- How to plan a trip.
See, now, now that's a big topic for you.
Over the past couple of years,
I've traveled to Belize, Ireland, Canada,
Costa Rica, Guatemala, the Rockies,
the Adirondacks, New York City, and beyond.
Some of you may have seen my travel films
from a few of these places.
If you love traveling as much as I do,
you're probably working toward your next trip right now
and you've likely spent time planning it.
From my experience, the planning process is crucial
to make sure that I'm spending my time wisely
wherever it is I'm headed.
I'm Brady Bigalke and in this video,
I'm going to broadly touch on some of the things I do
to plan my adventures
and if any of this at all helps you out, then great.
First thing I'm gonna talk about is determining your budget.
You should have an idea of how much you're willing to spend.
It doesn't need to be an exact number.
Perhaps it's a range, it's like 1,500 to $2,500.
Just have a number in mind you're comfortable with
and remember some places
are significantly less expensive than others.
What you want to do,
another subject that will vary a lot per person.
What you want to do on your trip is everything.
It will determine where you're going,
what transportation you will need, and where you will stay.
If you go to Ireland
and you're gonna go hike the mountains of Killarney,
that's gonna be a completely different trip
than going to Ireland and never leaving Dublin.
I do research popular activities,
things to do on sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp.
I don't pay too much attention to the top 10s,
I just see what catches my eye
and I do read a lot of reviews.
But don't just rely on the web.
Read books like "The Lonely Planet" too.
Those have been a really big help,
they're full of resourceful information.
Just be sure to check the date the book was published
before buying and try to get one that was published
within the past couple of years if you can.
Airbnb Experiences is another great resource
for this as well.
If you do decide on something with a tour,
consider the same experience without having a guide.
Not only does exploring a place
without a tour guide cost less,
you may enjoy being on your own more.
When I was in Belize, we had the option
to have a tour guide for our first Mayan ruin I ever went to
and I'm so glad we didn't get a tour guide.
It was awesome taking our time
and experiencing it how I wanted to experience it
without being in a big group of people.
I'm not discounting tour guides
because I don't think you should rule them out.
A lot of them are great companies, they're a lot of fun,
and if you want to learn from them and have a guide,
there's nothing wrong with that.
I'm just brainstorming here.
For certain experiences, you will be required
to have a tour guide to go,
like many of the slot canyons in Arizona
that I've been researching lately.
The price of your flight is a big determination
of your trip and your budget,
so using Google Flights and apps like Hopper
have been a huge help for me.
Google Flights allows you to choose your flight
and then help you determine the best time
to purchase the ticket.
You can receive an alert in your email
when prices drop or go up
and look at all the different prices
for your flight by date.
Hopper does the same thing.
You enter your home airport, preferred destination,
and they have a forecasting app
that uses years of historical data
to generate a calendar of the coming year,
with dates color-coded to reflect prices.
So they're predicting if prices will go up or down
and if it's a good time to buy now or if you should wait.
You'll notice that traveling during the middle
of the week may be a lot more affordable than weekends
as far as flying somewhere.
Many times I've flown somewhere on a Wednesday
instead of a Friday to save hundreds of dollars.
Another thing to be mindful of is hidden fees
with certain airlines.
Some airlines charge you for carry-ons and checked bags,
so you may not know the real price of your ticket
until after going through the booking process
on their website.
If you're using services like Google Flights or Hopper
to find your flight,
you may not want to book your flight through them.
It can cause problems if you need to change your flight
or something like that, so I do recommend booking
through the actual airline's website.
Just go find the same flight on their website
and book it directly through them.
Let's talk about getting around.
Are you going to a city?
In that case, you probably don't need a car.
Maybe renting a bicycle would be best
or Uber or buses or trains.
When I go to New York City, I just walk everywhere,
take the subway, and sometimes cabs.
However, I generally avoid cities when I'm traveling abroad.
I like to explore the outdoors
and really get a feel for the landscape of a country.
Most of the time I rent a car but you will save money
if you can travel around by bus.
There are pros and cons to both.
I really enjoy being able
to go wherever I want whenever I want.
And of course with a car,
you're probably gonna get places a lot faster than by a bus
but buses can be cheaper.
I do love traveling by train as well.
It is one of the coolest ways to travel
and historically always has been.
Many times, the tracks run through incredible places
that you could be working in your laptop
and look out the window and just see countrysides
that you may have never seen otherwise.
Trains can be expensive but if you find a good ticket
and a comfortable seat, you can't go wrong, it's worth it.
Definitely try it out sometime
and remember some trains are a lot nicer than others,
just like airlines.
Back to renting a car.
For those of you who want the freedom
of driving wherever you want,
other than lodging and airfare,
this is one of the biggest expenses for traveling.
I do a lot of research on car rental companies
before I book, so see which one is cheapest
but be careful there's hidden fees
like that may not be included on the price like insurance.
Find out what the out the door cost will be,
what their insurance policy is before booking.
You might need to call them.
As an American with GEICO insurance,
I know that my policy already covers rental cars
in the US and Canada,
but in other countries I have to get a separate policy
from whoever I rent from.
Another thing to keep in mind is their credit card policy.
Let's say you book your car rental six months in advance
but your credit card gets lost
or compromised before your car rental.
