January 18, 2019

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”― Mark Twain

Going on a trip to a place you've never been to, trying out new food and exploring new experiences can be one of the most exciting things to look forward to. Whether this means taking a trip overseas or enjoying the fresh sights, sounds and flavors of another Malaysian city, just the thought of going on a trip can make you feel giddy with anticipation.

Best of all, you'll be able to take a break from your usual routine and return back fresh, ready to conquer all that life throws at you!

While going on the trip itself can be exciting and relaxing, planning for it can be quite stressful. So unless you are planning on paying someone else to plan your trip for you, you'll likely be on your own.

Luckily for you though, at Telite Travel, we have prepared a complete guide to help you to prepare for your trip. Whether it's a trip overseas or a staycation, you'll find everything you need here.

From deciding where to go, what to do and what to bring, with this guide, we've got you covered from A to Z. At the end of this guide, you'll know where to go, what to do, and how to make your trip better:

Step 1: Deciding on your travel budget

Step 2: Compare destinations and finalise on your travel destination

Step 3: Plan your trip itinerary

Step 4: Book your flight and accommodation

Step 5: Prepare your travel accessories

Step 6: Run through a checklist before you fly

Step 7: Get on board, take off and have lots of fun!

* * *

Step 1: Deciding on your travel budget

Before you even start planning out the details of your trip, the first thing you'll need to do is decide where exactly you want to go!

Making this decision can be tough. With a powerful passport like ours, the world is literally our oyster! With a visa-free status in 154 countries in the world, Malaysians are spoiled for choice when it comes to picking out a holiday destination.

With so many options, which country should you go for on your next days off?

Deciding on your travel destination will depend mainly on a few factors:

  • Budget
  • Travel style
  • Travel goal
  • Who you are traveling with

Of these factors, your budget will be the first thing to consider here. While most of us would want to go on our dream holidays without a care for our budgets, in reality though, it would probably be a wise thing to do.

The last thing you want to happen is to come back on a holiday only to be faced with a mountain of extra debts to pay off.

This is why it's worth being realistic about your budget. Your travel budget should ideally be a sum of money set aside specifically for your travels, and wouldn't have an impact on your daily expenses.

So the first thing you need to do is decide on your travel budget. Whether it's RM1,000, RM2,000 or RM10,000, knowing how much you can realistically afford will provide you a guideline for deciding where to go.

Remember: having a smaller budget doesn’t have to prevent you from having a great time, it just means you have to get creative.

Once you've decided on your budget, let's go to the next step. 

Step 2: Compare destinations and finalise on your travel destination

Now that you know how much you can afford to spend, you can start narrowing down the destinations of your choice that you think falls within your set budget.

We recommend using spreadsheet software for this as it will make your calculations easier.

If you don't have Microsoft Excel, you can always use a free spreadsheet software like Google Sheets. The best thing about Google Sheets is that you'll be able to share your document with your travel buddies.

In your spreadsheets, you can compare a few selected travel destinations based on costs such as

  • Flights
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Activities
  • Shopping
  • Insurance

Be sure to calculate all costs related to your travel. One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to calculating their costs is not considering potential hidden costs that can be specific to a place they are visiting.

This is why we also recommend adding an extra 10 to 20% extra money to your budget as a buffer just in case.

Once you've tabulated the costs for each destination, you might even find out that a destination you assumed you could afford, turns out to be more expensive than you expected.

Using the same spreadsheets, you can also compare the sights of interest and activities available in each destination. This will help you decide if you have enough of the activities you and your travel mate may both enjoy.

Once you've completed , we recommend giving the spreadsheets some rest and coming back to them for a second look with fresh eyes. This way, you might discover something about a destination that you didn't before!

After that, you can make a final decision on your destination. Once this is done, it's now time to get down to the nitty-gritty details of your trip itinerary!

Step 3: Plan your trip itinerary

Once you've decided on exactly where you want to go, it's time to get down to the details of what you will do during your trip, that is, your itinerary planning.

Though not everyone plans their trips to the hour, if you are a more detailed oriented travel planner, you might find planning your itinerary with spreadsheets, or even travel planning apps useful.

Whether you use a spreadsheet, app or even a paper notebook for your travel itinerary planning, you can get started by looking through 30 of the top travel itineraries from Malaysian travelers we've prepared.

