I love to travel and I’ve always been fascinated by other countries and cultures. We moved every year when I was growing up -- and I was always the one lobbying my father to request overseas tours. Therefore, selecting a college with a strong International Business program (and required foreign language fluency) was a no-brainer for me. I had dreams of spending my life living and working in countries around the world.
Well, sometimes life doesn’t always unfold the way you envision. I haven’t (yet) worked outside the U.S.; but, I have managed to visit quite a number of countries. People who know I travel extensively always ask for tips and recommendations. I’ve found that the research, communications, budget-tracking, and organizational skills I’ve mastered after decades of project management lend themselves quite nicely to effective trip planning. In no particular order, here are some of the practices I follow and skills I leverage when planning a trip:
- Build a cost spreadsheet. I project all trip costs and identify whether they occur pre-trip, during-trip, or post-trip. I identify whether they will be paid via credit card or cash -- and, I identify whether those cash requirements are in USD or a foreign currency. I also go so far as to identify the denominations of the currencies I need (e.g., singles for tips, a $20 bill for a visa at the airport). I include costs for everything from taxis to/from the airport to daily tips for the chambermaid to my evening bar tab. I typically use Excel vs. Google spreadsheets simply because some of my friends have not embraced Google to the extent that we have here at Viget.