Planning for a Trip: Make Your “Hit the Ground Running” Plan for a Smooth Arrival

***This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on these is a win-win because it saves you precious travel research time and puts a few pennies in my pocket (and it doesn't cost you more).
Please see my full disclosure policy here for more information.


Sunrise Airplane WingI know some of you out there shun all aspects of planning for a trip .  Come on, admit it.  You know who you are.

You love spontaneity and surprises.  Unexpected twists and turns that lead you in unknown directions are the icing on your travel cake.

While I am not opposed to the occasional unexpected twist or turn on a vacation, the last time that I want that sort of thing to happen is on the day or arrival, when I am exhausted and just not plain fresh from sitting in an airport and then on an airplane for umpteen hours.

Answering these questions will give you a bare minimum plan that will get you to your hotel, fed and out to see something on your arrival day with the minimum number of possible surprises.

#1: How are we going to get to the hotel?  I don’t know about you, but when I get off a plane, dropping my bag off and a shower are the first things on my mind.  This is often the first arrival hurdle that you will need to conquer:

A local bus in Thailand

  • Does the hotel offer shuttle service?
  • What time do the trains/buses stop running (in case your flight is late)?
  • How much does the train/bus cost?  Will you need exact change?  How do you purchase tickets?
  • If you are renting a car, do you have directions from the airport to the hotel?
  • Do you have a general idea of where your hotel is located?  Print a map before you go.
  • Worst case scenario-How much will it cost to take a taxi to the hotel?  Where in the airport is the best place to catch a taxi?

#2: How are we going to get some of the local “green”?  On your way to the hotel, you might want to think about getting some local currency.  Here are some things to think about:

  • Have we let our bank know about our vacation plans?
  • Will our cards work in the country that we are visiting?
  • ATM or Currency Exchange booth?  In most places, the ATM will give you the most competitive exchange rates, but check with your bank to see what the exchange rate and fees are  through the ATM will be before you go.
  • Do we have a pin number for our card (most countries require a 4 digit pin number for ATM transactions)?
  • Will we need a “Chip and Pin” card (certain countries in Europe have switched over the the “Chip and Pin” system.  We had trouble getting currency from the ATM in London Heathrow because of this)?
  • What is the approximate currency exchange rate?
  • As a last note, make sure you have some of your own currency on you when you arrive, just in case.  You can always take cash and exchange it in the airport if you are having trouble with the ATM.

#3: Ok, now we want to see something.  Seeing something on the first day always feels like it gets my vacation off to a good start!



globe-icon

Planning a trip soon? Help Support This Blog!

Booking your hotels, apartments and tours through the following links sends a small commission my way that helps keep this blog running (and it doesn't cost you any more).

Tripadvisor.com - Booking.com - Flipkey - Apartment Rentals - Tours through Intrepid Travel

Thanks for your support.

  • What is close to the hotel?Eiffel Tower Paris France
  • What are the hours and admission prices?
  • Is there a city pass with a number of different activities included that would save you money over a number of days?
  • Are there any activities that we could do in the evening, so we are not so pressed for time (in case you need a nap and a refresh when you arrive)? Some museums and other attractions that are normally only open during the day have one day a week where they have later hours.
  • What is your backup plan in case the first plan doesn’t work?

#4: We are starving!  What are we going to eat?  Before of soon after you arrive at your hotel, you will probably need to eat.

#5: Communication:  Depending on your priorities, communicating with friends and family when you arrive might be one of the first things on your mind.

  • Will my cell phone work where I am going?Red Phone Booth Scotland
  • Do I have any wifi access in the airport?  It might be worth hanging out in hte airport and having a cup of coffee if you need to message friends and family or look up any travel information that you are missing (especially if you don’t know if your hotel offers free wifi.)
  • Where can I buy a local sim card for my phone?
  • Is wireless internet access readily available?  Is it free?
  • Does the hotel offer free wifi?

#5: Now I lay me down to sleep…

  • Try to get to bed at a decent hour.  If you don’t feel like you can sleep, try some exercise.
  • Don’t sleep too late, but give yourself a little leeway if you are not up at your normal time.
  • Plan a relaxed day on your first full day.  Try to put the really full days further into the trip when you are acclimated to the time change.

#6: Bits and Pieces:

  • Have a cheat sheet handy with common words and phrases in the local language
  • Try to have some snacks/trail mix/energy bars handy in case you need food and can’t find a place to eat right away.

Anything othe essential tips to share for the furst day?  What other things do you make sur that you do when you arrive in a new place?

Tags: , , , ,

Planning for a Trip: Make Your “Hit the Ground Running” Plan for a Smooth Arrival

6 Responses

  1. These are great tips!! We always do some travel planning – like figuring out how we’re going to get to/from the airport or train station – but some things we leave up to chance (like finding interesting places to eat). Getting lost is only fun when it’s halfway deliberate… and you don’t have a heavy pack on your back. 😉
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Photo Essay: Ring of KerryMy Profile

    Christy @ Technosyncratic July 25, 2012 at 10:12 pm #
    • Yeah, dumping the luggage is priority numero uno. I guess I haven’t quite gotten the knack for finding good, non touristy restaurants down yet, because when I am tired and hungry on the first day and I don’t have a plan, we always seem to end up in the first restaurant that we can find (which usually has ho hum, mediocre food).
      Shanna Schultz recently posted..Having Trouble Coming Home: The Dark Side of Travel AddictionMy Profile

      Shanna Schultz July 26, 2012 at 12:45 am #
  2. Great thoughts for a perfect holiday.

    green global travel August 6, 2012 at 1:13 am #
Trackbacks/Pingbacks
  1. International Travel Tips: 13 Things to do on Your First Day in a City - July 20, 2012

    […] to do on our first day and how are we going to get there?  Have some basic maps handy with your “Hit the Ground Running” plan easily accessible in your carry on bag.  This will help to get your trip off on the right […]

  2. Business Class vs First Class: A First Class Experience - February 20, 2013

    […] I never understood first class before, but now I see why people pay more money for it. Instead of getting off of the airplane feeling disheveled and like we need a while day of sleep just to recover, we felt fresh and ready to hit the ground running! […]

  3. International Travel Tips: 13 Things to do on Your First Day in a City - October 24, 2016

    […] to do on our first day and how are we going to get there?  Have some basic maps handy with your “Hit the Ground Running” plan easily accessible in your carry on bag.  This will help to get your trip off on the right […]

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge