A Gen Z Guide To Planning Your First Trip Without Parents Overseas: Essential Tips and Tricks


Mardhiah Haslan •  Feb 07, 2023

It’s always important to take a well-deserved break. Be it for a graduation trip or simply for a much-needed vacation, preparing for your first trip with friends can be overwhelming, especially since you won’t have your parents to rely on. If you’re a Gen Z like me who’s planning to jet off overseas to unwind but unsure how to properly plan a trip, here is a detailed guide with tips and tricks to planning your first trip without parents!

P.S. If this is your first time travelling with friends, check out these 11 Tips You Must Know For Your First Time Travelling With Friends!


Step One: Planning Your Trip

  • Decide Where To Go: Before making any decision, take some time to sit down with your friends and decide which country to visit. It’s important to note down when’s the best time or season to travel. Search online if there are any public holidays, school holidays, or peak periods to avoid!
  • Check Entry Requirements: Some countries require a visa to enter such as Australia, South Korea, and New Zealand, so be sure to check the country’s official government website to check the entry requirements!
  • Check the Standard Cost of Living: You should also check the country’s standard cost of living to see if it’s within your budget.
  • Decide the Duration of Your Trip: Will you be going for a week or a short trip of about 3 days? You should take into account what the country has to offer as more sightseeing or multi-city countries, such as Japan, Europe, and South Korea, requires you to take a longer trip but if you’re going to a small town, a shorter trip may be sufficient.

Step Two: Check For Flights

  • Once the country is decided, you should check for flights! You can use Google Flights Tracker to monitor flight prices. You can also search for cheaper flight options on Skyscanner! However, you should take note that most cheap tickets are non-refundable so be absolutely sure of your vacation plans before booking. You can also read these 13 hacks to get cheaper flights and once you’ve found the best flight for you, book it!

Step Three: Look For Accommodation

  • Narrow It Down: Searching for accommodation can be quite overwhelming if there are many options. The best way is to narrow it down based on your budget. Ask yourself: How much are you willing to spend per night for the number of days you’re going? Are you looking for convenience - near attractions, subway stations, or halal food? You can make use of Google Travel Planner to see what’s around the area. Check out these 8 Tips For A Safe Stay At Your Rented Accommodation When Travelling!
  • What Are You Looking For?: If you’re planning to cook some meals, finding one with a kitchenette may be an important factor. Do you plan to reuse your clothes? Then, searching for accommodation equipped with a washer and dryer may be important. For Muslim travellers, some factors you should consider are whether there’s a shared bathroom or places to pray. If you’re planning to stay in a capsule hotel to save costs, there are female-only capsule hotels in some destinations too.

Step Four: Planning Your Itinerary

  • Know Your Budget: Once you’ve decided where to go and stay, it’s time for the fun part - finding fun activities to do! While you may have a rough idea of what to do, it’s important to know your budget - How much are you planning to spend for each activity? Listing down the activities may help you see the costs clearly. But, fret not, there are many free activities that’ll be just as enjoyable! You can also look out for promos to save more on the activities.
  • Search For Activities: If you’re still unsure what to do, a simple Google search can help. If you’re looking for a Muslim-friendly itinerary, HHWT has a variety of itineraries so all you have to do is follow our itinerary! Additionally, you can browse TikTok or travel blogs to see what best fits your trip. For smoother and more collaborative planning, you can use Google Sheets to plan your trip by day.

  • Plan Your Itinerary: You should try to plan at most one/two activities in a day to avoid stressing if you plan to take it easy during the trip. However, this depends on you and your travel buddies! If they are into venturing, you can fill your days with more activities but be sure to take note of how long you’ll be spending on each. Also, remember to check if the attractions are closed on certain days (eg. Museums) or tend to have more visitors on certain days when deciding which days to visit. Read these 10 Super Easy Steps To Planning Your Muslim-Friendly Itinerary!
  • Getting Around: Check for public transportation options. Are there ride-sharing services? Are there travel cards to buy to save money? Is it necessary to get a travel pass? Some countries like Japan offer a Rail Pass to allow international tourists to travel efficiently and economically across Japan. Planning to head to Japan? Check out our 7D6N Muslim-Friendly Tokyo-Osaka Itinerary!

  • Shopping: A main part of travelling is to shop! You can search or read up on popular shopping streets/malls in the country. Most countries offer tax refund services so don’t forget to bring your passport when you shop. If you’re planning to visit Korea or Japan to shop, you can check out these cheap brands in South Korea or these 11 shopping spots in Osaka!

  • Eateries: There’s no better way to immerse in the local culture than to try the local cuisine If you’re planning to indulge in local delights, check out our halal food guide in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Busan, Seoul, or Jeju!

Step Five: Get Insurance

  • Get Insured: Travel insurance is important as it offers numerous benefits. You should check that your travel insurance covers important factors such as medical expenses and Covid-19. Other factors would be loss of baggage, adventurous activities coverage, or trip cancellation

Step Six: Pack Your Bags and Prepare Cash

  • Pack Important/Appropriate Items: Dress for the weather! Pack your clothes based on the season/area you’re going to stay in the longest. Pack the essentials. If you plan on buying things there, pack light so you have enough space to store your new stuff. Remember to bring important medication, if any.
  • Card Payments and Prepare Cash: Most cards will charge a foreign transactional fee. To avoid this, you should look into getting a travel debit card! While most places offer contactless payment, having cash in hand is good to have as some places may not offer card payments.

During the Trip

  • Get ready your necessary documents
    • Have a hard copy of all the documents you’ll need, for example, visa documents, vaccination certificates, and flight booking details for a smooth transition! You can also print out your travel planner if it’s easier to refer to.
  • Rent wifi or buy e-sims
    • Rent wifi or buy e-sims for the appropriate duration you’ll be staying. This can be done at most airports or you can get them on travel apps such as Klook.
  • Download the necessary applications
    • Some countries such as South Korea and China don’t use Google, so it’s best to download the apps used in the country such as Naver for South Korea and Baidu for China. You should also download transportation apps such as KakaoTaxi for South Korea or JapanTaxi for Japan, in case you want to use a taxi as a form of transportation.

  • Explore on your first day
    • Make the most of your first day by exploring the area you’re living in! Check out what can you find in your area, if there’s a convenience store nearby, or if there’s halal food nearby.
  • Stick to your travel planner/itinerary
    • Once you’ve accommodated yourself to your hotel/accommodation, you can now freely do the activities you’ve planned! However, you should be adaptable as external factors can occur that’ll force you to change plans, such as weather.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to locals
    • Locals know better so if you’re lost, don’t be shy to ask for directions or if you want recommendations on places locals usually visit! Afraid of the language barrier? You can use Google Translate or the translation apps available in the country, such as Papago for South Korea.

Post Trip

  • Leave a review for your accommodation/activities/places you visited
    • If you’re really satisfied with your stay/activity, why not leave them a good review? This can help other travellers to understand whether it’s a good fit for them!
  • Unpack and Unload
    • If your accommodation isn’t equipped with a washing machine/dryer, don’t leave your unpacking until the last minute. If you’re lazy to do them at home, drop by a laundromat!
  • Extra: Track your expenses
    • If you want to check how much you’ve spent throughout the trip, you can track your expenses in Google Sheets. This may be useful to understand your spending habits if you’re planning to travel again!

And that’s it! With so many things to consider, it may get overwhelming during the planning stage. However, taking one step at a time is the best way to ensure that you have the best first trip overseas without your parents!

Need more ideas to plan your itinerary? Check out these helpful guides!