Hello and Welcome to the second installment of Wanderlust! For those of you who are just joining our adventure, Wanderlust will be a monthly installment walking your through how to plan your next amazing trip! We’ll cover everything from packing to planning to taking off and hitting the road.

In the last article, Beginning Your Journey, we covered ways to get your ideas together, different resources to find inspiration, and what to think about when finding your perfect travel companion. So what next? You know where you want to go, you’ve got your travel buddy, but what do we do from there?

First up, how are you getting there? Plane, Train, Automobile?

Having somewhere that you can drive to is a plus, because then you can save that money and put it towards something else, like splurging a little on accommodations or an activity once you get there. Plus, who doesn’t love a good road trip?

Going somewhere abroad? Sign up on a couple different websites to have flight deals emailed to you. Currently I’m signed up with Travelocity, and it regularly emails me prices for flight to and from a few different airports near me so I have some options. Other websites, like Kayak.com and TravelZoo have constant deals to different destinations overseas. Another way to score a good deal is to combine your flights and hotels on websites like Travelocity or Orbitz. You can really find some great deals if you’re willing to wait, and wade through the websites. It may seem tedious, but transportation will likely be the most expensive thing you buy, so it’s worth it to find something affordable.

Next, where are you going to stay?

Accommodations are the next most expensive thing, but there are always some places to stay that are cheaper and way more fun than hotels.  Check out websites like Airbnb or Hostelworld for a unique experience and to live like the locals. The cheapest way to stay is to see if anyone you know in the area will let you lodge with them. Start asking around on Facebook, Instagram, ask your parents if they have an friends who live there. You will be completely surprised by the hospitality and kindness of people you may not even know.

Finally, how are you going to keep track of everything? Of all your bookings and reservations, budgets and plans?

Spreadsheets will become your new best friend. Planning my trip with my aunt, we shared a spreadsheet on Google Drive covering our budget, how much different attractions and museums cost in different cities, train tickets, how far it would be to friend’s houses, and more. Here is an glimpse at our main spreadsheet. Of course this can be customized to whatever fits your trip, but hopefully this gives you a good idea of the different things you can keep track of. I liked using Google Drive because we could both add things as we booked them, and because we were able to have everything in one place.

Join me next month, as we take a look at packing and prepping for your next adventure.

Until next time…