A guest blog from Gabriella Manchester.

Planning the trip of a lifetime is no small task. For a start, there’s a lot of pressure to make it the best trip ever, so your expectations are going to be set pretty high. Read on for our five steps to prepare you for the trip of a lifetime.

1. Start early

Give yourself the best chance of success and start to plan your trip well in advance. There are no shortcuts to making it that once-in-a-lifetime kind of trip. Do your research and decide what will make it extra special for you (and your travel partner, if you have one). Read blogs, books, websites and speak to everyone - nothing beats word of mouth recommendations from people you trust. Draw up a list of places to go, foods to try, things to see and do. Use Google Maps to drop pins on all the places on your list. That way, if you find yourself ready to do something, you can consult your map and find what you’ve already tagged nearby.

2. Be selective with your activities

Identify the activities that are important to you, and make those a financial priority. Even if that means forgoing something else. Be selective about what you spend your time and money on, and save it for things you really want to do. Champagne in a rooftop bar at sunset? Why not, it is the trip of a lifetime after all! Just balance that out by saving on other things, skipping activities you’re not that bothered about, and keeping a close eye on your budget.

3. Choose your travel partner carefully

Quite often, your idea of what constitutes a good trip will be entirely different from the next person’s. You really don’t want to commit to going on holiday with someone who wants the opposite type of trip to you. An adrenaline junkie who wants to wake up at 7am and hit the gym every morning before doing a skydive, might not be a great match if you had a lie in, a lazy brunch and a day of reading at the beach in mind. Be upfront about what you’re wanting the trip to be like from the get go, and if you’re travelling solo, consider setting yourself some goals so that you’re clear on what you hope to get out of your adventure. This may seem a little unusual for some people, but just thinking about what you’re hoping to get from the trip, and sharing this with your travel buddy if you have one, can help you both to be aligned on expectations. You could go one step further and write down your intentions for the trip, so you can always be reminded of them.

4. Prepare for daily practicalities

Arriving somewhere with an entirely different culture can be overwhelming. This is especially true when you’re trying to find somewhere to eat. Of course for many people, a big draw of travelling is getting to experience different cultures and cuisines. However taking the time to research a few places to eat before you arrive, especially via reliable food blogs that you trust, will make things easier when you’re tired and hungry.

Using a foreign currency can also be challenging. Getting used to the exchange rate can take a lot of mental energy, which you might not have too much of after a long flight. Take some of the pressure off with a prepaid currency card such as the Caxton Card. There’s no need to take a big wad of cash in your suitcase anymore. Simply upload money to your Caxton card before you fly, select the currency you’d like, and use the card abroad to pay for anything from dinner to withdrawing cash. No fees, no fuss.

5. Relax about things not going according to plan

Depending on where you are in the world, public transport may or may not be a source of frustration. In some European countries and a lot of Asian countries, trains and buses will just show up when they feel like it, and not a second before. You’ll also face hiccups like venues that are suddenly closed, or activities that take longer than predicted. Seasoned travelers will know, you pretty much have to roll with it. Try not to waste your energy being annoyed about the inconvenience to you. There’s nothing you can do about it, so just expect it to happen and be prepared for anything!

I hope you have a fantastic trip, and if things don’t go quite to plan, remember, it’s all part of the adventure. The times when it all goes pear shaped make the best dinner party anecdotes!


Gabriella Manchester is a travel, life and style blogger and Instagrammer, as well as a Caxton Card customer. Read more about her around the world adventures on her travel blog.