Ashley’s Travel Diaries

I took my first ever plane ride at 5 months old, but since then my avid travels have taught me the ins and outs of planning a trip. In my 17 years, I have realized that many people think too narrow in terms of vacation, not reaching toward international or even interstate travel. Here are some of the first steps towards planning the best trip ever!

1. Figure out dates
When I travel, it is generally with my family of five. Since my parents have flexible jobs and missing school isn’t the biggest deal, it’s fairly easy to find times that are not peak travel times to find cheap tickets. I suggest doing this step 8 to 10 months in advance to ensure lowest price tickets. Consider traveling the first weeks of December or May, which are not peak travel times, to get the cheapest tickets which gives you more money to spend abroad.

2. Book a ticket well in advance
Once you’ve chosen your dates, it’s time to look at tickets. Sites like Kayak and Priceline can help you find tickets at rock bottom prices. If your dates are flexible, consider using the option to find departure and arrival dates + or – three days from your chosen dates. This will make sure you get the cheapest tickets possible by traveling on obscure days or at strange times.

3. Find a place to stay
This step is possibly the most important to having a successful stay. Finding a location comes down to two questions: how far are you willing to stay away from the main city and would you prefer to stay in a hotel or an apartment? If an apartment is okay with you, use sites like Airbnb to find great locations at wonderful prices. If you’re comfortable with it, even consider staying at a hostel.

4. Do your research
Find out everything you can about your vacation site. I planned my trip to Budapest in its entirety with the help of Youtube and the library. With it, I created an itinerary and learned Hungarian words. It made my trip all the more worthwhile, being able to see the entire thing from start to finish.