planning

The way to plan for a trip!

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We all travel differently, different classes, different destinations and for different reasons but as long as you know your goals and objectives, you can ensure you’ll trip will be what you want it to be;

  • PLANNING AND PREPARATION
  • LOCATION AND BUDGET
  • RESEARCH AND REACH
  • VISAS AND VACCINATIONS
  • BOOKING YOUR TRIP
  • PACKING
  • DO IT

The following is broken down into digestible areas so you can revisit at any point depending at what stage you’re at…

  • PLANNING AND PREPARATION

I find this element of the trip the hardest part, as unlike some I don’t like to just see what happens when I’m there, I like to plan which I hate to admit, and girlfriend loves to tease me about. As much as I love the spontaneity and know many things will happen that I didn’t plan or prepare for, which are usually the most exciting, I like to find out about where I’m going and what it offers to make sure I don’t miss out on anything.

However, the chances are I’ll get there, do my ‘cultural day’ meet some locals and check out the ‘local scene’ – that to me is the best culture to experience. Don’t get me the wrong, the history and their traditions, amongst the architecture and infrastructure, is usually fascinating but being a contemporary modern day man, that’s what I want to experience…the modern day!

  • LOCATION AND BUDGET

The initial planning stage can be a bit of a catch 22, as do you start with the budget or the location? I would say start with the location and back track from there, as you can save and work towards your goal or if it’s beyond your financial reach, or timeframe, there are always good alternatives. Do what you can to stay within your budget, which I appreciate can be very tricky, as we all get excited and carried away when playing with ‘monopoly money’. The closer you stick to your budget the less you’ll worry on the trip, after trip and the better chance you have to save for the next one. 

  • RESEARCH AND REACH

Whatever the reason for your trip is, whether its conservation, community, business, pleasure, backpacking or flashpacking and I’m sure many more, researching into the local area will ensure you know what the location has to offer. Check out review sites like www.tripadvisor.co.uk , as testimonials are obviously carefully selected, but these kinds of comments are from the consumer and offer a true reflection. Don’t forget to reach out to friends and ask if they know anyone there or anyone that has been, as recommendations from your friends and like minded people will hopefully offer a shared interest. I have met some of my closest friends this way and explored places like a true local.

As well as researching the area, you need to research the best way to get there. This can be done very easily today with so many online search engines and forums. I would always check a minimum of three, usually starting with www.makemytrip.com and then cross-referencing against the likes of www.expedia.com , www.lastminute.com and the airline directly. For accommodation this is easy as using your budget you can straight away refine your search and then use review sites to check them out. Don’t forget homestays and couch surfing, as it can be a great alternative and brilliant way to meet people. But, be careful and if possible thoroughly check reviews for these types of accommodation and ensure someone knows where you are at all times.

  • VISAS AND VACCINATIONS

These can become quite a surprise if you haven’t done your research properly, as I recently discovered on a trip to Russia where my visa was double the cost of my flight and quite a stressful process. Hence the reason for this stage being before ‘BOOKING YOUR TRIP’. Ensure you check what your restrictions are and if travelling with passengers of different nationality their restrictions too, as duration and fees can vary drastically. If visa’s are on arrival make sure you always have spare passport photos, different sizes if possible, as well as local currency and dollars. Personally I like to always travel with some Dollars, local currency and home currency, for both transit and emergencies.

Vaccinations are a vital part of your research and cannot be looked at lightly, so please make sure you check with your local GP and seek professional advice from specialists such as www.masta.com. Certain vaccinations need to start their course three months before, such as Hep B, as the course is staggered over timed intervals whilst others will need boosters, such as Tetanus.  Vaccinations will also vary depending on your health, and logistics, as it may not always be convenient to take your medication or you may not want to take them daily if they make you feel sick or dizzy etc.

  • BOOKING YOUR TRIP

Now you’ve done your research into the area and how to get there, you’re almost set. Paying for the trip is the most exciting part for me, obviously apart from the trip itself, as this is it…this is the commitment…the payment the confirmation…the realisation that you’re actually going…it doesn’t get much more exciting than that. So, make sure you enjoy it.

Ensure you’re paying at the best time, i.e. not too late for flights, or in some cases to early for accommodation, as they can often offer flash sales but this is hard to predict and can be a gamble. Check the fees associated with certain cards and that the card you are booking with will be with you during the trip as quite often they may want to see proof of the purchase card. 

  • PACKING AND CHECKING IN

We always take more than we need, which is understandable with today’s obvious effects of climate change, but if you have the room it doesn’t really matter, as long as your bag is the right weight and dimensions, the only downside is you carrying it all.  Depending on your activities make sure you have everything you need or can purchase/rent when there, which can save a lot of room and unnecessary weight, i.e. scuba diving equipment which is often included in the course or very cheap to borrow. Think through your itinerary as its usually the smallest things we forget that are essential, like plug adaptors, head torches, or bumbags (the small discrete type) – as not quite sure they’re back in fashion just yet.

Find out when you can check in online and try to get near a door to get off promptly, every person you walk past can save a significant amount of time at immigration. I like to think that every person I walk past saves me 5 mins, so apart from looking like one of those weird speed walkers, I’m out nice and quickly, getting to where I want to be.

Unnecessary fees for overweight bags or checking in without a boarding pass, such as www.ryanair.com charging £15 to print, which is ludicrous especially after you are already a paying customer, can be a horrible start to your trip, so make sure you have added your personal information online, checked in and printed all boarding passes.

