Travel Tips

How to Plan A Trip For Someone (Steps Involved)

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Last Updated on January 30, 2023 by Rose Morah

Planning a trip for someone is usually not a smooth process, especially if it’s a surprise trip for a loved one or a friend. 

The first time I planned someone’s trip, I ended up losing a lot of cash and spending more than I should have. I was under stress that made me regret the whole idea.

But, over the years, the mistakes I have made and seen others make have taught me critical lessons, and today, planning a trip for someone has now become a walk in the park.

Whether you are planning a surprise trip to gift someone, a weekend getaway, or an airline ticket gift for someone special, this article covers the steps to follow when planning a trip for someone.

Let’s dive in.

Where do they want to go?

Before planning their trip, you need to know where the person you’re planning the trip for wants or would like to visit.

For example

  • If the person is your boss or it’s a work-related trip, ask them directly where they want to go.
  • If it is a surprise trip, you could indirectly enquire about the places they would like to visit someday or what’s on their travel bucket list. This is when planning a surprise trip for your boyfriend, husband, girlfriend, wife, or parents.
DON’T start to plan the trip if you are not sure of where they would like to go.

You need to have other different destinations that they would love to visit, and not just one. I will explain why in a short while.

See also: The Ultimate Women’s Safari Packing List (With Printable Checklist).

Importance of enquiring before planning a surprise trip

  • They may have visited the place several times before. This will not make it a great surprise.
  • They may not love some places or have fear or anxiety about visiting some places or some parts of the world.
  • Health conditions. They may not be medically fit to travel for long hours or some of the destinations may not be medically advised for them to visit. 

See also: Incredible Virtual Reality Travel Experiences (Including Free Tours).

Find out the Visa requirements

One time I did a lot of work planning a trip. I prepared and researched the best places to visit. Sadly the trip never came to pass. It turned out that the person I was planning the trip for did not meet the destination’s visa requirements.

A good rule of thumb is to check online if the person meets the Visa requirements before going ahead with other plans once you’ve settled on a destination.

A surprise trip can be a trip to study abroad, and it can even be a trip for someone to come to stay with you for some time abroad.

Checking the Visa requirements first will save you a big time!

Using a travel agency vs doing it yourself

When planning someone’s travel, it’s generally up to you to decide if you want to do it yourself or let a travel agency do all the work for you.

Before deciding, it is essential to know the advantages and disadvantages of using a travel agent vs. doing it yourself!

I will list the advantages and disadvantages that I have encountered over the years to help you decide.

Advantages of not using a travel agency to plan for your trip (Doing it yourself)

1. Saves you money

When doing it yourself, you can search for cheap flights and hotel packages to your destination, saving you on travel.

You only need to do extra work to search for flights and hotel deals to your destination. 

Check out how to find cheap last-minute flights to help you get cheap flight deals.

See also: My Secret to traveling the World for Free (Step by Step guide).

2. You are more in control

Many unforeseen events may arise after booking with travel agencies such as:

  • Last-minute flight cancelations, which might leave you stranded and confused.
  • You may end up spending more money on other fees and extra charges that you weren’t aware of. 

Read more on the disadvantages of using a travel agency when traveling.

Disadvantages of not using a travel agency to plan for your trip (Doing it yourself)

1. Time-consuming

It takes time to search for the best prices, destinations, and things to do when you are doing it all by yourself. Not unless you have been to that place before.

2. Stressful for beginners

If it’s your first planning this kind of trip, I bet it’s going to be stressful. There are many things you will need to know before planning someone’s trip. But that’s where this article comes in.

Advantages of using a travel agency when planning a trip

1. It is fast

All you need to have is your destination, and they will do the rest. 

They will give you the best travel itinerary based on the type of person traveling. This is because they usually have ready travel packages available for any person traveling. 

Hence, you will get:

  • Business trip package.
  • Babymoon travel package.
  • Honeymoon package.
  • Anniversary package.
  • Elderly/ Parents travel package and many more.

2. Convenience

What I love most about booking via a travel agency is that they take care of the transfers from the airport and the hotel to where you will be visiting while on your trip.

They also give you someone to guide you while at your destination, making the trip more enjoyable.

They also take care of the food and drinks, depending on the package that you choose.

So, if you have the money, they can make a good surprise trip for a loved one.

Important things to note when booking with a travel agency:

1. Always make sure there is proper communication. 
They need to send you the booking details and other essential documents/info via email.

2. Know all that is included in the travel package;
Are the transfers included?
Are food and drink included?
Does the total cost include the activities charges for the thing that they have included in your package, or will you have to pay for them upon arrival? For example, when visiting a National Park e.t.c

3. What will happen if they cancel the trip?
Will they refund all your money?
What steps should I take?

But if you decide to do it yourself, move on to the next point.

Find and compare flights

You need to have a list of different places they would like to visit because;

  • If you are on a tight budget, you will always have other flight options to destinations that suit your budget.
  • It will be easier to also find and compare flights.

