Travel Tips

4 Tips for Planning a Trip by a Canadian

Planning a Trip

So you’re a Canadian. Yell it loud and proud! But…unfortunately a lot of the information out there is based out of the United States, we don’t have a lot of resources to help us navigate with the rising cost of living while still being able to travel. Flights are expensive and the CAD $ tends to be on the lower end when converting to USD, EUR or GBP. 

When my fiancé and I were planning our first trip together I had more than a handful of people say; “Just remember to add extra to what you budgeted! Trips always end up costing you more than you plan.” And its true, vacationing and travelling are known to typically send people over their budget. I always felt that if you planned right and educated yourself about the place you’re visiting then that wouldn’t happen. I’m sure people thought I was young and naive but I’m happy to report back that after multiple trips of all different sorts from backpacking through Thailand to all-inclusive trips to Mexico – we always come back with money! Like I said…doing a little research can go a long way and will help you with staying on track with your downpayment savings.

Below I have a list of the best tips to save money when planning a trip from Canada. 

Plan Ahead

Now I know this isn’t the most popular for travelling nomads but bare with me here for a second. I’m all for leaving the itinerary as open as possible but doing your research ahead of time will help you utilize your vacation time and money more efficiently. You will be able to do more, see more, eat more and do it all with a lot less stress and anxiety. 

Research Destination Options

Now this may be hard for some and easier for others. We want to visit…well, pretty much everywhere! When we’re starting the planning process we start with money. Unfortunately when travelling to a lot of the popular travel destinations from Canada ex. USA, England & Europe the conversion rate for Canadian money isn’t usually on our side. When our Canadian money ends up amounting to around 2/3 to half of what it originally was it can be discouraging and rough start from the get go when planning a trip – but don’t let that scare you. Some places in Europe are more expensive (ex. Switzerland, France, Sweden etc.) but there’s also countries that are cheaper to travel to (ex. Spain, Greece, Poland etc.) This is why research really does help when in the first stages of planning. 

Map It Out

Whether you’re visiting one country or several I will always suggest getting familiar with the geography and the surrounding cities. Then figure out the best way to travel to and from each place you want to visit. Transportation is one of the most important parts to your trip and can be expensive but if done right can also be inexpensive. Sometimes that means booking things before hand and sometimes it means being able to do it last minute; but knowing what to expect ahead of time is important and helps with easing some of the stress and angst of travelling. It doesn’t stop there though, if you’re looking at where to stay while visiting a country knowing where the activities are that you want to participate in accordance to the options of hotels & AirBnB’s you’re looking at is super important. (Side tip: AirBnB may not give you an exact address until you have booked but they give you the radius. I always zoom in until I can see a business or landmark close to the centre of the radius provided and use that when comparing distance to transit or popular tourists spots.)

Food

Look up the average cost of eating there. How are you planning on eating? If you’re on a really tight budget then staying in a place that has a kitchen and allows you to cook meals rather than eat out may be an option {some hostels offer kitchens as well as AirBnB} Knowing the average cost of food ahead of time is awesome and really helps you to create an accurate budget and save the right amount of money. 

Shelter

Before we book any flights we always just do random searches on Expedia, AirBnB, Google etc. for different costs. Sometimes hotels are cheaper than AirBnB surprisingly; Amsterdam recently has a new law that home owners can only AirBnB their homes for up to three months of the year. This made the market a lot more expensive as there are a lot less options out there. The prices nearly doubled over night! If you’re travelling outside of peak season then hotels in Amsterdam may be the way to go.

Vacation Money

There’s a couple things you should do here… first, is use cash. You will get charged like crazy in banking fees if you use your debit and you won’t get the best exchange rate using your credit card. As well, we have also run into places (even in airports) where they only accepted cash and only in their own currency. That leads to the second, exchange your money ahead of time and if you’re going to a less popular destination you will have to order your money a couple weeks before from your bank. Some people exchange their money at the airport or once they’ve entered the country but  when you’re travelling you never know what to expect from a new place, it can be stressful enough when you’ve first landed without having to worry about how you’re going to pay for a taxi or bus to your hotel. Lastly, start looking at the CAD $ and take advantage when we’re having a good day! Now, you may be thinking, I don’t know anything about the stock market! But you don’t have to, I know for sure that Global News reports the CAD every day and I can imagine most news outlets do, all you have to know that the higher the number the better. Once you watch it for a bit you will begin to understand pretty quickly.

YVR Deals (& sister sites)

Now that we’ve looked into our different options of places to visit its time to book some flights! If you haven’t heard of YVR deals (or the sister sites for your home town {click here to see all the cities}) then you are MAJORLY missing out. Guaranteed no spam mail. The only time you get mail is when there are AMAZING flight deals out of your desired airport. Now the thing is, you can’t plan when the deals are going to pop up or the places they are going to pop up for, it works for my fiancé and I because we want to travel everywhere, so when we get back from a vacation and were starting to think of our next destinations, we often let YVR deals do the deciding for us. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Email for updates. 

 

Pinterest

Use Pinterest to help plan out your vacation!!! This may be obvious to some and may be completely shocking to others. When you think about it though, it makes sense. Pinterest is just a platform for bloggers to share their content. There are copious amounts of blogs out there for travelling to any destination you can think of! We’ve been using Pinterest for planning for years now and I’m so grateful we started, we’ve discovered so many amazing little cities, towns, activities etc. Don’t stick to one blog or one idea either there are so many travellers out there sharing their adventures, tips and ways to get around. Theres also copious amounts of infographs (see below) that dive into the basic information (food cost, language, currency, popular destinations, phrases etc.) Although Pinterest is widely known and very popular I still say it’s completely underrated! Seriously… go to Pinterest to plan!! Have I said it enough yet? 

Google Search of infographs (you can find a specific country you’re looking for if you search on Pinterest)

Other Social Media

From the moment we start talking about our next adventure up until the day we leave we use our social media as ways to learn more about the place were visiting.

Youtube all the videos!

There are so many travel blogs out there and so many amazing bloggers and videos showcasing every country. We watch Youtube videos on our TV and learn about all the places we want to visit, all the ones we don’t and an idea of what to expect when we get there.

Follow Your Destination’s Instagram Accounts

Search up hashtags, accounts or places. They all work and all give you so much info. Start following them to get a little education while your scrolling through your insta. It may not seem like much but trust me, you learn a lot!

When you start the process of planning a trip it can be very daunting and intimidating. You just have to remember to take a deep breath and think of the basics first (finances, food & shelter). There are a ton of resources out there & Pinterest shares most of them! Mapping out what you would like your trip to be will help you to budget how much you need to save/set aside for your trip. 

 

Holland

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