The more prepared you are, the more enjoyable your vacation will be. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your summer getaway. Here are some vacation planning tips to get your started.
Try Multiple Small Vacations
Planning one long holiday annually puts incredible stress on you and your loved ones. Plus, if your vacation doesn’t go as planned, you’ll have to wait an entire year for the next one.
Booking shorter vacations relieves stress throughout the year, and it’s usually easier to get time off, too. You can also take advantage of off-season discounts if you plan wisely.
Plan a Staycation
You don’t need to incur the expense of an exotic vacation in faraway places if your goal is to unwind and enjoy yourself. Check out what your local area offers and stay close to home, instead. It will cost you less and you’ll probably discover intriguing places in your area you’ve never had a chance to explore.
When flying long distances, consider stopping for an extended layover along the way. Many airlines allow you to do so without an additional charge. It’s a great way to see a new city and an excellent way to avoid jet lag too. It’s a great option for children who can’t sit still on a plane or for those who get unbearably restless on long flights.
If the airline doesn’t offer layover options, consider buying multi-city fares, rather than individual tickets. That way you can plan your stops and still save.
Research The Area Thoroughly
The business of travel companies, airlines, and tourism boards is enticement. They want you to visit and spend your hard-earned money, but beware. Just because a location looks enticing, it doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you.
Does the place have activities, food, and transportation suitable for your party? I know a vegan couple who traveled to a country and discovered most restaurants only offered meat and seafood.
Another elderly group with mobility issues found their accommodations were on a very steep hill and because of this, they needed to use taxis every day. Yet another group found their “beach view” was from a hotel 5 miles away from the water and their only access to an ATM was a rickety ride on a local bus. They did not have access to the internet or a telephone, either.
Don’t forget to check visa and immunization requirements, too. Otherwise, you may not get into the country at all.
Choose Less Popular Destinations
When you want to visit a popular location there’s usually a price tag attached to your decision. Instead, try staying just outside the center or even in a nearby city. You can still visit the sights, but you’ll pay less and the area will probably be quieter. Just make sure that there’s affordable and convenient transportation available and you’ll save a bundle.
Use Alternative Airports
There’s no doubt major airports are very busy, so whenever possible choose alternative airports. In the US, try Long Beach instead of LAX, Bellingham instead of SeaTac, and Waco instead of Dallas/Fort Worth.
Abroad, you may find deep discounts if you fly into one of the four other airports in London instead of Heathrow and Campiano airport instead of Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino airport in Rome. These alternative airports usually have excellent transportation connections, still get you to your location, and usually cost less.
Use a Travel Agent
Most people book their own flights and accommodation today, because so many online sites exist and it’s easy. However, travel agents have insider knowledge and often know what to avoid and what to expect from holiday destinations.
While a sunny holiday in Hawaii might sound ideal, it won’t be very relaxing if you have children and your hotel room sits on a busy nightclub street. Travel agents can often recommend family-friendly accommodation, access promotions, and find the best route to your destination so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy.
Double Check Your Documents
Check the validity of passports and ensure that you have the necessary visas. Make copies of these and your credit card information and store them securely in the cloud. Always review your airline tickets before your flight date. It’s easy to confuse dates and times, especially when making connections, so add them to your smartphone or carry a small calendar.
Don’t forget to confirm your flights and if possible, print or download your boarding passes. It saves time at the airport instead of standing in long lines.
You will want to review your medical insurance if you’re planning on leaving the U.S. too. If your carrier does not provide coverage, you can buy a separate policy. Otherwise, you’ll pay out-of-pocket if you or someone in your party must deal with an injury.