By now we all should know the five 5 W’s of communication: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. The 5 W’s is a term used for understanding the basic blueprint of communicating with one another. Whether we apply it to complete full comprehensive paragraphs when writing essays, or using it to complete an invitation with full details, or even when we needed to ask our mom to let us go out to that party happening this weekend.

We use this blueprint every single day.

I use the 5 W’s especially in the first stage of pre-planning my travels. Right before I even book my ticket, I have to be able to answer the 5W’s, or at least know my options.

Note: “How” is also apart of the lesson when learning about the 5 W’s, although it doesn’t even start with a W.

Lets just say its like a cup of hot chocolate. You don’t need the whip cream but it makes the experience complete. “How” is the whip cream in this analogy. It completes the understanding, and the experience….. Anywhos.

WHO: Who is going on the trip?

Are you going to travel alone? Or are you traveling with someone?

This is the of the most important out of the 5 W’s to me. The answer to this question determines the foundation of the trip.

If you’re traveling solo, then everything’s on you; bills, decisions, and responsibilities. Traveling alone has many benefits. You’ll have no other choice but to interact with locals more often, explore on your own terms, and make the best of each moment, seeing that if anything is to go wrong you’ll have no one else to blame but yourself, and with that creates experience.

If you’re traveling with someone, then determining who you’d be traveling with becomes a major key. This choice is another layer of the foundation. There’s plenty of benefits when traveling with a travel buddy. Like shared financial responsibility, a sense of company, and a trustworthy personal photographer. And speaking of personal photographer, make sure to talk about each others good angles before traveling. And make sure to take multiple photos of EACH OTHER. No one likes a one-snapper. Maybe the photo that you took of you travel buddy didn’t look as nice to them as it does to you? You have to take it over, this could be a once in a lifetime experience. This is a very important factor. Communication is KEY when traveling with someone, so make sure the person you’re traveling with is into the things that you’re into as well. And keep in mind that once you invite someone to travel with you, the trip is no longer your experience, it then becomes an OUR experience type of trip. Be open-minded.

WHAT: What are you going to do on your trip?

As any airport customs officer would say “What is your purpose for traveling here?”. This doesn’t need to be answered right away when pre-planning your trip, nor does it need to be answered at all sometimes. But it is always good to know your options. Time is money and money is time. How will you be spending it?

Will this trip be for relaxation? Exploring? Documentation? An event? Visiting Friends or Family? Or Just because?

WHERE: Where will you be traveling to? And more importantly, Where will you be staying?

Whether you found an awesome travel deal, or always wanted to go to a specific country, city, or state getting an understanding of the that area beforehand will do you well. Do a quick Google search of the place, and check out it’s trending headlines, political topics, and travel reviews.

Having an idea of your accommodations is very important as well. Will you be staying with family or friends? Booking a hotel? A hostel? a Bed & Breakfast? Or couch-surfing?

WHEN: When do you want to travel?

Most times, answering “Where” will bring you closer to answering “When”. There’s many factors into answering this part, like weather conditions, and politics.

If you’ve found a great deal with specific dates, be spontaneous! Close your eyes, take a deep breathe, and book it! Obviously at that point you already know when you’ll be travelling. But be aware that you will have to accommodate any other plans that you had scheduled around your travel dates.

If you’re into documenting and journalism then majority of aspects of things wouldn’t matter to the timing of your trip. Naturally, things do happen even after you’ve confirmed your travels so just be mentally prepared of all possible situations.

Note: The year is divided into three seasons when it comes to traveling:

  • peak season: mid-June to August
  • shoulder season: April to mid-June
  • off season: November to March

For example, off seasons are the best times to travel to Europe; cheaper accommodations, airfare, less crowds and lines, and much more. But weather conditions can be the drawback of it all. These are all key details to consider.

WHY: Why are you traveling?

Why not?

The world is yours. There’s about 247 different countries on Earth. Whether you have one penny to your name or a bunch of travel points, go outside and create an adventure. You deserve to see what more the world has to give to you. You deserve to see different perspectives, cultures, and lifestyles. You deserve to see and hear the diversity of people who share Earth with you; the different dialects and languages they have to offer. It’s not hard, and it’s not supposed to be. Fear of stepping outside of our comfort zone is hard, but it is possible. And it is life-changing.

No matter what, you’ll never be prepared for that change, but you’ll be happy you did it.

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  1. Benni says:

    Good article and nicely written!
    I definitly fall into the category of a solo traveler, because I enjoy being spontaneous. Something that falls short when traveling with someone or in a group. And you always meet new people in hostels and everywhere you go really. So unless you want to be alone, you can always find like-minded travelers. 🙂
    Of course getting pictures of yourself is a little harder when traveling alone, but usually I let the motive in front of me be the most important aspect. I don’t need to put myself in the foreground.

    But I have to mention that it’s a bit hard (if not impossible) to determine a fixed season for traveling, since each country has different ones. For example what you mentioned as “off season” is the “peak season” in Thailand. So in terms of that you would have to do specific research for each country you are going to.

    Other than, great article again. 🙂

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