Planning a vacation can be somewhat overwhelming right? Where to go? When to go? How much is it going to cost? These are some of the questions that we all ask ourselves when it’s time to plan that long awaited trip. Am I right?
Here are three simple steps to help you plan a trip while keeping in mind a budget and hopefully getting the best out of your time away.
1. Ask yourself these important questions.
What is my budget? How long do I have? Where do I want to visit? Is this trip for relaxation, adventure, a trip to visit family or friends, etc.?
Asking yourself these questions right away can really narrow down your options. The first question is probably the most important ,and for most of us, the one that gives us a reality check. I mean, sure I would love to go island hopping in Hawaii for an entire month, but my bank account doesn’t seem to agree with my sentiments, sigh! However, not having a big budget for your trip doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing one. Just like having all the money in the world doesn’t mean that you won’t have any problems. Get creative! Don’t have it in your budget for airline tickets, get online to see where you can drive to. Let’s not get bogged down by what we don’t have, let’s utilize what we do have and start making some great memories along the way!
Still haven’t picked out a destination? Go online! Let’s have fun with this process, I mean, we are talking about a vacation here! Type in key words and phrases like “Top places to visit in March” “Best beaches in Florida” “Affordable family vacations”. There are so many blogs, sites, and information online…you literally have the world at your fingertips! I know it can get overwhelming, but try to remember to have fun while in the planning process.
2. Book your accommodations and transportation.
Congratulations on finding your vacation destination! Now, let’s make those reservations. Reserving airline tickets, hotel reservations, and even rental cars well in advance can literally save you hundreds of dollars, gasp! Think about what you could do or buy with that extra money on your trip. While in Italy this past year, we saved up enough hotel points to stay in Venice for two nights…that was an enormous savings! Again, get online, see what hotels are giving special savings or discounts for early reservations. Maybe you wouldn’t mind renting out an apartment from a local? Try visiting sites like https://www.airbnb.com ,this site has over one hundred and ninety countries to choose from along with budget friendly pricing.
Before hitting that reserve button, check customer reviews! Customer reviews can make or break your planning decisions. No one wants to find out that the AC unit in their rental only works when it wants to, or that the staff is rude or unfriendly after they’ve already made those reservations. Try using sites or apps like tripadvisor.com or createtrips.com(for iPhone and iPad only) to see what customers are saying about a particular hotel, restaurant, or attraction. You can even plan your trip itinerary with these very helpful apps, but we’ll get to that more in the next step.
No time to plan ahead? Don’t fret! You can still get last minute deals on certain sites like priceline.com. Once, my husband and I snagged a five star hotel in Orlando for $50 a night, score! Even if you don’t have much time to plan, you can still save on your trip if you take a little time to do your research. It’s not about being cheap, it’s about being travel savvy.
*for more helpful travel planning sites try rome2rio.com where you can enter both your starting and ending destination. This site will show you how to get there and a price estimate. You can also go to kayak.com to compare prices on hotels, airline tickets, car rentals, and more all on one site!
3. Plan out your itinerary.
Now here is where the fun gets kicked up a notch! Scuba? Museums? Going up the Eiffel Tower? What you plan to do on your trip is totally up to you…and, of course, those who are possibly traveling along. Don’t forget this step or wait completely on deciding what to do until you’ve arrived! Some attractions need to be planned well in advance. The Statue of Liberty, for example, tickets must be purchased weeks in advance to secure a trip up to the crown of Lady Liberty. Museums and attractions can be closed on certain days of the week or for holidays. You don’t want to be disappointed, or even worse, disappoint a loved one by not doing your research and possibly miss out on seeing or doing something you’ve always wanted to.
Research the area you’re visiting online and check, ahem, travel blogs for tips or places you might not have even known existed. Maybe, buying a travel book with your destination in mind would be more your style? You can even plan, map out, check customer reviews on attractions, and even book tickets or make reservations from sites that were mentioned earlier…TripAdvisor, CreateTrips, etc.
Planning your itinerary is great, but also keep in mind you’re on vacation! Give yourself some time to relax and maybe go off the beaten path a bit…you’ll never know what you can find or the special memories you’ll make along the way! I find that planning the trip can almost be as fun as going on the trip itself…the anticipation, the choices, the possibilities are endless! I hope you have an amazing trip and enjoy the planning process…happy travels, everyone!
Now back to you! How do you like to plan your trips? Do you have any helpful trip planning tips to share?