When we started to look into travelling little did I realise just how much organisation was needed. These are the eight organisational skills for travel that I will be covering in this article.
- Cross-referencing the cost of travel and the cost of accommodation
- Arranging accommodation.
- Arranging what activities to do when in that specific area of the world.
- Look at costs for travel insurance.
- Budgeting based on where you want to go in the world.
- Maintaining a working cost sheet to make sure you are staying within budget.
- Keeping track of the methods of selling your belongings and the cost.
- Adapting to changing situations.
Cross-Referencing the Cost of Travel and the Cost of Accommodation.
You need to do some research here. Knowing what time of year countries hold national holidays or have substantial public events is critical in getting the best deal for travel into that area and then accommodation while there.
To get the cost of transport, we found two websites great, Rome2Rio and Skyscanner. Both are great for very different reasons.
Rome2Rio is all about finding out the cost of different modes of transport to get from point A to point B. For example, how is the cheapest way to get from Auckland to Christchurch? You would then get some search results ranging from Ferry, Air Flights, Car, Public Transport, Buses, Coaches. You can then use these searches to go to the travel company’s website to book said journey.
The second, and one that we used to map out the main crux of our itinerary was Skyscanner. If you are flexible with where you want to go, then the best thing to do is type in your starting location and then just select ‘everywhere’ in the flying to section. This will then bring up the cheapest flight (you will be surprised with some of the results you will get). If you know where you want to go, you can widen the date search so you can see what specific day is cheapest to get to your chosen location. This is great if you need to get from one continent to another (Australia to the USA).
We had two spreadsheets open at this time; we had one showing us the cost of the travel to each country and the second was the cost of the accommodation for that time of year. We would then work out roughly what the best way to do it while remaining as cost-effective as possible.
When it comes to arranging accommodation, you need to think about so many different things. The costs, the location, how much will it cost to get there from let’s say an airport, city centre, etc. The thing we did was look at where we wanted to go in the world and looked at the cost of the accommodation in and around that area.
While looking for accommodation, we looked at the following websites
- Help X
All but Airbnb are generally FREE, but when we say FREE with Help X and WWOOFY you will be required to work for your board and food.
We looked at CouchSurfing as the primary source of accommodation for the first few months of our travels. This was because we didn’t want to be bogged down in one location at any one time. The upside of this is that you get to stay with local people exchanging stories and potentially food, but downside though that these only tend to be a very short term. Only lasting from 1 to 4/5 nights. This is indeed not something that can be sustained long-term, this is for two reasons. The first is that you are always moving, every two full days you tend to be needing to move to the next location and the second and most important reason. You never know if their plans change last minute, leaving you needing to leave your current accommodation and not having somewhere to go.
You need to be flexible and look at all the methods mentioned above to make the very best decision based on your location and what you want to get out of that area.
Arranging what Activities to do when in that Certain Area of the World.
We decided that any activities we did were either going to cost nothing, or very little. This way we can stay within budget but also see some stunning areas of the world.
Again when looking at this you needed to look at the time of year that you were going, we found Trip Advisor the best way to see what there is to do in the area that you are. If you are open minded about seeing things that are a little off the beaten track, you can even go without any plans then depending on the type of accommodation you have could seek advice on things to do that a tourist would never know is there.
We found some of the best eating places and things to do by asking the people that we were staying with. The key here is to remain open-minded, and the experiences you will have will be some you will never get again.
Look at Costs for Travel Insurance.
Having worked in travel insurance with AIG in both selling the products and assisting when people needed most picking the right insurance policy is entirely down to what you need from it. I have no found a website that drills down on what you may or may not need.
I wanted to choose a policy that either had ZERO EXCESS or the option to purchase that as an add-on. Purely because going away for 12 months, it is almost certain that I will need to claim some point. With an excess at anywhere from £25 through to £200 and the excess waiver often working out at around £40 it is a bit of a no-brainer.
We looked at the low-cost ones such as DTI (Direct Travel Insurance, who are owned by AIG), and Insure and Go. Both of which have the all you need under one banner. You do however need to figure out how long you are going to be travelling for, how long you are going to be in each country, blah blah. If you are heading to Cuba, up until recently most if not all American insurance companies would not cover a trip there.
The trick is to search around; you might even find other bloggers offering a discount from insurance companies by entering a specific code.
Budgeting Based on Where you want to go in the World.
You will need to keep on top of this if you want to get the most out of your travels. You need to look at how much you are going to have to take away, then look at where you want to go and then use a website called Numbeo; this will give you the cost of living for pretty much all major cities in the world. You can see how much food staples will cost, and how much accommodation tends to cost.
This information is vital when it comes to budgeting as you will need to have more per day lets say in the USA than you would in Vietnam for example. Meaning that you can spend much longer in Asia than you can in the states.
Being smart with your budgeting allow you to extend your travels potentially by months.
Maintaining a Working Cost Sheet to make sure you are Staying Within Budget.
This for us is one of the vital bits in keeping track of spending and making sure you’re not going to run out and end up having to come home early.
There are days that you need to go over your daily budget for an unforeseen circumstance. We needed to purchase a external hard drive so our £13.00 a day budget was blown out the water when we needed to spend £47.00. You need to be committed, and everyday updating what you had spent and then adjusting the number of days left before you come home.
One of the things we did before we set off was ring fence some of those costs. We put aside the costs for buses, trains, planes etc. food and fuel for our trip around the UK and Spain before Christmas. Finally we put aside £6.00 a day for food from the beginning of our trip through to just after the new year (a total of around 90 days).
This was we know we have flights and how we are getting from A to B, visas and vaccinations and food sorted. We then just need to look at accommodation and things we are going to do.
Keeping Track of the Methods of Selling your Belongings and the Cost.
Now we all know when it comes to travelling, you have two choices. Either finding somewhere to store all your belongings or sell as much as you can and then store them in your nan’s loft.
It makes sense to sell what you can, that way it saves you from having to fork out for a storage unit and secondly you can store your more sentimental items in family members spare room or loft.
So selling everything (well what’s worth the money anyway), you have a whole range of different methods.
- Car boot sales
- Shpock (what a waste of time this one was)
- Friday Ad
- Facebook selling pages
The key is to stick to what works and what the people on there are already selling. This is pretty easy to know on the likes of eBay and Amazon because everyone sells everything on there. The main thing was looking and signing up for as many selling pages on Facebook as locally as possible. We managed to sell a vast amount of stuff on there; Tina, however, had a lot of specialist items such as Craft an Cake making stuff. This was best suited to be sold on eBay and then posted out to them.
One thing we realised is that you cant start too soon, we started selling items 3-4 months before we set off. Even then we didn’t manage to sell everything (saying that we only had the bed and that was because we left that as long as possible).
However, if you are not new to selling, be careful. There are many people out there willing to screw you over at every turn.
Why not have a read of our article The Darker Side to Selling Online.
Adapting to Changing Situations.
This needs the be the most important one; there is nothing scarier than being in a different country and not having a backup plan if the shit hits the fan.
We always have somewhere ready on our first night if our first accommodation lets us down (it hasn’t yet but just in case). Lee has his surgery pushed back four weeks and needed to re-arrange all the accommodation we had set up. When he was in for his operation we were meant to be in Glasgow instead was in a London hospital.
We have two different spreadsheets to cover us in the event of an event outside our control.
Remember you are not in control of everything, things will change. All the planning in the world for every eventuality, but even then something will come up that stumps you. Just be open-minded, and if you need or want to up sticks and move on, then do so.
Just have fun doing so.
So by looking at these eight steps to keeping super organised, you should be having to stress-free travels all over the globe!