Many companies will make you cancel your booking
if you don't have the exact same credit card
when you show up to the counter.
This is not the case, however, with Enterprise,
so I use Enterprise a lot
because they will still let you keep your reservation
and keep your car as long as you have a credit card
with your name on it.
This was a game changer for me
and I really appreciate them for this.
Be realistic about driving times too.
If you're going to do a lot of driving
and they're pretty long distances,
don't forget that you're going to want to eat
and you're gonna need to get gas
and you may want to stop somewhere
along the way to see something.
Plan for your drive from point A to B
to take longer than what it says on, say, Google Maps.
Where to stay.
Man, this is a big subject
and where I want to stay will vary a lot
depending on where I'm going.
I've stayed in everything from a tent
to a luxury five-star resort.
If it's not freezing outside,
you could just camp the whole time,
you could stay at campgrounds either free
or for 20 to $30 a night.
Just depends on what it is you're into.
If you want to stay at a hotel or a resort,
there's nothing wrong with that.
It's just obviously going to cost way more.
Personally, I'd rather be at a really unique Airbnb
or campground just for a more unique experience
and perhaps more privacy as well.
Most trips, I want to be out doing things like hiking,
so I'm not staying anywhere fancy
because it's really just a place to shower and sleep.
Consider camping, consider hostels, and of course Airbnb.
One thing I do a lot for figuring out where I want to stay
is Google searching blogs.
If you spend time searching for unique places to stay,
you may find something you never thought existed
that's really, really cool.
It's nice to have a kitchen too sometimes
because I will cook my own meals as well.
After booking your flight, just look at a travel book.
I mentioned "Lonely Planet" before.
These books will really help you find the hidden gems
for places to stay that are not on the web.
My wife found hostels in Thailand
that she would have never found otherwise.
All hostels are not created equal.
Many people think hostels are for college students
and okay, many of them are,
but some offer private rooms with bathrooms and a shower,
so keep that in mind.
Meals, what you're going to eat and drink.
Well, I think there's a balance between eating out
and cooking while traveling.
You don't have to cook but it will certainly save money.
Before your trip, consider researching
if there's a local farmers market
and the hours it will be open.
My wife and I found an awesome farmers market
in San Ignacio when we were in Belize.
They are always a good idea.
Bring dry snacks from home like energy bars.
Many times I do research restaurants in advance as well.
In bigger cities, you're going to want
to make reservations for those.
And even if you don't need a reservation,
it's still great to know where you might want to eat
because it will save you time researching it in advance
instead of trying to figure out where you want to eat
when you're there.
It's kind of wasting time when you're on your trip,
so plan meals ahead if you can
but yeah, do leave time to go to places
that locals recommend.
You never know when there's gonna be an awesome food truck
like right across from you.
Please try to avoid plastic when you're traveling.
Many times, I bring my own water bottle
and just keep refilling it.
You can also buy a water filter and bring one with you.
I'll put a link below to a great water filter.
In some cases, you're gonna be in areas
with water that your body can't handle
and using things like bentonite clay will help you
from getting sick from unfiltered water or foreign food.
Again, I'll put a link below to that.
Last thing I'm going to talk about is packing.
Obviously pack according to the weather
and if you ask me, bring as little as possible
and try to make everything work in a carry-on bag.
If I'm planning on tent camping for more than a week,
a lot of times I do have to check a bag
with all the camping gear or if you're traveling with kids,
you're probably gonna need to check a stroller.
There are situations where it's tough
to avoid checking a bag but it's always nice to not have to
if you can avoid it.
You can fit a lot more into a carry-on than you may realize.
I love my carry-on bag from Away
and I use quite a few packing hacks
to be as efficient as possible with the space that I have.
Never underestimate a good rain jacket
or how cold it might get at night
and if you happen to forget something,
don't forget about thrift stores.
I also pack a few physical therapy based items
that'll take up no room at all
like a lacrosse ball for deep tissue massage
and resistance bands.
Whether or not you're planning on doing laundry
will determine if you're gonna get away with packing less.
Just bring necessities and layers.
And wherever you go, don't forget to--
- Don't forget to bring a towel.
- Don't forget to bring enough pairs of socks.
Smart wool socks have been awesome for colder weather
and comfortable shoes are really important.
I hope some of these tips have helped you out a bit.
This is obviously a big subject
and I know I haven't covered everything,
but I really look forward to sharing more travel films
with you this year and it's been awesome connecting
with all of you and exchanging stories.
My next trip is coming up in March and I'm really excited.
Kristen and I are going to be staying
in a converted Sprinter van for a week,
living the van life
in one of the most scenic places in America.
And to be honest,
I'm not really planning much for that trip.
We're going to Arizona,
the flights were booked months ago,
and we'll be staying in the van
and just booking some campgrounds.
Hopefully we get some good enough weather
for some hot air ballooning, I did book that.
Then in July, we're headed to Italy.
And I've even booked a flight already
in September to Oregon.
I like to have trips figured out way in advance
and usually I will get a much more affordable flight
and car rental when I'm booking things way ahead of time.
So that's it for now.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks for watching.
Also would love to know if any of this helped you out.
And travel safe.