10 steps for planning your next vacation
Everyone looks forward to their next vacation, to plan your plan your best trip so far, follow these simple tips and tricks to ensure your next trips will always be memorable.
- Start Planning Now!
If you don’t know by now, planning matters! If you want to have an amazing vacation (especially if you’re on a budget) finalizing your vacation plans early has many benefits from less stress to cheaper flights and accommodations.
I recommend planning at least 8-12 weeks for domestic travel and at least 4-6 months for cruises or international travel before your expected departure date, but since some of us wait until the last minute, START NOW!
Airline tickets and hotel rates increase daily, the further in advance you plan the better your chances are of finding cheap tickets and accommodations. Nothing is worse than changing your plans from a dream destination and budget because you can no longer afford it, or the hotels in the area are all booked (I know this from experience). Plus, it gives you an even longer chance to start saving.
- Choose Your Group Wisely and Ensure Everyone is Committed to Going
This seems like the easiest part of the planning process but selecting a group of people to travel with can either make or break your vacation plans. For women, specifically, try to stick with a small group. From my experience, my best trips have been with 4-6 people. Any more than that, depending on the dynamic of the group and how long your vacation is, cliques begin to form and arguments begin to ensue about the smallest things like what activities to do, which restaurants to eat at, or what type of night life to attend.
Don’t knowingly invite your friends who do not get along on a trip together! No one paid for a trip to bring up old issues from the past or for people to petty to one another (you all could have stayed at home for free and done that).
If you plan to go to a party destination because you plan to enjoy the nightlife, such as Miami or Las Vegas, it’s probably not in your best interest to invite a friend who rarely leaves her house on the weekends.
At the end of the day, choosing who you want to bring on your trip is up to you but going with people who are like minded in the sense that they want to relax and have a good time can make the rest of your planning process a whole lot easier.
- Set a Reasonable Budget and Stick With It
If you are in college or just starting out in the workforce, having a $1000 budget is not to reasonable (unless everyone has a parent or sponsor who’s willing to chip in then go for it).
Starting with a budget rather than choosing a destination first allows you to research the many destinations that your budget allows for instead of getting your heart set on one location and then realizing that you can’t afford to visit your “dream location” at the moment.
Which goes into our next tip…
- Decide Where You Want (can afford) To Go
Based off your budget research the average flight cost and accommodations to determine which destination will get you the most out of your money. Search travel deals and offers around the web, you might end up traveling to a place you never thought of and having the time of your life
- Ask Parents/ Family Members for Help
Don’t be embarrassed or too prideful to ask your parents or family members for some help in planning. They have more than likely planned a few trips back in there day and can more likely than not give you valuable insight.
Plus, many parents have timeshare options or are members of travel companies that give them significant discounts on flights and hotels, that they possibly won’t mind you and your friends using.
- Book Your Flight
Use travel sights to compare the cheapest flight to and from your destination. My favorite is www.fly.com. When picking the date, is shows you the cheapest option on different days just in case you have a chance to be flexible with your travel dates
- Book Accommodations
My favorite sites for booking a location to stay are http://www.trivago.com , http://www.tripadvisor.com , and www.airbnb.com. These sites give you the best deals and sometimes offer discounts for booking through them. Always read reviews before you book accommodations. The last thing you want is to book a hotel because you thought they had nice pictures then show up to the location and its nothing like you expected.
- Plan Activities
Look up fun events that might be happening in the city you are visiting during your stay. A quick google search can suffice or search events using Eventbrite.com. You could be surprised at what festivals or local activities could be happening in you
- Ensure All Last-Minute Logistics Are In Order For EVERYONE
If you are traveling internationally, make sure everyone updates their passport information on the airline sight.
Block your travel days off at work if you haven’t done so already.
Call your credit card company to let them know where you will be traveling, you don’t want to be trying to eat or shop while on vacation only to have your card decline because your bank shut the card off because they thought there was fraudulent activities
Order any clothing or accessories that you would like to have in enough time to arrive before your trip.
- Remember to Relax and Have Fun!
You did not put in all this time and effort to be stressed out every moment during your trip. The tedious part is over, take a deep breath and go with the flow, everything you planned for will go smoothly and your trip will be one you will talk about for a lifetime.