A check list for things to do while planning trips on your own -
1.Search the net (travel portals mainly) and find the cheapest airfare; however, it has to be the best price keeping in mind the hours of the flight. Also, check if there are any deals or offers.
2. Check visa application formalities.
3. Insurance - We always get a travel insurance done every time we travel out of the country.
4. Book a reasonably priced hotel, preferably the ones that offer free breakfast. Will check for deals/offers on the rooms or any service provided by the hotel like airport pick-up and drop etc.
5. Buy calling cards, activate GPS and also carry maps.
6. Carry iPad/Tab to capture every moment and share as I'm in the habit of doing so. We'll also carry a camera, and will definitely remember to carry batteries, chargers, wires etc.
7. Carry a plug converter - don't know what is called exactly. It's very important to have one since all hotels don't provide this and the electrical sockets are designed differently in different countries. We had to keep a pretty high deposit amount for borrowing one at Mercure Paris.
8. Carry dry food and an electric kettle. Many hotels do provide electric kettles, but not economy hotels do. I carry a lot of cheese, biscuits, wafers, chocolates, dry fruits and granola bars when I travel, especially with my daughter.
9. Now, the most important point - travel light – pick the right kind of clothes, shoes and keep my husband's and my luggage the lightest as no matter how hard I try my daughter's strolley is the heaviest! My husband and I usually stuff everything in into a backpack and carry a small handbag for some essential stuff that we carry around. Since we are going to Seychelles we'll pack very few light clothes. We also carry all the daily accessories, cosmetics, creams, lotions, emergency medicines etc. For the readers, please keep in mind to choose the kind of luggage bag that are most convenient to carry around.
10. Find out and research well about the local sight seeing places and book in advance, of course if that's the best option - check if there's any discount on online bookings - also, check if taxes have to be paid for international transactions, then it needs to be seen whether booking online is worth it. The hotels often provide really good sight-seeing options.
11. Look for options for finding a local guide online. We had hired one when we went to Bangkok. Also, read on the internet about local transport etc. It's important to go and check at the destination location as well; that way one can get the best option.
12.Currency - It's not always enough to carry the required currency from the source country. One may need some extra cash while overseas. It's very important to check the maximum amount a traveller can carry to a particular country. One should check different currency conversion outlets before exchanging currency; often the airports give the lowest amount.
This pretty much covers the whole planning. But no matter how much one plans well in advance there will always be many last minute things to do. Therefore, I sign out now. Hope this post help some travellers plan better. Do share your advice too :)