You’re about to embark on your next adventure – hooray!
Travel planning comes naturally to some who thrive on the challenge to find the best deal on a tour, stay at the coolest hotel or dine at the hottest new restaurant. These travellers are always at the airport on time, check opening hours of attractions before leaving home and have packing down to a fine art form. On the other end of the scale, there are travellers who prefer to go with the flow, do things spontaneously and are happy to rock up to a new destination and “wing it”.
According to the World Tourism Organization (UNTWO), 1.4 billion people travelled internationally in 2018. And apparently, there are over 750 million users of Microsoft Excel worldwide. There’s a high chance that you’ll fall into both of these categories (we don’t know the exact number but it would make for a pretty neat Venn diagram). And if you also classify yourself as an “unprepared” and/or “unorganised” traveller, our trip planner template is designed to help YOU.
Microsoft Excel is not only used by accountants and finance people. Microsoft Excel has become the ultimate planning and analysis tool, recognised and used worldwide which is why we’ve chosen it to create our trip planner template. We hope you find it useful and welcome your feedback and recommendations!
FREE TRIP PLANNER TEMPLATE! MICROSOFT EXCEL & GOOGLE DOCS
Why use a spreadsheet to plan your trip?
Download your free trip planner template here
Note: For Google Docs template, download the .zip file and upload the spreadsheet to your Google Drive. Once uploaded, open with Google Sheets.
Using this spreadsheet
The Ultimate Trip Planner Template is built into a spreadsheet which is divided into six sections. We’ve built this trip planner to include 16 days of travel but you can adjust the length of the trip by adding or removing columns in the spreadsheet.
Once you’ve confirmed your travel plans, add them here. This is where you can record all your reservations – flight details, accommodation, car rental, equipment rental, tour reservations etc. Listing them on one tab means you can quickly jump in and find those important details when you need them.
Researching airlines, hotels, Airbnbs, car hire, tour operators and travel insurance policies can be exhausting. You’ll probably go through a phase where you’ll have so many tabs open on your browser, it’ll make you want to pull your hair out! If you also need to compare prices and dates with your travel companions, it can become downright overwhelming.
When you find a potential option you like, add it to the “Planning” tab. When your research is condensed into a neat summary, it will be a simple exercise of reviewing all possible suppliers, key dates and prices and then after a process of elimination, you will be left with the most suitable option.
A budget is by no means set in stone. Our budget tab is designed to help with your travel planning decisions. We feel that it is important to understand the costs of a holiday before making any hasty decisions. And we consider it even more important that you don’t spend beyond your means!
We don’t want to sound like party-poopers but the last thing you want is to get ripped off and/or find yourself stuck abroad without any money. By understanding where you plan to spend the bulk of your hard-earned money on your holiday, you can plan where you’ll allow yourself to splurge and other areas where you may need to tighten the purse strings.
For example, we give ourselves extra budget for food and coffee experiences as this is an aspect we love about travelling. We tend to book budget/basic accommodation on the road depending on the destination and available options, as all we need is a bed, access to a (preferably) hot shower in a secure room.
A good chunk of your budget will already be paid or known in advance before you’ve even left home (i.e. flights, some ground transport, accommodation, tours (if applicable) etc), so this should also help when allocating your budget to food, shopping and extras. There will also be times where you need to be strict and say “no” if your gut feeling and bank account tell you that you cannot afford a certain something. Be conservative but also be kind to yourself – you are treating yourself to a holiday after all and you’ll have to spend money to fully enjoy the experience!
We spend a lot of time planning our travel itineraries on a day by day basis and even breaking it down to each hour of each day. Some people call us crazy but when we are short on time and have an extensive list of things to see/do/eat/shop etc, we prefer to be organised.
Laying out our trip day by day also helps us to block out periods of time for travel or to take note of when restaurants and attractions are closed. Of course, plans can and will change. Rain may force you indoors (museums, galleries, shopping) or an unknown public holiday may disrupt your planned travel day.
We recommend using this tab to roughly outline your plans and drop in the activities and places you simply cannot miss. You can move activities to different days if your original plan doesn’t work out. If you want, record your daily expenses at the bottom and you can track how your actual spending goes against your budget.
5. Packing List
For those who begrudge packing, it tends to be the case that you will end up wearing 20% of your packed belongings during 80% of your trip. Or if you’ve left packing until the last minute and thrown items higgledy-piggledy into your suitcase, you’ll arrive at your accommodation to realise you’ve forgotten your favourite undies or packed the wrong shoes.
Packing lists work. Once you’ve considered the weather and climate at your destination, your baggage allowance plus the duration of your trip, you can plan what you need and limit unnecessary purchases on the other side.
We’ve compiled a pretty epic packing list covering practically every type of adventure and possibly everything that you may need. Feel free to adjust accordingly to your requirements.
This is the final step before you walk out your front door to embark on a brand new adventure. Before you go, use this tab to ensure you’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s. And then you’re off!