Have a look at our travel itinerary guide to get some inspiration on what fellow Malaysians have done to have fun in popular destinations all around the world:

30 Best Travel Itineraries Created by Malaysians for Malaysians

At this stage, you don't need to get every single detail ready, but you will likely need decide:

  • The cities or towns you will be visiting
  • How many days you will be staying in each place if you're traveling more than one location

Once you've decided on the above, you can now move on to making your major bookings for your trip.

Step 4: Book your flight and accommodation

With your trip itinerary ready, it's finally time to book your all your flights and accommodation!

Since flights and accommodation make up the bulk of your travel expenses, you'd want to get them as cheap as you can without compromising too much on your expectations.

To get the best rates, you can use flight comparison sights like Skyscanner or Kayak to compare flight prices across carriers. These comparison sites can sometimes even show up with deals that are not available from booking through flight carriers directly.

For further discounts, you can also consider taking up a hotel and flight package by booking through sites like Expedia or AirAsia Go. For some packages, you can even save up to 50% compared to booking your flight and accommodation separately.

On top of this, you can often snatch a good deal from carriers like AirAsia, Malindo Air and Malaysian Airlines which are known to occasionally dole out discounts on flights for specific periods. The catch is that there is a limited number of discounted tickets, so you want to get notified as soon as the deals go live by subscribing to their newsletters.

Carriers like AirAsia offer additional discounts to flyers who join their exclusive Big membership. For these members, AirAsia gives them early access to discounted or even zero fare flights!

Ensuring you get a good deal on your flight and accommodation means saving up on money you can spend on other parts of your trip.

Once you have paid for your flights and accommodation, you will now need to start preparing for the things you need to pack for your trip.

Let's take a look at the items you should bring along to your trip!

Step 5: Prepare your travel accessories

Alright, now that your flight and accommodation are set, it's time to start preparing the next most important part of your trip: what you pack along with your trip.

Bringing the right things with you on your trip can make your life on the road much more convenient. It can also be a lot cheaper buying travel accessories ahead of time in Malaysia, especially if you are traveling to a country where things cost a lot more.

If you have always found yourself in short supply of necessary accessories when you travel, the good news is that we've prepared a comprehensive list to help you to get some ideas of the type of accessories you will find useful.

Whether you are a solo traveler, backpacker, mom with kids, you'll find just the right accessories to bring to make your life easier right here:

Best Travel Accessories for Every Type of Malaysian Traveler in 2019

Most Useful Travel Accessories You Can Buy in Malaysia for Every Part of Your Travel Journey 

If you don’t already have the item and are planning to buy them online, be sure to buy them ahead of time so you will receive them before your trip!

Step 6: Run through a checklist before you fly

Finally, there's nothing like having a peace of mind that everything at home and on your trip is well taken care of when you travel. The last thing you want to happen is to find out you forget something important on a trip and start worrying.

This is why we recommend running through a checklist to ensure that you have everything in order before you take off for your trip. To help you with this, here's our complete checklist to help you go on your trip worry-free:

The Complete Travel Checklist for Malaysians: Local Trips, Overseas Trips and Business Trips (Updated 2019)

Be sure to run through the checklist a few times - at least once a few weeks before the trip and once a few days before! 

Step 7: Get on board, take off and have lots of fun!

Now that you've gone through all the steps from 1 to 6, there's only one thing left to do and that is to wait for your boarding time, get on board and take off for your relaxing trip.

Since you've spent so much time and money preparing this reward for yourself, be sure to leave your work behind for when you come back from your trip. You really don't want to be answering work e-mails in the middle of soaking in the sights and sounds of a new and exciting adventure.

Let everyone back home know that this is your time off and they'll need to get back with you after your trip. 

Once you've set the right expectation for yourself and your work mates, you can now fully immerse yourself in your trip and fully enjoy yourself!

 

Conclusion

Planning a trip begins with understanding your current budget. Having a realistic understanding of how much it actually costs can mean not ending up in debts after the trip.

Once you have decided on your budget, compare potential travel destinations to see which fits your budget and travel style best using a spreadsheet. Once you have decided on your destination, figure out what you will do during the trip by fleshing out your entire plans in travel itinerary using notebooks or software.

With your itinerary in hand, make your flights and accommodation booking. Ensure that you get the best rates by using price comparison sites and special discounts for members.

Finally, run through a checklist a few weeks and a few days before your trip to ensure that you have everything in place and can relax for the next few days or weeks during your trip.

When all is set and done, all you're left to do now is to fully immerse yourself in your vacation and enjoy the trip!

Let us know: did you find this guide helpful? What other tips could you offer your fellow Malaysian travelers? Let us know in the comments below!


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