Everyone needs a good change of scenery every once in a while, and if you have more than enough vacation days saved up, it might be time to plan your next getaway sooner than later.
Whether you’re traveling with family, heading off for a romantic getaway, or flying solo, planning a vacation can get a little overwhelming. Taking a vacation should be a relaxing experience from start to finish. Heed these helpful tips to simplify the planning process so you can hit the road as soon as possible.
Check Your Calendar
As a first step, take a look at your agenda and find the ideal time to book that relaxing beach getaway or Norway cruise you’ve always dreamed of. A weekend getaway is far easier to plan than a two-week expedition to Iceland, so make sure you have the space in your schedule to accommodate the kind of trip you’re trying to take.
Check-in with your travel partners to see if they have any conflicting events with your chosen dates, and make sure to secure time off with your boss. It’s helpful to consider both the on and off seasons of any destination and to be mindful of seasonal weather patterns so you don’t get caught in a tropical destination in the middle of hurricane season.
Assess Your Finances
Your travel budget will dictate a lot about your next adventure, so take a good look at how much you can spend on a vacation. Your budget may be big or it may be small, but the amount of money you have available doesn’t disqualify you from taking the vacation of your dreams. It just may inspire you to be more creative with your finances.
No matter what your budget, you can likely make a relaxing, fulfilling trip possible with just a few tweaks. Sometimes, it’s more economical to fly into a smaller, nearby airport or stay at a hostel for a few nights, while splurging for better accommodations for part of the trip. If you can save money by booking accommodations with a kitchen to prepare meals most nights, it could free up some cash for more expensive plane tickets or once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Choose a Destination
Though you may know you’d like to fly off to Hawaii, narrowing down an exact location is an important next step in the planning process. Even in larger cities, different neighborhoods, or even nearby cities, have something unique to offer. Look at various airports, forms of travel, and different attractions in your desired destination to give yourself a better idea of what kind of experience you’d have in different situations.
If you have a destination bucket list, it’s never too soon to start crossing those off. You’d be surprised at how much more accessible some locations are than they seem.
Look for Deals
Even with lots of cash to spend on a vacation, it’s a good idea to look into making it happen with fewer resources. The less money you spend on more costly expenses like plane tickets or rental cars, the more money you have to invest in experiences at your destination.
There are several websites dedicated to helping you find the least expensive options for travel, often with regular email notifications when prices drop. Many travel companies will offer a discount if you book both travel and accommodations at the same time, so try to explore different options to save some money in smart ways.
You’ve nailed down a location and cleared your calendar, and now it’s time to pull the trigger on booking your travel. If you’re purchasing a plane ticket to an international destination, make sure to double-check the arrival and departure times, as sometimes they arrive a day or two later. Make sure that when you get to your destination, you have a way to get around, too.
From property rentals to five-star hotels, there are more options for accommodations than ever. Be sure to book nightly stays in desirable areas within close proximity to the sights in case you need to make a pit stop in the middle of the day.
After you’ve figured out how you’ll get there and where you’ll be staying, look at a few maps to see what the area has to offer. It’s helpful to look at the hours and days of operation to make sure you’re not scheduling a Monday afternoon trip to a museum only to arrive and see that it’s closed.
Look at your travel days and start looking into restaurants and public transportation near where you’re staying and what you want to see. The better of an idea you have of where you can grab a bite after a long hike, the smoother your trip will be — and the more efficiently you can spend your time.
Planning travel is a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be a hassle. With these tips in mind, your next trip can be as stress-free and relaxing as you deserve it to be.