Travel With Your Job 2: How to plan your Travel with the Ultimate Bucket List

We tackled asking and getting leaves in the last installment of Travel with Job series it is now time to talk about advance planning. Even as I write this I can imagine a lot of you sighing and giving up. Don't! It is easy to plan for your travel and if you have a full time job and a boss you report to you there is no other way to get travel in your life.

Before we start on the how of the planning let us talk about the Why's.

1. You know all the answers

There are a few questions which define any trip- When, Where, How, For How Long. If you have all your days free or dedicated to travel many of these questions might not be as important to you as someone who has to manage a job along with travel engagements. Unless you know and decide on all of these factors chances are you are not going anywhere.

2. You can schedule your obligations

Unless you go on to become a perpetual nomad you are going to have quite a few social and family obligations that you have to fulfill. right from grabbing a cup of coffee with your friend to throwing a dinner party for your parent's anniversary. It is all important and requires time. Most of these can be pushed around or decided last minute but  things like birthdays, and reunions do require some advance planning.

3. You can ask for leaves on time

If you have ever been a supervisor you know how irritating it can be to get a last minute leave application asking for a week off. Not only is it inconvenient for all parties concerned it can also lead to disagreement and unwanted strain in the work environment. For detailed reading about Leaves and how to ask for them read this.

4. You will save a lot of money

Have you ever heard that because you are booking jut a day in before the flight you will get a huge discount. Most probably not, because that does not happen. As you get closer to the D-day everything becomes expensive especially if it is the holiday season. I have seen 12000 Rs ($200)  flights get to 27000($450) during Diwali, Christmas or Durga Puja. If you want to be travelling on those dates you better plan early in the year. Even if you are not travelling during peak times it is better to decide early and book early.
We were able to book Hyderabad to Delhi flights for two for Rs 2400 because we knew our dates and took up the airlines on their offer as soon as it was launched. The same flight today are over Rs 6000, and we would have probably taken the train than spent 12000 total on flights. Everything is cheaper when booked in advance and you can take better advantage of deals floating around.

Now that we are clear about why we need to plan in advance it is time to get to the planning part. For that you need a bucket list, no not the scrap of paper where you scribble all your wishes, instead you need something like what I have below. You can either make your own in a excel file or copy this Google Doc to fill your own.

Great now you have the biggest tool you need to increase your travel time and decrease your cancellations. Let us get started and go through how to get the most out of this Ultimate Bucket List.

1. Where

Plan Travel
Where Are you Going?

Where are you going?
This is the basic question of any travel expedition whether it ranges from a few hours to a few days. Fill in the places you want to be visiting this year. Yes, the entire year and fill in only the places you can visit, be realistic you might not be able to trek in Nepal and go on a cruise to Antarctica in the same year so choose one and put it in. In general there should be 4-5 places where you can reach in maximum 4 hours journey and 2-3 places 8 hours or more away.

2. How

How Are you Traveling?

How do you plan on going to the place?
Will you drive, fly or take the train? This will change the category of the place and the time it takes to reach it. For example a flight to Andaman is just 2 hours but a cruise ride from mainland India can take nearly 3 days!

3. How Long

How long will you be there?

How long do you plan on spending at the place?
 Keep it real most of us would be lucky to get two 10 day trips in a year, so hoping you will get two months off to go ad explore turkey is not going to help anyone. But in case you can get those kind of leaves put it against the destination you have selected.
All of the above were your wishlist almost like the way bucket lists are supposed to work what follows now is the stuff which will make or break the deal and require you to do some extra work than jotting stuff on paper or your excel file.

4. When

When Do You plan to Travel?

When are you going to travel to a certain place? 
This will require you to take out the calendar ( You can get a printable calendar here) which shows holidays and can be used to mark your leaves. It can be both physical like a printout or table calendar or a digital one like Google calendar or Ical.
You should know when you can travel to the destination of your choice. Very few people would like to travel to Alaska in winters, or to a desert in summers. Here you need some basic but invaluable research which you can get by just entering Best time to go to---- in Google. Write it down in the best time column under when section of the list.

Look out for long weekends and situations where you can get 4-5 days total by taking a day or two off. Plan your longer trips next to the long weekend and smaller trips in the in-between months so that you do not feel deprived. Most people find it comfortable to travel for 3-4 days in a month with a week or ten day vacation once every three months.
By now you should have exact dates for your travels. Highlight your leaves on the calendar and enter the dates you want to be travelling in the bucket list.

5. How much

How Much will you be spending?

How Much will you be spending?
This factor can lead to quite a few changes in your previously prepared list, but it is important you take it up in the end. It is time now to decide how much is the trip going to cost you and what budget you want to assign to it. Take into consideration the time you have, time of the year you are travelling and how you plan on going there.
There are many books and blogs which will tell you how much you will end up spending in a destination. If it is too costly to fly at that time of the year change your dates or go somewhere else, and if you have to go there at that time look into cheaper stay and entertainment options.

All done

Now you have your travel plans and the days you are going to take off marked and clearly detailed. It is now time to get your leaves in order and start looking for great deals to book your travel and stay. Look out for the next post in the Travel with job series dealing with the best credit card to support your travels.

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