Taking a vacation is something of a personal taste. Some prefer a tour or safari where they do nothing but pay and then relax while everything is taken care of. Others grab a backpack with nothing but a couple of bucks in their pocket and set out. Most people fall somewhere in between. This will hopefully serve as a guide to those who wish to plan their own trip but don't know where to start.
====Pick your destination==== Before going through all the motions of planning a trip, make sure you know where you generally want to go. This should narrow your focus from the entire world to just a few countries.
====Know your timeframe==== After picking the area you want to visit, know about how much time you have to spend there. This will factor into your travel arrangements later on.
====Find how to get there and get back==== If you've narrowed down your choices and Namibia is on the list, you'll have to find a way to get there and get back. Most forein tourists outside Southern Africa will probably fly in. Check out Getting There to look at your possibilities. Some people like flying in and out of the same city. If that fits your timeframe, go for it. If your timeframe doesn't allow you time to return to the same city, you could try an open jaw approach. Flying into and out of different cities, but out of and to the same destination. However, since Namibia doesn't have an incredible array of airports and flights, your options may be limited.
====Where are you going?==== Now that you know what area your visiting, how long you'll spend, and how to get there and back, you'll need to plan what you will visit. This can be the most confusing and frustrating parts of all the planning, and is a major reason why many people don't bother planning their trips, let alone one in a foreign country. Don't Panic This phase just takes a little more work, patience, and self-control.
- Pick out a few must-see destinations. The places that will make or break your trip. If you really wanted to hike Fish River Canyon or eventually make your way to Skeleton Coast, make sure they are on your list.
- Now that you have your list, do a little research, and find out how much time (measure in number of nights) you will spend in each place. If that fits into your timeframe adding estimated travel time, draw a line that will generally represent your travel from one place to another. If you have more time listed than you have to spend, you'll have to get rid of one or more places on your must-see list and count the number of nights again. That wasn't too bad, was it?
- Let's take a breather. You now have a line drawn from the start and end point of your trip going through your must-see places along the way. You have written out the number of nights in each must-see place and the estimated travel time between each place. To find these travel times, be thinking about how you'll get from one place to another. Car, bus, train, etc. If the distance between must-see places is too long for a day of travel, you'll have to stop somewhere in between. If traveling by car, you can stop anywhere with a place to sleep. If traveling by bus or train your options may be more limited.
- Rest. You are now your own travel agent.
The Devil's in the DetailEdit
So, your trip from start to finish and all in between is filled out. Now you start to make real arrangements.
- Sleep. For most of us, you will need a place to sleep every night of the trip. For every new place you go, you will have to find new accomodations. Some people enjoy doing this during there trip. But for those who like this done before hand, look up Places to Sleep and go through till you find the place. Then just pick the place you like, contact them, and make arrangements for the nights you will be staying.
- Transportation. Earlier I told you to think of how to get from place to place. Now you need to make arrangements. Check out Getting Around for more details.
So. Now all the work is done and you should be ready to embark on your trip. Make sure your Packing has covered everything needed. Just remember to be flexible. Bon Voyage.