Hi beautiful friends!
Since having posted over 50 travel vlogs on my YouTube channel now (wow!), sharing my adventures around the world with you, one of the most commonly asked questions I receive about my travels is how I plan my trips, from itinerary to booking flights, accommodation, finding plant-based places to eat, organising transport, budgeting, and more. In this blog post, I’m going to answer them all for you in detail here, and I truly hope that you find it helpful in planning your own trips too 🙂
How do you decide where to go?
No matter what kind of decisions I make in life, I always tune in to and listen to my heart. We have an intuition for a reason, and through listening to my inner wisdom, at certain phases of my life I am innately attracted to visiting a particular place, and I know it is part of my soul calling. I don’t question it, and simply follow this calling, which I know may sound like a deep answer but it’s genuinely how I decide where to go 🙂
How do you decide how long to go for?
This is mostly based on intuition again, but also the timing of this trip, climate, how many places I want to visit in this place and budget. To be completely honest, while I don’t believe in regret, almost after all of my trips I hoped to have stayed longer, and that is now something I consider when planning. On my next travels, I will definitely have a plan of roughly how long I want to stay, but be open to changing my plans to stay longer/shorter depending on how much I enjoy the place. I also realised that for some reason, I also held this story in my subconscious mind that I could only travel for 1-2 weeks, but now that I am aware, I have been able to change this limiting belief to an unlimited one, which is “I can travel for as long as I feel like”, so that I am not rushed and burnt out.
How do you overall plan your trips?
My ultimate answer is: decide what kind of traveller you are.
This is one of many reasons why doing the inner work and getting to know yourself better can make life easier in all areas 🙂
For example, I am crystal clear on the type of travel I prefer, so I take it all into consideration when planning and allows me to travel while feeling my best, being able to stay within budget and have an amazing time.
So, some questions you can ask yourself are:
- Do you like going slow, travelling at a fast pace, or maybe a bit of both?
- Do you prefer backpacking or bringing a suitcase or don’t mind both?
- Do you like having packed days and seeing lots of different places at once?
- Do you prefer spreading out your trips and having some down-time in between?
- Do you mostly enjoy travelling solo, going with a friend or in big groups?
- At this point in time, what would be your daily budget to live within your means?
- What would you be really happy to spend a lot on?
- Which areas can you reduce my costs on?
- Do you like having a really local experience?
- Do you like luxury travel, staying in 5-star accommodation?
- Do you mind sharing rooms and bathrooms or prefer to have your own?
- Do you like lots of outdoor activities, city exploring, or a bit of both?
- Do you mind taking public transport and walking a lot?
- What is your current level of fitness?
- What kind of convenience do you prefer having?
Here is an example of the type of traveller that I am:
- I love visiting cultural places like temples and markets.
- I love being surrounded by nature, sightseeing and visiting scenic points.
- I love wearing nice dresses when I sight see but also don’t mind going on hikes and doing more intense physical activity.
- I prefer staying in accommodation where I get my own room, a private bathroom, access to wifi, a working desk, and is centrally located near public transport, main roads, in a safe area and near sightseeing places.
- I like walking around a lot and exploring by foot.
- I like solo travel but also don’t mind travelling with like-minded friends and family.
- I would rather be safe, so I am happy to invest more on whatever I need to, such as reliable transport and accommodation.
- I prefer not to stay in hostels.
- I love taking my time at places and not being rushed.
- I love the freedom of planning where I want to go and being spontaneous at times.
- I love interacting with the locals as much as possible and immersing myself into local culture.
- I am not big or keen on shopping.
- I mostly enjoying exploring during the day and staying in at night.
- I prefer warm climates over cool ones…definitely :’)
- I love tropical places with lots of fresh fruit available.
- I love trying new plant-based restaurants and dishes.
- I am flexible and open to making changes last-minute.
- I love having full days of sight-seeing and travelling around, but also need alone and down-time every few days without going out too much.
- I always prefer bringing a suitcase over backpacking.
- I like taking day tours to places that may be a bit tricky to reach by myself with no one with me.
The key is also to be unapologetic about how you like to travel. If you don’t like to stay in hostels for example, then you don’t have to. If you love luxury travel, that’s wonderful too! Don’t ever feel ashamed about being you, your travel choices don’t hurt anyone and as long as you are happy, that’s what matters. I’m sure that we all love ‘luxury’ in our lives, however you define that (which is unique to all of us), and the truth is you can manifest anything. Yes, you can somehow manifest a free trip, accommodation deals, wonderful experiences and more, all while living below your means. I won’t go into the law of attraction in detail in this post, but when you believe something without a shadow of a doubt, declare it yours, act as if it’s already done and detach from the outcome, miracles happen. I have humbly manifested so many incredible travel deals, accommodation and experiences*, which I am so grateful for, and it really came down to getting crystal clear on what I want, trust, surrender, and being in alignment with my higher self 🙂
* Some examples include cheap flights, discounted paid activities, amazing accommodation with kind hosts, help from people, incredible weather, and in general all of my trips have been conscious manifestations that I truly am thankful for and somehow co-created with Source.
