Do you know that feeling of getting stuck at some point?! You really want to plan a trip  and you want it to be perfect, but you just don’t know where to start! I know it’s hard. Especially when you’re planning a surf trip because there are so many things to consider to get the most out of it.

It causes you stress and anxiety to just think about it…

I had to experience that myself just recently. Since November 2017 I’m trying to figure out where to go during Semester break in March and April. But somehow, I couldn’t decide. I had a lot of places in mind but no one was “the one”. As you might know by now my time is my most valuable resource so I felt very pressured to spend it well. Therefore of cause I wanted to get the most out of that trip. I wanted to have good surf and be still able see a lot and meet awesome people. I wanted to have an awesome time. After a hard time thinking and procrastination and trying to come to a conclusion, I remembered that checklist I applied when planning my World trip back in 2015.

Back then it was so helpful to not overthink and stress myself out but enjoy the procedure of planning the trip.

And that’s what it should be about, right?

Planning a vacation should be fun and exciting. Not stressful and unpleasant.

Because I know I’m not the only one dealing with that problem, I want you to get to know that guideline too. I want you to get back to the excitement of planning a trip!

Here’s what you can expect from the guideline on “How to plan a trip”:

  1. Discussing the When and How long
  2. Looking into the Where considering
    1. Money
    2. Form of traveling
    3. Surf
    4. Interests and general Information
  3. Making a choice
  4. Preparing for your trip
  5. Packing and what to bring
  6. Pre-Vacation fun

All right! Now get out pen and paper and let’s do it!

1. Discussing the When and How long.

First thing to do when you’ve decided you want to go on a trip is to figure out when you have time and for how long.

For this, you might check on your work schedule, school break or semester break.

If you’ve found a time frame, you can take off and hop on a plan, train or car, you’re ready to take on the next step.

To make that guide a bit more understandable for you, I’m using my latest trip details as an example. So as I time frame I have chosen: March – April (7 Weeks)

2.Looking into the where.

No things get a bit more complicated. And this is usually where it gets stressful and you don’t want to deal with it anymore. Especially if you plan on going on a longer trip (more than just a couple weeks) and travel around.

So, to make this decision a bit easier let’s consider some main points first.

A. Money

Probably the biggest treat to a great vacation…

Before even thinking of places, you need to set yourself a budget. Think of how much money you got and want to spend.

For me it was a daily budget of max. 40$

Now there are a lot of places that fall out anyway, because they are just too expensive. By setting that budget right in the beginning you save yourself a lot of time thinking about those places you really want to go but can’t afford and instead, you can focus on the achievable destinations and make a real consideration.

Awesome trick, right?!

B. Form of traveling

That’s another thing you might want to think of before brainstorming possible destinations.

Depending on the way you want to get to your destination (plane, train, car, bike) and if you’re doing it by yourself or with another person there might be some countries better than others.

So, let’s dig into that a bit deeper.

There are many advantages and disadvantages of any form of traveling.

Plane: you can travel a bigger distance but you’re not that independent when you get there.

Car: very independent, you might as well be able to sleep in your car (or van), but you won’t be able to go oversea.

Train: this is probably my least favourite way of traveling because you’re neither independent nor can really travel far but most of the time it is cheaper and comfortable.

So, if you for example choose the plane and go oversea you need to be aware of the fact that you need to look into public service or car rentals later on.

About the point of whether traveling solo or with someone, I can just say there are pros and cons for both.

If you travel with someone you have help all the time, you can share your memories and don’t have to deal with difficult situations by yourself. But on the other hand, you have to compromise on certain things and might be limited in some ways.

If you travel alone you can really focus on what you want and meet new people easier. But there might be places you don’t want to go.

More about that topic: Traveling solo? – A frequently asked question.

I decided to take the plane (as I wanted to go to a warm country) and am traveling solo.

That’s why I am not going to Indonesia because Island hopping, in my opinion is more fun with another person.

C. Surf

If you’re like me, planning a surf trip you must take that point into account!

What’s the worst thing in the world, when you travel to a country as a surfer? Yes, a lack of good waves.

That’s why you must do deep research on where the waves a good at the time you want to go.

There are a lot of helpful guides out there.

– The Stormrider Surfguide

– The Low Pressure Surf Travel Planner

– The Internet

Once you’ve got a list of countries where the surf is good, there’s just one more thing to do…

In case you’re not planning a surf trip you can just leave that point out and brainstorm a list of countries you’re interested in going to.

D. Interest and general Information

Now you’ve got a first list of possible counties. It’s time to apply some filters.

Ask yourself the following questions while looking at the list of sports and cross all out that are no longer relevant.

1. Can I afford to go there?

2. Is there good public service? Or if you go by car, you might want to ask yourself if there are any campsites or carparks? (If you don’t care that’s fine as well, just leave that question out then)

3. Does the spot fit my surf level? (Info about that you’ll find on the internet or in guides)

4. Do I want to go there? Is there anything interesting to see/do?

5. Is it save to go there? (Here you might want to get some info’s on governmental websites)

Now you should pretty much break your list down to just a couple possible destinations. If not, repeat step 1-5 and think a bit deeper about every question.

At this point, I want to add: If you’re somehow not sure whether you want to go there or not, think of the two worst things that make you not want to go.

For example: I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to South Africa. The two main things of holding me back were a) the sharks and b) the crime.

Now do some research on whether your assumptions are true or not. If the results are nothing of real concern and you’re just being cautious, remember: Sometimes it’s necessary to take risks to find happiness.

3. Making a choice.

Hopefully by now you found your destination and we can continue.

If not and you still need help, leave me a comment or write me a massage. Maybe I can help you decide!

4. Preparing for your trip.

Well, there is not a lot to do to prepare. In my opinion the less you plan the better because it usually comes different anyway.

But you might want to do some research on the culture, things to do, great surf spots, public service, hostels, etc.

What exactly you want to get more information on is totally up to you!

A few things you should not forget though are:

  • Visa requirements
  • Travel Insurance
  • Medical requirements
  • Currency
  • Accommodation for the first couple nights

The last point is also optional but I find it very helpful in terms of getting a smooth and easy start into your vacation. After a long flight, you might not want to worry about where you’re going to sleep that night. So, it can be helpful to book one or two nights

Though, I wouldn’t book to many nights because you don’t know if you like the place. So, I recommend booking the first one or two nights and then look where to go when you’re there.

5. Packing and what to bring.

That is also a very individual point but I still want to give you some general tips on what to bring and some basic travel tips.

So first, and that might sound crazy for someone who’s never travelled for a long time. (And I thought the same before I started traveling)

Bring as less as possible!

Because, trust me on this, there is nothing worse than having to carry 30 kg on your back for a few hours!

Also, I want to give you a quick outline of my travel essentials. If you want to know in detail why I always bring those, you should go and read the article.

  • Refillable water bottle
  • Training shoes
  • Headphones
  • Camera or/and phone
  • Passport holder
  • Tiger balm

6. Pre-vacation fun.

Finally, I can just say: You’re well prepared. You have planned a perfect trip and all you have to do now is enjoy the time until your trip and also feel that thrill of anticipation to go on adventure!

“There is no better feeling of waking up, knowing you’re going somewhere exiting today!”

I hope you find that guideline as helpful as I do. And remember, if you have any trouble to decide where to go, you can always ask for my advice. I’m happy to help where I can.


Do you have any tips you think we others should know about?

Please share in the comments!

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