As tempting as it is to turn up to an airport and board the first plane they’ll let you on, it’s probably not the best idea for efficient travel.

You’ve got to plan your time wisely, budget carefully and book ahead to make the most out of a trip. In fact, some trips take longer to plan than their duration. So, to help you travel effectively, we’ve gathered five top tips for planning a great adventure.

1.Know how to manage your money

As everyone will tell you, you need to budget before you go traveling. But, when you’re out there, you also need to be good at managing the money you’ve got – and that takes practice.

If you’ve never done it before, you can’t just turn up and expect to be good at living on a budget, especially if you have no idea how much things cost in that country. So restrict yourself before you travel and research extensively how much you can realistically make do with.

To learn from someone who travels on a budget, while holding down a regular 9-5 job, check out Backpacks and Bunkbeds. Even if you’re heading to a notoriously expensive city, this blog has tips for you.

2. Roughly plan your route

To make the most of traveling, you’ll want to allow for the diversions that life throws at you. But for the most part, you should have a good idea where you’re resting your head at night – whether that’s a fancy hotel, a hostel or you’re choosing to camp.

It’s worth checking out the cancellation policies of places you’ve booked so you know what you’ll have to pay if you do get distracted on route. If you’re planning a road trip in Europe, Travel Monkey has previously given some great do’s and don’ts.

3. Learn to pack well

There’s a limit to how much stuff you can take with you when traveling – you’ve got to be able to distinguish between essentials and luxuries.

As a general guideline, you’ll probably need enough clothes to get you through 10 days at the most. In the Secret Traveller’s tips for long-term travellers, they reckon after this long, you’ll inevitably have access to a washing machine. If you take more clothes than you need for that time it will be a nightmare to carry around. “Anything less and you’ll be pretty stinky.”Travel Effectively - packing

4. Know how often you’re going to contact your loved ones

For peace of mind, for both you and your family, discuss how often they can expect you to get in contact with them before you set off. But don’t over-promise – remember your loved ones will only worry if you said you’d call them and didn’t. So be realistic, you’re going to be quite busy having a great time.

Think about where you’ll be and whether you’ll have access to the internet. That way you can use a cheap internet-based calling program. There’s “no one-size fits-all formula” for figuring out how often to call home – it’s just got to work for you.

5. Look after yourself

This includes visits with your doctor and dentist before you go traveling. But it’s also important to know how to look after yourself while you’re away.

Traveling requires a certain amount of independence. Make sure you can cook a few decent meals for yourself, for example, and keep up some level of exercise. These are the things that will keep you sane.

DISCLAIMER: This post is brought to you in cooperation with 1Cover Travel Insurance

Are you a spontaneous or a planning freak type? How long does it take you to prepare for a trip? Do you have any additional tips? Let us know in comments below!

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