What do you need to prepare before a trip?
Before you leave on a trip, no matter how long, there are always some important things to prepare to make your journey as graceful, easy and smooth as possible. Here are my essential preparations:
- Checking that my passport is valid
- Photocopying passport
- Printing out necessary documents such as flight tickets, booked accommodation
- Travel insurance
- Necessary visas
- Contacting my bank to advise of my card being used in the places I will be visiting
- Backup laptop and files onto hard drives
- Necessary immunisations
- Brief budget plan
- Sending itinerary to family
As for exchanging money, I generally do that at the airport when I arrived at my destination (it always depends on exchange rates but I’ve found that other countries provide better rates than Australia).
How do you decide what to pack?
It generally depends on the purpose of my trip, how long I am going for, and of course the climate. If it’s a hot and humid climate, then I’ll bring light clothes, for example. There are also some staple clothing items that I bring everywhere regardless of weather, such as socks, underwear, bras, workout clothes, a light jacket, leggings, towel, and scarf. My other non-clothing essentials include cameras, chargers, laptop, toiletries, first-aid kit, journal, pens, wallet, etc. I will write up a checklist for you, and update this post once I have posted it. Also, I usually bring with me a suitcase for check-in luggage, backpack and a small carry on.
Okay, going to be fully transparent here…admittedly I am still an over-packer, which I am improving on, as I tend bring way more than I really need :’) A big tip that helped with my travels to Japan and Poland was bringing a small suitcase, which made sure I didn’t bring anything unnecessary, and this trip also taught me that we really don’t need that much. I rarely buy clothes when I travel anymore, but it is also something I consider. For example, if I would like a new dress, I ask myself before packing, “can I get that dress where I am going?”. Before I pack, I also create a detailed list of everything I need to bring to make sure I don’t forget the important items. See this list here.
Where do you book your flights and how far in advance do you book them?
I usually book my flights using skyscanner.com. I’ve tried quite a few different sites and this one seems to have the best prices so far. Through this website you are given options of which site to directly book your flights through and when possible, I will book it through bestjet or the actual airline.
As for how far in advance, it really depends once again 🙂 Generally it’s at least a month beforehand, and in the past I have always booked return tickets, but for my upcoming travels I booked one-ways for the first time and will book the other flights as I go.
Since I always prioritise my wellness as best as I can, I also prefer to fly during the day and arrive in the afternoon when possible. This is so that it’s not completely dark when I arrive (I tend to feel safer when there is light, especially in a foreign place), and that way I can have a nice evening rest before beginning to explore the next day too. That’s just a personal preference, so I also recommend booking flight times according to what your preferences are.
Tip: When you book flights, make sure you read through all of the terms, as budget airlines may not provide check-in luggage unless you pay extra, for example. Also, prices tend to fluctuate depending on day of the week and when you book, so play around with skyscanner 🙂
Where do you book your accommodation and how do you decide where to stay?
Most of the time I will use airbnb since it is easy, convenient, and allows me to have a more local experience which is what I like. If you haven’t yet joined airbnb, you can use this affiliate link to receive a great bonus of $55 AUD off a home booking and $21 off an experience. Sometimes I will also use booking.com if I don’t find a place that resonates with me on airbnb.
For where to stay, I search up on Google “areas to stay in … “, and there are many blogs out there that thoroughly describe the general areas of a city and who it may suit. I often stay in areas that are close or even walking distance to major sightseeing places, have easy access to public transport, aren’t “sketchy”, and have restaurants and convenience stores nearby. As for the accommodation itself, I always look for a private bedroom (if a shared apartment), private bathroom, access to wifi, a kettle, and a desk. Not every place I book ticks all the boxes, and that’s okay too, sometimes something has to give and I simply make the most of it, still enjoying my stay 🙂
How do you find such nice accommodation and how much do you invest?
“Nice” is really relative, but I do like to find places that are comfortable, clean, and convenient 🙂 This is the type of traveller that I am, and because environment, space, getting enough sleep, quietness and feeling comfortable in a place are incredibly important for me and my energy, I don’t mind investing more money than originally planned on accommodation. As mentioned above, when looking for places to stay in, always take into consideration your preferred style of travel, budget, and the purpose of your visit. I often browse around airbnb and booking.com for a while, read through the reviews, look at photos, and always go with my heart. The amount I spend varies with every place, but anywhere between $40-60 AUD per night is great for me.
