Trying to plan the "big vacation" can be a daunting task, especially if it's your first visit to a particular destination. But take heart, RxForTravelBlues has written this vacation planner to help walk you through the entire process and customize a trip that's right for you.
We strongly suggest you read all the way through the guide before starting your research so you will know what to expect before planning your trip. We recommend you budget a minimum of five hours of research and planning in order to get the most out of your trip. The more places you want to visit or attractions you want to see will increase the amount of time you should set aside to make the arrangements.
When it comes to planning a vacation, there are a few things to consider in order to get the most out of your trip.
- Always start with a budget in mind and stick to it.
- Where to go?
- When is the best time of year to visit the desired location?
- What type of accommodations do you prefer that are within your budget?
- What kind of transportation is available to reach your destination?
Always start with a budget in mind and stick to it.
It will be very tempting to "push" the budget a bit when you begin exploring your options. DON'T do it! You want to be able to take a trip next year and not still be paying off your last vacation.
Where To Stay:
More than any time before, you have options when it comes to selecting accommodations for your "big vacation." Whether you prefer a small bed & breakfast, vacation condominium rental, palatial resort or a budget friendly hotel, in most cases, you will have several options.
I tend to like to save up and stay in beachfront resorts. However, once my kids reached the teen years, I ventured out and decided to try condominium vacation rentals. We recently rented a three bedroom condo in Waikoloa Village on The Big Island of Hawaii for the same price as the resort I was reviewing. Thankfully, instead of sharing a bed with my bouncing, war fighting teen, he will have his own room and I will be able to sleep comfortably in my own room. We also have the opportunity to fix meals should we choose. Not sure the wife is open to that, but the option is there. She much prefers to leave the cooking behind when we go on vacation. The best part of this condo is the fact that we are able to use the pool facilities of the resort I was originally reviewing. That's having my cake and eating it too.
How To Get There:
One of the most costly aspects of your vacation will be the transportation to get there. Flying is typically the most expensive way to travel even with discount fares. If you are able to drive a vehicle, you will save a considerable amount of money, although you have to allocate the extra time it takes to reach your destination.
There are several beautiful beaches in the continental United States. California beaches are shadowed by jagged cliffs and framed with beautiful blue water. Florida has pristine white sand beaches with Caribbean turquoise water clear enough to see your feet even at waste deep. Depending on where you live in the United States, most of these beaches are reachable within a day or two by car.
If you plan to fly, be sure and join Airfarewatchdog to get fare alerts for great bargains on your desired location.
**Tip: Many online providers will return a search for multiple airports within a close proximity. Be sure to arrive and depart out of the same airport if you are renting a car unless you want to pay an enormous upgrade charge for returning the rental car to a different airport.
When To Start Planning:
For me, this is the big one. As a travel blogger, research, reviewing and planning vacations is what I do all the time . Despite that fact, for six months I have been researching for an upcoming family vacation we have planned to Hawaii this next year (even though our departure date is still nine months away). By giving myself enough time to analyze, research and EXPLORE, I was able to reserve my first choice of condos, flight schedules, and activities for the entire trip.
Organize and travel worry free!
I know we are living in the modern age, but I still find myself at times scratching confirmation numbers down somewhere and then later trying to go back and find them what I did with them. In order to keep me organized and have everything in one place, I use a free trip planning app called TripIt. The app can be synced with your email so that confirmed plans can be automatically inserted into the app, or you have the option to add the information manually. I'm a control freak. You can guess which way I choose to do it.
Keep in mind:
When booking the "big vacation" several months in advance, I would strongly encourage you to purchase trip cancellation insurance.
Be sure to pack a good attitude. Travel is stressful for everyone including the service personnel you will be dealing with in airports and resorts. Be flexible and make the most of your journey. Realize those unavoidable things do happen such as weather cancellations and unexpected equipment maintenance. The more stressed you become over a situation you don't have any control of, the more you will need a vacation from the vacation when you get home.
While I'm on the topic of things to pack, I would strongly encourage you to pack snacks of your choice when taking flights. It is amazing how a two-hour flight can turn into an unexpected seven-hour adventure. For that reason, I don't fly on Spirit Airlines any longer. Cheap is not always the best way to go.
Many resorts are now charging fees for everything from housekeeping to daily service fees. Also, many room discounts or specials are non-refundable, non-cancellable. Be sure to read the cancellation clause and check the summary for hidden charges before you press the "confirm" or "book now" button.