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Travel New Year's Resolution: Get Organized!

Travel New Year's Resolution: Get Organized!

Is your New Year’s Resolution to get more organized? When it comes to your travel habits, it should be! Use this handy guide for tips on how to get organized when planning your travel, including creating a budget, researching your destination, and making use of the best travel apps.

By: Jessica Festa, Editor-In-Chief, Epicure & Culture and Jessie on a Journey

Booking tickets, renting a car, reserving a room, creating an itinerary. When planning a trip it’s easy to become disorganized. However, there are ways to stay on track during the planning process. For 2013, make a New Year’s resolution to become a more organized travel planner using these tips.

1. Create a budget. Before you begin booking and planning an itinerary, create a budget for the trip. How much money goes toward each aspect of the journey will depend on your personal travel style. If you have a specific destination in mind that’s expensive, like Tokyo, London or Sydney, you may need to stay in a budget accommodation or eat some small meals to make up the difference. However, if you choose a destination that’s relatively inexpensive, like Peru, Mexico or Thailand, you can put some of your budget toward a nicer hotel or pricier excursion.

2. Research your destination

  • Find out early how to enter and exit. The most important part of the travel planning process is looking up entry and exit requirements for both your home country and the country you’ll be traveling to. There may be certain visa and vaccination requirements you’re not aware of, and it would be upsetting (or more like traumatizing) to fly for 15 hours to learn you can’t enter a country because you didn’t get a certain shot or signed piece of paper.
  • Learn about customs. Doing your research doesn’t just mean looking up information about hotels and activities, but also customs and etiquette. While in Japan it’s rude to blow your nose in public. In Ghana, it can cause discomfort to locals if you and your partner show public displays of affection. Learn these taboos before leaving your country to be more easily accepted by locals.
  • Join the Smart Traveller Enrollment Program. If you’re from the United States, it’s a good idea to sign up for the Smart Traveller Enrollment Program. It’s a free service and lets the government know your travel plans so they can help you if there is an emergency abroad.

3. Make use of apps and technology. There are a range of travel-related apps and websites that allow for a smoother travel-planning process. Whether it’s tracking flights, keeping documents organized in one place, researching great restaurants or converting currency, there’s an app for that. Some helpful organization apps include Gate Guru, Urbanspoon, Oanda Currency Converter, Packing Pro, Mint and TripIt.

4. Print out important documents. While you don’t think your documents will get stolen or lost, it happens. Make sure you have two backup copies for each important document - passport, driver’s license, credit cards, debit cards, visas and vaccinations - printed out to make getting the originals back easier. Store each set of documents in a travel organizer, email them to yourself, and pack in two separate places in case one set gets lost.

Jessica Festa, a New York native, is a world traveler who is always looking for a new adventure. She stays active through dance, hiking, and cycling and loves nothing more than her backpack. Follow her travels around the world at Jessie on a Journey and at Epicure & Culture

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