Booking airline ticket

If you are the one sponsoring the trip, here is what you will need when booking their airline ticket;

1. Have their passengers’ information.

You will need to have;

Their names as are listed on their government-issued identification card (ID) or passport.

Don’t make even a minor mistake on the characters, including the spelling. This could be a huge mistake. So, take care and be sure before you book.

Have other basic information such as their address, phone number, and age. 

Age is important because different airlines have different regulations when booking an airline ticket for a minor or an elderly.

When purchasing an airline ticket for a minor, read the fine print before clicking “Buy.” This is because you need to find out;

– What form of id is required for the minor to fly?
– what are the airline’s requirements when dropping off/ picking up a minor?
– If the minor is unaccompanied, find out if they may be prohibited from flying on a flight with a long layover.

2. Double-check the Visa requirements

Before booking the airline’s itinerary, double-check the Visa requirements to avoid ruining the whole itinerary. 

3. Remember the extras”

When booking someone’s airline ticket, remember to consider paying for the extras, depending on who you will be booking.

For example, if you book a ticket for your elderly parents, remember to pay for their luggage. If you are booking a flight for a pregnant woman, remember to secure the best seat for them. 

If this is a surprise trip or you are gifting someone a trip, perhaps you might also consider;

  • Paying for extra legroom.
  • Paying for meals and drinks.
  • Paying for checked bags.

And additionally, if this is a parent or someone very special to you, you wouldn’t want them to get stuck at the airport counters with fees they were unaware of or expecting.

TSA PreCheck or CLEAR are some of the programs that help go through the airport fast. To help you save time at the airport, be sure to check out how to get through airport security faster.

This will be helpful, especially when the person traveling is older or medically unfit to deal with the travel hassles at a busy airport.

4. Payments

You use any payment method without a problem. But remember, since you are not paying for your ticket, you will put the ticket holder’s information on the airline’s ticket.

Additionally, check if the airline requires the passenger to provide the credit card they used when booking the ticket. This is usually indicated as “Verification Upon Arrival.”

But for a smooth time at the airport, I recommend sending an email with an authorization letter stating that you booked their ticket. In that email, attach a scanned copy of both sides of your credit card (with your expiry date and security code masked), sign it, and email the airline. 

I once experienced this on Singapore Airlines, but this should not worry you.

These situations are rare and mostly happen as a security measure. Be sure to check the online air ticket scams and tips to avoid them.

If you don’t want to deal with credit card issues at the airport, use a travel agency to book airline tickets.

Using frequent flyer miles to pay for someone’s airline ticket

You can use your frequent flyer miles to buy someone a ticket by either;

  • Booking them an award ticket from your account by making a reservation in their names.
  • Gifting the points to the person by transferring them into their account for ticket purchase.

It’s cheaper to book an award ticket from your account since no processing or transfer fees are involved.

And again, airlines have varying requirements and guidelines regarding how you use your frequent flyer miles to buy a ticket for someone.

Therefore, be sure to check your airline’s requirements and regulations or call their customer support to avoid any issues arising while checking in at the airport.

Planning for the accommodation

It’s no doubt that this planning stage can be stressful. But to avoid the stress, you can book an all-inclusive hotel/resort package that will be suitable for the type of person traveling. 

This way, you will kill many birds with one stone. 


  • You don’t need to pay for transfers from one place to another. Most all-inclusive hotel packages cover these costs.
  • There are many activities and things to do at all-inclusive resorts.
  • You will already have an itinerary for the trip. 

If it’s your first time booking an all-inclusive hotel or resorts vacation package, check out our articles on how to plan an all-inclusive vacation and get the best deals on all-inclusive vacation packages. 

Can you book a hotel for someone?

Yes, you can book a hotel for someone. However, ensure you find out the hotel’s check-in process for the person you are booking the hotel for.

Hotels have varying policies. It would be best if you found out more before booking a room for someone else using the following payment method:

Credit Card

When using your credit card to pay, some hotels will require an Account Authorization Form/ Credit Card Authorization form if the guest’s name is different from the name on the credit card. 

It is possible to use your credit card to book someone else a hotel room as long as you follow their credit card guidelines.

 Wire Transfer

The hotel’s policy varies significantly in regard to the wire transfer method. It would be best if you call the hotel to inquire before paying. 

Before booking, always call the hotel to find out their policies when booking a hotel room for someone else because some have stringent guidelines.
When booking a reservation, remember to add the name of the person that will be checking in.

Can you book a hotel for someone using points?

Yes, some hotels will require you to book directly using their names. Others will need you to book under your name, then add them as additional guests.

Check out hotel safety tips before booking a hotel abroad. 

Hello there! My name is Rose. I’m passionate about electric cars and clean energy. My adventurous spirit and journalistic pursuits make each day fascinating and far greater. I consider traveling not just about the grandeur moments, but the little elements that transform the whole experience.