  • DO IT

We’re almost there: research is going well, more than likely a continuous process; you have a few jabs in your arms; less money in the bank; a bag full of stuff you probably don’t need, and overweight; a barcode on your phone to check you in and a passport full of funny writing and awful pictures… now enjoy it, be safe, do everything you want to do as you don’t know when or if you’ll be back, and open your mind to new cultures, new experiences and new people…DO IT

 

 

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Where to start?

Every week a situation arises and I don’t know where to start, whether its a project at work or looking at old travelling material, but there is a very easy and obvious solution…..the beginning!

As ridiculous as it sounds…its true, sometimes we fill our mind with so much stuff and try and tackle everything at once but we cant, so write it down step by step and start at the beginning. Not only will you work through it systematically but you’ll also gain great pleasure by physically ‘ticking it off’ and seeing yourself getting closer to your end goal.

As some of you may know i’ve started a youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/bradrichardfrankel) for a number reasons, one to talk about my life but most importantly to document my travels. With over 50hrs worth off footage, thousands of photos and around 30 countries visited, it seemed silly not too. I didn’t know where to start with so many different mediums but I’m going to start with blogging and photos, and as time progresses (more on youtube) we’ll have some cool video’s to upload, but first I need to work out how to use Final Cut Pro. 

My round the world trip started in May 2007 and after planning my escape for over a year, the only thing that kept me sane at work were the savings I put into my account each month. Whatever your goal is, big or small, you need to plan it effectively and make sure you do something each day to achieve it. These things take time and you need to be patient, but with the end goal in mind, step by step you’ll get there….

The goodbye at the airport was an emotional one, everyone almost holding it together but as the first one shed a tear that was it, everyone was at it, tears all over the place and then we both had those horrible headaches, after you’ve been crying, for the plane journey…so we were off to a good start. Then, after customs and baggage we were looking forward to riding the magnetic train into the city but no-one would let us buy a ticket, they just looked at us and shook their heads. We thought our denominations were too big but it wasn’t until everyone turned us down that we knew something was wrong and realised that we had changed our money into Yen instead of Yuan, which is the difference of about 500 miles across the East China Sea. After finally buying our train tickets, in Chinese Yuan, we made it into Shanghai city centre to find our hostel but wasn’t sure how much we should pay for the taxi, it seemed a little high and when he drove off with the car boot still up we knew we’d been ‘done’. It turned out to be 10x the price, which he achieved by saying the decimal place was in the wrong place, so we we’re off to a good start but they say things happen in 3’s and with the crying, the currency and the cab I think our bad fortune had passed…

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Goodbyes at the airport…before the tears!

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Finally bought our train tickets!

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The Magnetic train into Shanghai!

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The food in China was awesome…I love my meat but I could have been a vegetarian out there as it all tasted sooooo good!

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View across the Huangpu River on a misty night!

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So crazy to see modern buildings being built using bamboo scaffolding!

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Our new friends…little did we know that Asker and Jonas would keep appearing 😉

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We then showed China how to breakdance…except….we cant breakdance…but they thought we could and loved it!

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Xiaolongbao (dumplings) in Shanghai were probably my favourite dish!

Big year. Big month. Big day

Before you know it the day has flown by and before you know it you’re at the end of the month, and (yes, you guessed it) before you know it, we’re celebrating NYE!

It’s quite scary how quick time can go…I now work in an office where they think 30 is old (for the jury I’m 30) yet I don’t think I even started yet. So many of us conform to what I call ‘societal pressure’ – study, work, settle, family. The generic kind of time line that many of us get scared to stray away from but why? Is it because we’re scared? Is it because we care too much about what other people think? Maybe it’s just easier to stick to the plan? I’m not saying there is anything wrong with the plan. In fact the plan is pretty great, if that’s what you’re ready for but if you’re not, don’t feel pressured. 

Every now and then someone comes along and likes to mess with the plan a little. Why should we all stick to the same plan? We are all so different. Why should we feel so pressured by society? Individuality is what makes the best friends, the most exciting journeys, and interesting cities. 

You need to be a strong character to break away from the mould but for all those ‘only fools and horses fans’ – ” he who dares Rodney, he who dares…”

As I’ve said before, and you’ll continue to hear me say, I never really know where these blogs are going to take me. I start with a blank canvass and just write, sometimes it just flows and I don’t even want to get off the train to stop writing, as I’m in a rhythm, but other times I stare at a blank sheet not knowing where to begin. That’s the beauty if it! Who knows what’s going to come from it? In the same way who knows what ‘s going to come from an alternative plan!

Today’s thought is don’t wait, do what you want to do, do what makes you happy and do it now!

“To be happy in what we do is to do what makes us happy”

Dream Big, Start Small, Act NOW!

Dream Big, Start Small, Act NOW!

Its so easy to get lost in the big picture of what we’re trying to achieve. We look at a particular task and sometimes don’t know where to start but its so easy and something I say to myself at least 3 times a day: “start at the beginning” – It sounds so obvious, its stupid, but its so true.

1. Think of what you are trying to achieve,
2. Think about the steps that you need to take to make it happen,
3. Write them down in a structured format, and
4. ACT NOW!

Physically seeing this plan is a great start already as you know what you need to do and can systematically work through your plan, and most importantly….SEE THE PROGRESS.

I met with a friend I haven’t seen for a long time today and after sharing a few ideas, and helping each other, both came away with a completely different attitude to how we started our day. We both know what we need to do and know how we are going to get there but sometimes you just need that little push in the right direction and reinforcement to gain confidence and belief in your goals!

#motivation #inspiration #goals