How do you make a budget?
I am so incredibly grateful that travel has now become a part of my lifestyle and career, where I get to work from anywhere in the world and create a living out of it, but of course it still means that I need to manage money and ensure that I’m living below my means. Whether I’m travelling or not, I always keep a budget sheet in Excel and track all of my income and investments/expenses, so I know exactly where the money I use comes from and goes, how much is in my bank account, and what I can use to invest in travelling. The key is to just make sure I live below my means, meaning I use less than I earn 🙂 It doesn’t mean I sometimes don’t go all out on experiences and food, but it always balances out.
Here are some general things I consider when making my budget for travel:
- Cost per night for accommodation
- What I love doing the most and am willing to invest more in (e.g. trying amazing vegan food and restaurants)
- What I am willing to sacrifice and isn’t necessary for me to enjoy my trip (e.g. tours, business class seats, etc.)
- Emergency money
I generally prefer to use cash when I travel too- not only does it make me feel more abundant, but it also makes me more attentive to what I use it on. Also, I like to keep track of my daily expenses and general cost per day when I visit a place. When it comes to travel, I know that ‘money’ can be a big topic, but I’d love to encourage you to talk more openly about it, because when you treat money as a friend, it will be attracted to you. Everything is energy, and I don’t ever worry about money as it repels it from entering into your life. I choose to always focus on how grateful I am to even be able to have this travelling experience, and to have fun 🙂 When I ‘spend’ money, I don’t see it as gone forever, I see it as an investment that will create more abundance to even more people in the world, and that there’s always more where it came from. I trust in myself to be responsible, trust in the infinite supply of the universe, and treat money from a place of love as I would to a best-friend.
How do you organise and plan using transport in new places?
Firstly, before visiting a new place I always search “how to get around in ….”. There are so many incredibly informative travel blogs, websites and articles out there, which is where I do my research from. If a city has a MRT/subway/train system, I generally will use that, otherwise some local public transport, taxi, or I can always use my legs too :). As for arriving from and returning to the airport, some developed cities conveniently have a linked train system (such as Seoul, Tokyo, Taipei, etc.), and I will use that, otherwise call a taxi or sometimes even book a car transfer through getyourguide.com or klook.com. I say don’t be afraid to use local transport like buses, Google Maps is always handy for that, but if you can’t access it for some reason or it’s not detailed enough for where you are visiting, there are always kind people who will help. It’s definitely important to be aware of your safety and not just hop in any car that may seem like a taxi, if that is what you intend to use. I always research the safest modes of transport to use and stick with that.
How do you find so many plant-based restaurants?
Through my travel best-friend, dear Google 🙂 I still love to keep my options open and go to restaurants that I may walk past when I am actually in the new place, but before visiting I always like to search “vegan/vegetarian restaurants in … “, and read some reviews and look at photos. I also often get inspiration from instagram and youtube videos. Google maps is also great, and often when I just browse around the map, names of restaurants will come up and I will check them out.
How do you plan your itinerary and what to visit? Where do you get your inspiration?
This is definitely the most frequently asked question out of all the travel questions, and I’m excited to share my process with you! It’s going to relate back to what I mentioned earlier once again- it is always based on the type of traveller that I am and following my heart and interests.
Some basic things I always keep in mind:
- To be flexible (because you can’t predict the weather and sometimes the universe has better plans)
- That it doesn’t have to be a “perfect”, rigid plan I ‘must’ stick to
- That it is just a guide so I get to see the places I want to visit the most and don’t miss any booked tours or organised transport
Firstly, I will search up “places to visit in …. “, and do some research. Places that inspire me include scenic areas, places without too many people, natural wonders, and unique architecture. Often I will also watch travel videos on youtube and look up photos on instagram to be inspired by the places people visit.
Then, in a document I will list out all of the places that interest me without any holding back. No extra thinking, just listing them all down. This also includes any restaurants I really want to try out.
Next, I’ll go through the list and highlight the main places that I really want to visit and eat at the most, and that way I can prioritise them.
I also love to browse through klook to see if there are any particular activities or tours I’d love to do, and if I find something I’m interested in I’ll list it down to prioritise as well.
Since I’m a very visual person (as most of us are), I then create a table and each cell represents one day. I date each cell, fill in any details such as arrival and leaving time, and start adding in the main places. I generally spread them out for the duration of the trip, and some days I may go full-on with a few in a day, but I always ensure I have at least one ‘chill’ day with not too much going on. Ultimately, I leave space in every day so I can go with the flow of how I’m feeling.
