There are many factors that contribute to the success of a vacation, but one thing is for certain: You can’t have a great experience without planning.
Planning your vacation should be an exciting time, not something you put off until the last minute or spend hours agonizing over. So here are 13 tips to help you plan your next adventure!
Travel planning tips
Avoid waiting until the last minute
Planning your vacation well in advance usually means better deals and more options, so try to get started 6 to 8 weeks before you actually want to travel. You can also get good deals on last-minute travel if you strike quickly, but keep in mind that the kind of accommodations, transportation, and activities you’ll find will almost always be more limited.
Have a budget before you decide to go
Decide on your budget, how much each person in your group can spend, what you’re willing to spend on lodging and amenities—and stick to it!
It’s also good to know how much you can afford to spend on flights upfront. If you’re buying tickets at the last minute, it’s likely that you’ll have to pay more, so be aware of how much your destination will cost in terms of airfare before making a final decision.
Avoid unnecessary fees
Before booking any travel arrangements, consider what fees you may be charged. You can often avoid booking fees that are built into the cost of your hotel or car rental by using a third-party site like Expedia.
Do your homework on where to go
Start by researching destinations you’d like to visit, and then pick one or two (not more!) that fit within your budget.
For example, if your budget is $1,000 for one week of vacation, you might decide to spend $500 on lodging and $250 on airfare, leaving just $250 for all other travel expenses. Compare prices across the board to make sure you’re getting the best deal everywhere.
Be flexible about dates and times
Planning a vacation can take a lot of time, but once you’ve finalized an itinerary it’s not always best to stick to your initial dates and times. Flexibility is key!
Think about the weather at your destination, which might make certain activities impossible or uncomfortable. If you’re not flexible on dates and times, you may wind up missing out on what should be some of the best parts of your trip.
Do a trial run beforehand
Last-minute travel plans can often mean unexpected rescues and spontaneous experiences, which are fun in their own way! But it’s also a good idea to do a trial run at home before you go to make sure your vacation plans are actually doable.
Make a checklist of necessities to pack
You may have travelled recently enough that you don’t have too much to worry about when it comes to bringing all the essentials with you on your trip, but for some people planning a trip can be incredibly stressful if they’re not sure what they’ll need. Checklists are helping in any kind of situation. To make one, we suggest you use Venngage—a free infographic maker that offers a wide range of checklist templates for everyone. Here are some examples from their website!
Give yourself plenty of time to pack
You may be an expert packer, but you might also want to give yourself plenty of time the night before your flight just in case something comes up and delays your packing process (or makes it more complicated than usual).
Be flexible about activities
If you think of your vacation as an opportunity to try activities that are new to you, perhaps you’ll be more willing to try things that might otherwise seem intimidating. Even if they turn out to be not what you expected or hoped for, it’s still unlikely that the experience will ruin your trip!
Consider travel insurance
All vacations have the potential to be ruined by things that cannot be foreseen, so it’s a good idea to consider travel insurance for your trip.
Be realistic about getting from one destination to another
If you’re going somewhere exotic and far-flung, chances are you’ll have a lot of ground to cover before you get there—and chances are you’ll need to be fairly flexible about how much ground you can cover in the time that you have.
Don’t forget to prepare for your return trip
When planning for your vacation it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of getting there, but don’t forget that planning for your return trip is just as important. Leave yourself enough time to get your belongings together and catch a ride to the airport, for example.
Planning a vacation can be stressful, but try not to let stress ruin your trip before you’ve even set foot on your destination. The best way to ensure that you have fun is simply by making sure that you don’t spend too much time thinking about all the different ways something could go wrong.
It’s often not too hard to follow these travel tips: simply be aware of the things that could go wrong and then try your best to prevent them from affecting you. If something does go wrong, remember that it isn’t the end of the world! There are plenty of people who have been in your situation before, so don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.
Now go ahead and enjoy travelling, knowing that you’ve taken every reasonable step to make sure that it goes as smoothly as possible!
Featured image: David Izquierdo/Unsplash