How to Plan a Trip - How to Plan a Vacation to Hawaii - Sunny 16

How to Plan a Trip: Vacation Planning, Holiday Trips & Road Trips

As big and beautiful as the world is, it can feel like there are countless destinations you could go to. And there are! Whether you’re after wildlife, art, or architecture, there’s something out there for everyone. 

But, that can also be overwhelming. Even if you have a rough idea on where you want to go and what you want to do, where do you start?

Luckily, this article will tell you everything you need to know about how to plan a trip.

Let's dive in!

How to Plan a Trip Basics: How to Plan a Beginner Trip?

There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to the question of “how to plan a trip”. Knowing where you want to go is just scratching the surface. 

Here are some things to consider:

  • Is your trip foreign or domestic?
  • Will you drive or take a plane?
  • How long will your tip be?

And, once you can answer those questions, you also need to think about these factors:

  • Food. Is this a bring your own food kind of trip? Or are you going to rely heavily on restaurants?
  • Budget. There’s a big difference between a 3 day trip to a different state and a 2 week trip to Italy. Research the average cost of your trip. 
  • Transportation. Pretty self-explanatory for road trips. However, if you fly somewhere it’s important to know if that area has public transport, or if it relies on cars.
  • Hotels or other sleeping arrangements. Tents are cheap, but 4-star hotels can be nice too. Consider the location, and your budget. 
  • Travel partners. Having a partner, kids or Dogs complicates your trip. Always consider their needs when planning too.
  • Insurance. The most “fun” part of trips. If you’re worried about accidents, you can invest in things like rental insurance. 
  • Packing. You won’t even need to dread this part if you plan ahead and make a packing list!

What is the best way to plan a vacation?

How to Plan a Trip - Landscape Photography

We know that might sound like a lot, so here’s a big tip for how to plan a trip: write things down!

Planning a trip is all about research, and the only way you’re going to keep track of all that research is by writing everything down.

Seriously, even if it seems like a hassle, you’ll be amazed by how useful this is!

How do I write a trip plan?

So, you know you have to write everything down, but how do you make a good “how to plan a trip” document? 

Well, regardless of whether you're using a journal or Google Docs, we've got you covered. 

Here's what you should include:

  • Trip Itinerary. This is an overview of everything you need. Think about travel dates, flight info, destinations you’ll be going to. 
  • Packing List. Not only do you need to know what you need to bring, but you also need to know what you’re going to pack it in. If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend The Sunny 16 Voyager camera backpack. It’s a midsize bag, making it a great travel bag. Apart from that, make lists! Things to consider for your list are essentials, clothing, bathroom supplies, work gear, and tech.
  • Scheduling. This is especially important if you have limited time on your trip, or if you’re after premium activities. Make a time or calendar schedule of all the restaurants, sights and activities you want to do. 
  • Memory Log. A favorite of anyone who loves pictures or owns a photography business, this section of planning a trip is all about making sure you have memories. Leave some space to write down your experiences, or list things you want pictures of. 

    How to Properly Plan a Trip

    How to Plan a Trip - How to Plan a Trip to Hawaii

    If you want tips on specific trip types, we’ve got you covered. Here are our detailed tips:

    How do I plan a Cheap Trip?

    Your mind says yes, but your wallet screams no. We’ve all been there.

    Fortunately, planning a cheap trip doesn’t have to be a drag. Here are our tips:

    • When you Google the cheapest hotels, make sure you read the fine print. Just because one has the “lowest price” doesn’t mean it won’t have extra fees. You might actually find that a slightly more expensive hotel is cheaper. 
    • Hotels with free breakfast are a plus! You’d be surprised how much food cost you can save when planning a vacation.
    • Check out hostels, or staying with a family if you want to save even more money
    • Try buying a flight 54 days before your flight. Statistically, it’ll be the cheapest. Also, most airlines put their sales up on Tuesdays, and then take them down on Thursday.
    • Package Vacations can have good deals

    How to plan a Road Trip

    How to Plan a Trip - How to Plan a Road Trip

    Road trips are a fun and easy way to get around some of the “how to plan a trip” hassle. However, don’t go out without considering these tips:

    • Consider a Rental Car. if your car feels too small or unreliable, you’d be surprised by how affordable some rental cars are.
    • Consider Gas Prices. While not taking a flight can save you money, you still need to factor gas into your expenses
    • Pack Light. Only bring what you need to save space in the car. 
      • Sleeping Arrangements. Road trip camping can be fun, but you should still reserve a camping spot. If you plan on using hotels, carefully fit them into your schedule. 
      • Scheduling. Consider how much time you want to spend on the road, where you want to go, and what you want to see. Then, schedule all this out so you don’t miss anything or drive way longer than you want to. 