Something else I consider when adding in the main places is grouping them together by area. For example, if two of the main things I want to see are in the same area/nearby, I’ll visit them in the same day. If one is very far away from my accommodation, I will dedicate a day trip to visiting there. I will also have a look on Google Maps to see what other things are in the area, and if anything interests me, I’ll add it in too.
As for restaurants, I also do this by area. If I’m visiting a certain place, and one of the restaurants on my list is nearby, then I’ll group them together for the same day. Sometimes I’ll do the vice versa and specially go to a restaurant, and see what sightseeing places are nearby 🙂 #foodie
If I will be staying in lots of different places, in each cell I will also write down the name of my accommodation, so that I don’t get confused. When it comes to transport, I’ll write down the main types I will be taking, including any bookings I made.
Below I’ve added an example of my itinerary for my recent trip to Japan.
As you can see, I colour code my activities so it’s even more visual, and it really is just a simple outline. Except for flights and other booked tours or tickets, I don’t add in a rigid time to visit places. I leave plenty of space, but also have lots of options.
This was my Japan itinerary
If you watched my vlogs (thankyou!), you might have noticed that my trip didn’t go exactly as planned with the itinerary, but was pretty much very close. To me, travelling to new places isn’t about sticking rigidly to an itinerary, but enjoying the present moment and following your curiosity. Of course, that’s just the type of travel I prefer, and everyone is different, so if that’s what you like then that’s wonderful too! I think it’s just important to let go of perfection and not be stressed over planning. I’m all about creating space in our lives to welcome in the miracles, and it truly is because I allowed myself lots of free time that amazing, unexpected things happened. A lot of the time I might walk past something I didn’t know was there, go and explore, and it turns out to be an unforgettable experience. And if I don’t get to visit a main place that I really wanted to go to, I usually move it to another day, or I trust that it wasn’t meant to be this time and know that the opportunity will come around again. As long as I am present, happy and enjoy the trip, that’s what matters 🙂
How do you get to visit so many places in each trip?
Travelling lights up my soul. It sounds ironic, but the more I travel, the more I feel energetic, and that is how I know it is a part of my soul calling! Of course, there are moments where I may feel a little tired, such as from jet lag, but overall I honestly have more energy when I travel than when I’m sitting down at my desk. Working on wholehearted projects fuels my heart too, but when it comes to travel, I get to visit a lot of places because I choose to, because I just have so much energy, and because it fulfils my entire soul and taps me into bliss.
How do I decide which tours to take and where do I find them?
I often go to klook.com or getyourguide before visiting a place and see what kind of day trip offers they have. If something catches my eye and feels good in my heart, and it’s a lot easier to visit these places with an organised tour, then I’ll usually book it. As a solo traveller, it’s a great way to meet new people and conveniently visit places a bit further away. They also offer lots of activities too, and klook provides lots of entry tickets to major tourist destinations, and that I highly recommend purchasing beforehand so you can skip the queue when you arrive and automatically present your ticket (it does depend on where though, sometimes you will still have to wait in line, but there is beauty in waiting too 🙂 ).
What are your top tips for planning trips?
- Know what type of travel you prefer
- Create space in your itinerary to just explore and see where the universe and your curiosity takes you
- Do your research
- Prioritise your safety and wellbeing
- Consider your budget
- Keep your options open
- Search around for accommodation deals
- Decide on the main, ‘must see’ places you would love to visit and prioritise those as well
- If arriving really late at an airport and you don’t feel comfortable taking public transport, organise a pickup beforehand
- Use safe and secure websites
- Listen to your intuition
- Don’t stress over an incomplete itinerary
What apps do I use?
- Google Maps
- Subway app for particular destination if available
- Grab (for southeast asia)
- Google Translate
- Currency Converter Plus
(I use an iPhone)
So these are among the top questions I get asked, and again I hope that it gave you lots of help and insight. Some other travel related questions I often receive include how to stay healthy while travelling, what my in-flight routine is, what I take as travel snacks, how I pack my luggage, how to stay safe as a female solo traveller, and how to convince family that you’ll be okay. I will be answering these in more videos and blog posts, so stay tuned, and if there are any other questions you have in mind, feel free to comment them below as well!
Have fun planning, be curious, stay open wide, and while you plan…don’t forget to live as well ♡
Sending my love,
*this post may contain affiliate links, which by clicking and purchasing the service, I will receive a small commission which will go directly into supporting my channel 🙂 *