How to plan a trip to an unfamiliar place

Dandelion in Narkanda Himachal Pradesh India

Are you a tourist or a traveller? Do you dream of going to foreign locations and exotic lands? If yes, read no further! I’m going to present my best tips on how to plan a trip to an unfamiliar place. 

However, travel comes with an additional task of how to plan the trip to your dream destination. Travelling to places you’re well accustomed to is definitely an easy task. Though, what about when you’re planning to visit a new city, a foreign country you’ve dreamt of visiting for a long time. It’s not as easy as it sounds and undoubtedly not as easy as to pack and head out.

If you like to relax from the planning & enjoy a well-planned itinerary, then you can head straight to a trip planner for all your travel needs. But if you love to plan every single thing of your trip yourself then this post if for you. Planning a trip can be as enjoyable as it gets but also hectic at the same time.

I too love travel planning & here’re my top tips on how to plan a trip on your own. Starting from the location, medium or places to see and even what food to eat, I got you covered. 

how to plan a vacation  | Plan a vacation | how to plan a trip | how to plan a trip to an unfamiliar place | Travel tips | Travel hacks | #thewanderingcore

There are certain things to be considered while making any touring plans for an unknown destination and finalizing the travel itinerary. So, here are my top tips on how to plan a trip to an unknown destination which will ease out your before travel anxiety and you can enjoy your dream tour!

Have you read my Adventures en route to Paris?

How to plan a trip to an unfamiliar place

The Route

The number one tip about how to plan a trip is the decision about the route. Going via planes is my favourite medium especially when I think long distance or a train journey of more than 10 hours. Even if you’re travelling either domestic/international via flight, don’t consider price as the primary criteria. Because the cheapest ones are usually the non-refundable ones and have longer layovers. Plan a minimum of 35-45 days for an international flight and 20-30 days for a domestic one.

For road trips, its best to look not only for the main highways but also the alternative route (for emergencies).

If you’re opting trains I would recommend its best to look for fastest and a comfortable one to avoid being tired.

Those who are passionate about trekking and love to go into the unknown places, then knowing the route beforehand is the most basic thing you should focus on.

Related Read – Useful Travel Accessories & Products?


Hotel Vs. Home-Stays Vs. Hostel

If you are travelling solo & on a budget, the hostels or even home-stays will be good for you. If you love to explore the hotels (like me) then always consider your budget as they are definitely costlier than the rest. I usually opt for 3/4 star hotels when I travel solo. When travelling with family on a budget trip & looking for below a 3-star hotel, then I’d suggest considering staying in an Airbnb.

Next Read – Airbnb vs hotel!

Lastly, whatever it is that you’re choosing; whether Airbnb or any hotel, its best to check the reviews and go through the traveller photos & my confidante for reviews is Trip Advisor.

The Local Transport

Unless you’re travelling in your car/cab, it’s best to get to know a bit about the transport system of the city. Try to look up the places to see in the city you’re visiting and its distance from your hotel/home-stays. *Travel like a local* – use bus, metro, tram or simply walk – I can assure you, you will get a lifetime of memories and the place will stay as fresh as a morning walk in your mind.

Commuting via public transport is my top tip on how to plan a trip to unknown places. I used the metro when in Paris and loved every inch of it. 


Suggest Read – How to save money on Transport?

Shortlist Restaurants

How do you like to eat out when you’re in a different city? do you prefer food from your hometown or would you like to try the authentic delicacies from the city? If you always crave for your home like food, its best to do a good search for the restaurants beforehand. Pick some restaurants especially around your hotel or the places you plan to visit. 

If you’re vegetarian and not travelling to/in India,  you will have difficulties finding vegan food so I would suggest that you line-up some food-joints for your preferred food choice.

Shopping Mall Vs. Flee Markets

Do you like to get souvenirs for your loved ones back home or for yourself? If yes, then it is best to look up what the city has to offer and search what would be the best & cheap places to shop. You might save a few bucks as every place has the same thing to offer at a cheaper rate.

In case you like to pamper yourself and buy exquisite things, then every city has some designer showrooms, it would be amazing to get to know more about them before even landing there!



Heading to Paris? – Read things you should know before your first visit to Paris

Day Trips

One-day tours usually take you out of the city to a place where you might not even have spent a night and yet cover all the attractions there. Trip advisor always lists some of the best one-day tours but I would suggest not to book it online and rather treat it as another and follow steps 1 to 5 mentioned above. It will save you a lot of money if you plan it yourself. Though if you don’t like to plan a trip on your own, then booking them online yet in advance is the best way to do.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Related Read – How to Save money for travel?

Have you been to an unfamiliar place? Do share your experience with me!

Also,  make sure to follow along on my Instagram account for the latest updates and adventures.

Subscribe to TWC’s monthly newsletter – Promise, no spam! – and get your free download of my personally curated carry-on checklist!

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Tips for the First Trip to Paris

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Follow me on Pinterest for more ideas and inspiration!

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Plan a vacation | how to plan a trip | how to plan a trip to an unfamiliar place | Travel tips | Travel hacks | #thewanderingcore

– The Wanderer

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  45. I love travelling and this article provide all the necessary information for me. Thanks for your sharing.

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  47. This is a great checklist! I did a lot of travel in Europe. Just picked a place and went with no real plan. It was so much fun!

  48. tinacorzine says:

    Great info! Thank you!

    1. Glad you liked it:)

  49. I will be going out of the country to Guatemala in March. Our group has never been so thank you for the tips!

    1. Glad I could help 🙂

  50. Amazing checklist. gave me wanderlust

  51. I love spending a day “getting lost” when on vacation–just wandering around checking out things off the beaten path 🙂

    1. Glad to know that🙂

  52. A good checklist to ensure a hassle free vacation!

    1. Thank you Shaloo 🙂 Glad you liked the post.

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