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Guide to Planning Your Year-End Holiday Travels

by Emlynne Tham. |

The Christmas memes are coming back, All I Want for Christmas is trending on YouTube and you spot a rafter of turkeys in the frozen food section. These phenomena combined can only indicate one thing—the holidays are coming! And that means it’s time to pack your bags and get on a plane. But hold up, still, don’t know where to go? No money? Lazy to plan? Well, if that sounds like you, we’re here to help! Keep on reading for a foolproof guide on how to plan your year-end travels to end 2019 with a bang.

Let’s start from scratch, shall we?

Step 1: Where to go?

Deciding on which corner of the earth to venture to can be quite a pain in the butt when you have half the planet on your bucket list and only a week to spare. So how do you decide on where to spend your last few days of 2019? It’s simple! Know what your bank account has to offer, and most importantly, do your research!

Dusun Bonda, Selangor.

Image: @malaysia.truly.asia on Instagram

Say you’re looking for a sun, sand and sea type of holiday. You find a great deal on a trip to Koh Samui and everything seems perfect… until you reach your island paradise only to be camped out in your hotel room for days as a result of the Northeast monsoon. How fun. So trust me when I say this, read up on what each potential country has to offer during your travel period if you want to avoid any disappointment, and of course, pick a place that won’t leave you entering 2020 with the bank account of the average newborn!

Or even better, why not #supportlokal?

Pro tip: Be wary of ‘too good to be true deals’ from trusted websites as they may sometimes insinuate a bad time to travel. To put it simply: Nobody wants to go to destination X because of bad weather—thus, prices are significantly marked down to lure in unsuspecting visitors. Get it? Good.

Step 2: How to save money?

Now that you’ve decided on a place to go, it’s time to start paying up. Flight tickets, accommodation, visas—you name it. This is likely to be the most painful part out of your entire journey to exploring the world, but it doesn’t have to be.

Image: The Planet D

For the cheapest flight tickets, simply key in your starting point and destination into Google Flights, and you will find a whole list of flight prices to compare to from a multitude of airlines. Pick whichever suits you best, whether it be the cheapest option or the quickest one, you’ll likely find something feasible here.

Similarly, for accommodations, use a price comparing website like HotelsCombined.com so you won’t have to look through 3-5 different accommodation websites, and instead compare prices from all of them in one place! When picking your accommodation, do also be sure to find one that’s not only a good deal, but in a central and convenient location. After all, you won’t want to be saving up only to be spending all of it on your transportation around anyway!

Pro Tip: If you'd like to know more about how you can fully stretch every penny of yours for your travel, check out this particular article from our Money Matters series.

Step 3: What to do?

Once all of that is settled, it’s now time to plan your activities for the trip! If you suck at sticking to fixed schedules, come up with a flexible itinerary instead. What is a flexible itinerary, you ask? I guess you could say it’s right smack in the middle of showing up in a country with no idea of what to do and planning out every single second of your time there. A flexible itinerary is essentially a list of all the places you’d like to visit and things you’d like to do grouped into specific regions.

For instance, if I were travelling to Kuala Lumpur, I might put down:

  • Bukit Bintang, KLCC, Muzium Negara, Dinner at SS15

  • Batu Caves, Zoo Negara

  • Sunway Lagoon, Sunway Pyramid, Dinner at SS15

Notice how things in the same geographical region are grouped together? That way, you save time travelling around when you can do all the activities in that particular area in one day. And with a flexible itinerary, there is no need to do each group of activities on a specific day at a specific time, do it when you feel like it—but hey, at least you know what there is to do, what you want to do and you aren’t wasting half your holiday deciding where to go next!

Image: CNET

You leave for your holiday in 5 days, you tell yourself, “It’s okay, I’ll start packing tomorrow.” You leave for your holiday in 4 days, you tell yourself, “Aiya, still got so much time, I’ll start packing tomorrow.” Your flight is in 5 hours and you’re now knocking your head against the wall because you didn’t wash your thermals, coats and scarves from your last trip, and realize you might die of hypothermia on your trip. This one’s pretty self-explanatory—save lives, start packing early.

Pro Tip: Make a checklist of all the clothing you bring so when it’s time to pack up and come home, you can refer to that list to make sure nothing is left behind!

It's Holiday Time!

And that’s it, time to get on that plane and get outta here! Whether it be a trip to some winter wonderland, or an island getaway, these tips are sure to ease the pains of travel planning and reduce the likelihood of travel mishaps. Wherever it is you’re headed to this holiday, be sure to stay safe and most importantly have fun.

Happy Holidays!!

You may also find out more about Emlynne on her Instagram too.

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