Planning a getaway can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be! Here are 6 key strategies for planning your dream vacation.
Whenever I go on a trip, I use this list and it helps me manage my planning while keeping everything exciting! After all, the best part of vacation prep is the growing anticipation that you will soon get to explore a great place!
1) Budget before anything else.
I hate to start this list on a less-exciting note, but you absolutely must sit down with your travel companions and determine a budget right from the get-go. There's nothing worse than planning your dream trip and then realizing it's beyond your grasp financially. I like to actually write down how many paychecks I'll be receiving between my planning date and the date of my trip, any large expenditures or income that I am expecting in the interim, and my general expenses for that period. From this information, I can figure out how my bank accounts will look at the time of my trip. Then I am better prepared to determine how much I can spend.
2) Consider the season.
If you're looking to travel in the fall, warmer climates might seem appealing. However, take hurricane season into account when planning your trip. Planning a spring break vacation? You may be competing for low rates with families and college students also headed out for a quick getaway. High season is expensive and low season is cheap for a reason no matter where you go. Just be sure you're prepared for seasonal disruptions before you book.
3) Identify your vacations's purpose.
What do you really want to get out of your trip? If it's relaxation you're after, don't make plans to hit up London. The beaches of Aruba, though, might be perfect. Seeking adventure? Sightseeing in Paris might not be your best bet, but give Costa Rica a try. Try to align what it is you're seeking with your destination. This may require some soul-searching.
4) Shop around.
Before you book flights, hotels, or excursions, comparison shop. Use sites like Travelocity or Kayak to get a sense for what else is out there and for how much. Try different airports, different days of the week, and hotels on the outskirts. You may be surprised at the difference in cost and efficiency. Also, be sure to read reviews. TripAdvisor is a godsend for travelers. Read the good reviews and the bad, and browse both professional and traveler photos. With all of this information in mind, you should be better prepared to make an informed decision as to what's best for your taste and budget.
5) Make a packing list.
The value of a well-packed suitcase shouldn't be underestimated. Make a list ahead of time of what you will need for your trip. Be sure to pack for temperature extremes that might be uncommon for your intended locale. Follow these essential packing tips to be sure you're prepared. The sooner you start packing, the better the chances are that you won't miss anything. And isn't there something super exciting about an open suitcase in the corner, ready for adventure?
6) Get advice.
As soon as you've decided on a destination, start asking your family and friends if they have any tips. Chances are, someone you know (or someone they know) has traveled to your vacation spot in the past. Online reviews are invaluable, but there's nothing better than the advice of those who know you best. My parents recommended a great restaurant to us for our trip to Aruba, and it was hands-down our favorite place on the island. They know what we like! When we went to London, a friend of ours even gave us contact information for their relative in case we needed anything, and another friend made a list of all the hotels they had stayed at so we could check them out. People love to be helpful!
And there you have it! What travel advice do you swear by? I hope these tips help you prepare for your next vacation. I'd love to hear about where you're headed! Comment below!
Happy Travel Tuesday!