The Ten Stages of Travel Planning : How to Plan the Perfect Trip

Ten Stages of Travel Planning

Travel Planning is not for everyone, and not planning your trip doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be amazing. However, if you, like me, like to have things planned out, then you might find this post relatable and/or helpful. I detail the various stages of travel planning, with useful tools and tips to help you go along the way.

Stage 1 : Getting Travel Inspiration from everywhere

Most of my travel inspiration comes from Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Conde Nast Traveler magazine, Other Blogs, books, the Internet, TV shows, Chrome cast default pictures, amazing restaurants and pretty much everything in life!

Stage 2 : Creating wistful Travel Dream Boards on Pinterest

Yes we’ve all been there, and even if you haven’t, you will after you read my Pinterest for Travel Planning post!

Stage 3 : Booking flights (using Google Flights) after getting a tempting email from Scott’s Cheap Flights

Disclaimer : Cautionary word if you subscribe to Scott’s Cheap Flight’s email, wanderlust can get very addictive!

Stage 4 : Figuring out visas if you have an unfortunate passport (like my Indian one)

Start doing this as soon as you book flights, because visas can take forever to get during peak seasons. You don’t want to cancel your plans just because you delayed getting a visa.

Tip : If you book your flights in the US, you usually have 24 hours to cancel for a full refund. Take advantage of this time to look up visa requirements and how long it will take to get a visa.

Stage 5 : Scrounging up Vacation or the premise of one

Most American companies only offer three weeks (that’s 15 days) of vacation a year, unless you’ve shown your undying loyalty to them by being there five or more years. Then you might get 20 whole days of vacation a year!

Stage 6 : Researching the perfect accommodation 

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that it’s not important where you sleep as long as you are at the destination you want to be. Convenience, safety and comfort are much more important than you think, so choose wisely.

Stage 7 : Asking for recommendations for the destination from your FB friends (aka humble bragging about your upcoming trip)

These recommendations can honestly be much more useful than Trip Advisor, because your friends are (probably) more like you and enjoy similar things. Trust their word over a random person’s on Trip Advisor or similar review sites.

Stage 8 : Collecting all the information you have about what to see, where to eat etc. on Google My Maps, downloading offline maps, and creating a Google folder with all your travel documents

Stage 9 : Creating a detailed (here the extent of detail truly depends on the trip, number of people and your own personality) itinerary on a shared Google Sheet.

I like to plan out roughly what I want to achieve each day, and at least list my MUST-DOs. That way, I don’t come home disappointed, but leave enough time for the real joys in traveling – serendipitous meetings and chance discoveries.

Stage 10 : Frantically making a list of what you need to pack for your trip that’s coming up in less than 24 hours.

I always make a list – it is definitely helps me from forgetting things I would otherwise be bound to forget, like my toothbrush or my phone charger.

Leave a comment if you’d like help with packing lists? I feel like there are so many packing tips articles and videos out there, that I don’t know if I’d really add much value. But if you want to see my lists, I’ll definitely share them!

And viola! Your bags are packed, your plans are laid and you are ready for your trip! At this exciting moment, please double check that you have your passport (or an ID for travel within the country), a confirmation number for your flights and screen shots of your hotel booking.

Now, off you go! Happy Travels!

How to Plan the Perfect Trip from Start to Finish




  1. Anja
    August 27, 2018 / 3:51 am

    I’m legging sooo much behind with your posts- being summer and all! 😀 Ok NOW I get it how you got to see and experience so much in Japan- meticulous planning! For years now I’m not even trying to full myself into thinking that where I sleep is of no importance, actually it is pretty important to me. This year in Japan for example, we stayed with such a nice family where the grandpa (Jiji <3) took care of us- he drove us around his prefecture, made tea in the morning and brought me animal shaped cupcakes for my birthday. Also his three grandchildren sang Happy Birthday to me. How could this be not important?? Also, I'm spending this afternoon browsing through your Travel Dream Boards! 😀

    • Tanmaya Godbole
      August 28, 2018 / 4:00 am

      Aww yes I remember your stay in Japan through your instagram stories!! That was so sweet 🙂 Made me miss it even more hehe. I completely agree that it is important, I feel like I immediately don’t like certain places (ex : Munich) where I didn’t stay in very nice places.
      Hope you liked the travel dream boards and planned many fun fall travels! Can’t wait to meet up in Croatia next year!

  2. Spencer Jordan
    February 12, 2020 / 12:24 pm

    I need to check with my own company, but it’s great that you reminded me that most people only get around 2 weeks of vacation time a year. My partner and I are thinking about taking a business trip to Houston soon, then staying there for a few days to relax. I’ll pass this idea over to her so that we can start planning things out.

  3. rachel frampton
    April 28, 2020 / 10:18 am

    I’ve been planning to go on a vacation with my mom in Utah, that’s why we’re currently looking for a lodging place. I agree with you that it’ll be great to come up with a detailed itinerary plan. I’ll also keep in mind to make a list of all the things that we have to pack.

    • Tanmaya Godbole
      May 20, 2020 / 4:37 pm

      Hope you have a great vacation!!

  4. May 18, 2020 / 8:52 am

    Thanks for this great article. I hope we will find out how to beat this virus and we will be able to travel again.

    • Tanmaya Godbole
      May 20, 2020 / 4:34 pm

      Glad it was helpful! Yes, cannot wait till the world is safe from this virus and we can travel again 🙂

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