      How to Plan a Trip to Disney World

      Otherwise known as the happiest place on earth, Disney is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.

      However, it can hit your wallet hard.

      With that in mind, here’s how to survive your trip to Disney World:

      • Go in the Off Season. Crowds are one of the worst parts of Disney World. But, if you go between January and March, it will likely be less crowded. 
      • Book in Well in Advance for Events. While events like the International Food and Wine Festival are sure to be a hit, they’re also sure to be crowded. If you want to experience Disney’s special events, we recommend booking far in advance. 
      • Talk to Your Kids. Unless you’re an adult Disney World fan (no shame), we recommend talking to your kids about what they want from this trip. Giving them the magical experience they dream off can impact what kind of park passes you need to buy.
      • Consider the Different Park Passes. There are 4 parks, and different tickets can give you different access and perks. Consider what you need and if you can save some money by cutting out a park or two.
      • Consider Your Hotel Options. Research hotels in and out of the park. Staying in Disney hotels does have its perks, but they can be expensive. It’s important to look at the cost of each hotel, potential deals, and the cost of transportation if you want to stay outside parks.
      • Always Make Reservations. Getting into the most popular Disney restaurants can be pretty cutthroat. Always make reservations before you even leave for your trip so you can get in.
      • Save, Save, Save. Most people recommend heading to Disney with at least $5,000 in your pocket. That’s pretty considerable. 

      How to Plan a Trip to Hawaii

      Hawaii is a truly beautiful place with 137 islands total! However, there are a few DOs and DON’Ts you should know before you plan your trip.


      • Save Beforehand. It’s no secret that Hawaii can be expensive. Many families can spend up to $300 per day! With that in mind, it’s a good idea to save up before you even plan your trip. You can also save money by going in the off season. 
      • See Whales in the Winter. With Hawaii’s tame climate, there’s no reason not to visit in the winter. However, one big plus is that you’ll be able to see humpback whales between January and March.  
      • Camping is an Option. If hotels and condos seem way out of your reach, you can always camp. What’s not to love about a tropical camping getaway?
      • Rent a Car. Despite the small size of the islands, a car is actually the most efficient and reliable way to get around. Don’t make the mistake of not getting one!


      • Try to Visit Too Many Islands. As eager as you might be to see everything Hawaii has to offer, this will just ruin your trip. Instead of enjoying what’s around you, you’ll spend your whole trip travelling! 
      • Visit During Holidays. Nothing like a swarm of people to ruin that lovely Insta post. Unless this is the only time you can go, we recommend avoiding holidays. 

      How to Plan a Trip Recap

      How to Plan a trip - How to Become a Travel Photographer

      Whether you are planning a trip to Disney World, or planning a trip to Hawaii , knowing what to prepare for it is everything. Planning a trip is all about taking into account your budget, destination, and travel goals. Once you know these, you can effectively create a packing list.

      When in doubt, Google Docs or a journal will be your best friend. Write down your trip itinerary, and make a schedule outline. One you do this, you’ll never miss your favorite sights, restaurants, hotels and more.

      Finally, be sure to communicate. If other people are going on this trip with you, don’t be afraid to involve them in the process (even if they’re kids)!

      Up Next: Best Carry-on Backpacks for Travel

      Now that you know some expert tips for “how to plan a trip”, you’ll be happy to know that you can make packing a little bit easier. Whether you’re going on a road trip or preparing your Disney adventure, you’re going to need a travel backpack

      And, if you have a flight in store, you’ll want to know what kind of bags you can bring with you. 

      Check out our article on the best carry-on backpacks for travel to learn more!

      Up Next: Best Carry-on Backpacks for Travel →

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