organised. Well done, you!

Scoop up those early bird discounts

When you give yourself enough time to plan your trip, you can often take advantage of early bird discounts. Those are typically offered for various types of accommodation, flights, and other holiday packages to reward guests who are happy to lock in their stay instead of leaving their options open until the trip date draws closer.

If you did all your research well in time and you landed on a certain flight, hotel or holiday package, nothing holds you back from locking it in. Even better if you get a discount for nothing other than booking early. This way, you’ll have one more thing ticked off your list you don’t have to worry about any longer.

Note: Special rates like early bird discounts are often non-refundable. Be sure to double-check your dates and everything that’s included in your booking before committing to it.

Give yourself time to look forward to your trip

Do you often have the feeling that your holiday comes around quickly, you blink twice and then it’s already history? It all happens so fast; it almost feels like a dream.

This feeling often arises when you didn’t give yourself enough time between planning your trip and embarking on your holiday. If there’s no anticipation period, your holiday experience can feel like a whirlwind leaving you unsatisfied and already craving your next getaway.

Anticipation is a powerful positive emotion that can help us live happier lives. US researchers Van Boven and Ashworth think that anticipating events shouldn’t be underestimated. “Our research suggests that the enjoyment people glean from anticipation might also be an important component of life satisfaction.”

Seems like this is an easy-to-implement way to create some joyful moments in your life.

Enough time to put your dream itinerary together

Although many people work best on a tight deadline, there’s a point to be made about giving yourself enough time to properly work on something, like an itinerary for your upcoming holiday.

You can create an extensive must-see and to-do list and really dig into it, research all places you want to visit including museums, galleries, shops, restaurants, bars, and sights. After writing it all down, you can slowly bring it down to a more manageable list and eventually create a nice itinerary for your getaway.

You can ask for recommendations and tips from friends, colleagues or relatives who have visited a certain place already, and you can incorporate them into your holiday agenda. Doing this, you might feel that you know your destination a little already, on paper.

With your increased knowledge of the destination, your anticipation to actually visit the place in person will grow, and this little tingle of excitement will make itself known every time you look at your itinerary to tweak and streamline it further.

More tips…

When you’re rushing into a trip, you often end up a) just visiting the most famous and often most crowded sights or b) not visiting anything special because you didn’t have time to do any research. Putting together a proper itinerary ahead of time means you can incorporate those must-see sights and places.

What you shouldn’t do is limit yourself to these. Plan in some not-so-famous sights and seek out unique experiences for that specific location. Venture off the beaten path, visit local businesses and stay in a more residential neighbourhood instead of the touristy centre.

Having an itinerary planned out for your holiday is great, but don’t overload it. Avoid scheduling something to see and do 24/7. Balance out your activities with enough free time to enjoy some spontaneous adventures here and there. If you go with your own flow, you might stumble upon something you’d never have experienced otherwise.

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