Your Ultimate Trip Planning Guide – Save Time & Money

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Flying over the Caribbean coast line

Welcome on board! Don’t you love it when you hear those words on a flight? I do, and I guess you do too, which is why you’re here. In this guide I’ll share my best time and money saving travel tips. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Taking the pain (and expense) out of trip planning
  • Anybody else hate packing? How to do it properly
  • Destination guides to make your trip great
  • What to do when your trip goes wrong
  • How to make your solo or long term trip happen

I send out occasional emails with updates – sometimes personal, sometimes chit-chat, and sometimes to let you know when I’ve published new stuff on the site. Click it, delete it, share it – it’s entirely up to you. If you’re not subscribed already, sign-up here. There’s no need to worry that I’m going to flood your inbox. My writing pace is so glacial I’m still writing up my 1st Round The World trip from 2010!

A bit about Indiana Jo

Who’s Indiana Jo anyway? I’m glad (I’m pretending) you asked. I haven’t written a resume in over a decade but it might look a little like this:

That’s my story. So far. You can read more here

Want even more? Here are some of my more personal stories you might find fun.

Taking the pain (and expense) out of trip planning

We all love taking trips but what about the planning bit? Unless you’re handing it all over to a travel agent (together with a heap of money), you’re going to have to do some planning to get where you want to go. In this section I’m going to share with you some of my top tips for planning and booking your trip.

Planning your trip

I’ve travelled when it was easy (oh, I miss the 90s), I’ve travelled when it was hard (COVID), I’ve travelled for work, and I’ve travelled when it was my everyday nomadic life. I’ve taken two complete trips around the globe, quick trips, long trips, solo trips, trips with friends, family trips and romantic trips. My point: I’ve planned a lot of trips. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way.

Booking your trip

The internet is great for booking trips but why is there so much of it? And why do my flight prices keep going up the more I look (hint: it might be dynamic pricing – clear your cookies and they might go down again)? Whether you’re confused by the many booking websites or trying to bag a bargain flight (I once flew to Paris for €5 and to Hawaii for $98), here are my best trip booking tips.

Got any travel tips not included above? Leave a comment below.

Anybody else hate packing? How to do it properly

I once went to the Maldives having only packed clothes for the upper part of my body. Yes, I left all of my shorts and skirts in a neat pile on the spare bed. Unless you’re Winne-the-Pooh, who famously always forgets to put on pants and never seems to get arrested, it’s not acceptable behaviour. I’m still very grateful for that one dress I packed.

Since that trip, I’ve gotten much better at packing. In fact, I drew up a travel checklist for myself which I now use for every trip. You’ll find it below along with my other packing tips and lists.

Packing Lists

Travel themed gifts and gadgets

Know someone who’s going on a trip? Want to gift someone or yourself something travel themed? Or are you looking for some new kit? Check out my reviews and gift guides.

Ever been on a trip without taking any pants or are you a packing genius? Leave a comment to share your stories or any other packing hacks you know.

Destination guides to make your trip great

In my decades of travelling, I’ve been to somewhere between 60 and 70 countries. I’m not saying that to boast. I’m saying it because the travel bug is real and if you catch it, your list is likely to get longer not shorter the more you travel. At times your travel wish list can seem overwhelming in its length. Where do you start? I know the answer to that one – start anywhere. It doesn’t matter. Just start.

Remember above where I said I’m still writing up my first round the world trip that I took in 2010? Well, that means that the posts on my site are a bit patchy. Yeah, yeah, I’m working on it…in between trips and coffee and reading travel books. In the meantime, here are the destinations I’ve covered in some detail. Check out my map to see a more detailed list of where I’ve been and leave a comment if you have any destination questions about places I’ve visited but not written about yet.


North America

Latin America & The Caribbean


Africa & The Rest of The World

Travel Inspiration

What to do when your trip goes wrong

If you travel often enough, it’s only a matter of time before you hit a snag on a trip. And I’ve had my fair share of them – 2014 was the year I seemed to miss 1 in every 3 flights I booked; in 2015 I had more insurance claims in that one year than I had in all of the rest of my years of travel (broken camera, lost suitcase and injured knee); along the years I’ve caught dengue fever in Mexico, had a snake in my room in Vietnam, climbed a volcano barefoot, and have been sick so many times I’ve written a whole post about it.

Some of these things can be avoided. Others can’t. Then it’s a case of dealing with it in the best way possible and trying to enjoy what you can of your trip. Here are my tips for what to do when travel goes wrong.

When things go wrong

Travel Insurance

Travel Health & Safety

What’s your worst travel story? Prepared to share it? Or got any other travel safety tips? Leave a comment below.

How to make your solo or long term trip happen

I took my first solo trip in the middle of the beak-down of my marriage. Six months later I bought a round the world ticket and haven’t looked back since. Travelling solo (and especially as a solo female traveller) can feel daunting. As can quitting your day job in favour of long term travel or a round the world trip. Whether you’re considering the digital nomad life or wanting to become a travel blogger (ahem, content creators as we’re now known, apparently) or just thinking of a weekend away on your own, here are my solo and long term travel tips.

Travelling solo

Round the world and backpacking trips

Travel writing and being a digital nomad

Are you taking a long-term trip or are you about to go somewhere solo? Got any questions? Leave a comment below.

That’s my ultimate travel planning resource guide. Share your own tips below.

Author - Jo Fitzsimons

Hi, I'm Jo, the writer behind Indiana Jo. In 2010 I quit my job as a lawyer and booked an around the world ticket. As a solo female traveller, I hopped from South America to Central America, across Asia, the Middle East and Europe. It was supposed to be a one-year trip but over a decade later, it's yet to end. I've lived in a cave, climbed down a volcano barefoot, spent years as a digital nomad, worked as a freelance travel writer, and eaten deadly Fugu. Now I'm home, back in the UK, but still travelling far and wide. You can find out more About Me.