I and my family have been traveling to different destination throughout the year and planning for a vacation can still be a difficult task. These are my tips on how you can ease your preparations.
No, wait, don’t start preparing yet. Define you budget first. This is very important because everything depends on the money you can spend. Once you have define the money you can afford for a vacation the next budget planning step is to decide how much money you want to spend during your vacation. This is the budget for basic needs (like food) and shopping. The rest of the vacation money will be spend on traveling and accommodation.
If you want to relax more and don’t count the money you have left once you’re there, I suggest that you chose a closer destination which will reduce the costs for traveling.
The money also defines the length of your stay. Always plan a vacation between 5-10 days. Why? Because less than 4 nights is simply too short to recharge your batteries, while longer than 10 can make you nervous and sometimes even home nostalgic.
This takes us to the first exciting step of the planning: choosing a destination. Think about what you want to do most this year. Maybe it’s something you haven’t done before, a new destination to visit, or maybe you want to relax on a beach, go skiing or hiking… Try to choose at least three things you want to do most.
Considering this and your traveling budget start scanning the destinations that fit your criteria. Probably a few destinations will pop up. At this point one more time think about how you can reach those places and how much it will cost you. This will narrow the list and should make the decision easier.
What I usually do in this step is choose a destination that will cost less to reach and accommodate, meaning having more money to spend there.
We know the budget and the destination, which means the travel expenses have been calculated. What you have to do now is choose an accommodation. This can take hours… who am I kidding, days!
From experience I have learned that the accommodation is a place where I spend the nights only, so the most important thing for it is to be clean.
Decide on the location within the destination where you want to stay. Accessibility is very important. How easy you can move around from there and how close it is from all the attractions or from things you want to do.
A good tip for saving money in popular tourist destinations like Paris is to choose a place further away from the center but near a bus/ metro/ train station. (Traveling in big places like this will require use of public transportation even if you are in the center).
Planning what to do during your stay shouldn’t be a tough task once you know where you are going. Many people tend to skip this, and just go and figure things out once they are there. This may cost you your nerves and precious time finding out what to do. Even if your plan is to just lay on the beach and relax, you still need to check what else there is to do in case you get bored or sunburned. And what if it’s raining? Check the indoor activities, be prepared.
Plan at least half of the days of your vacation. Try to keep things loose in sense of time. Don’t plan to the minute. Be late, be early, take your time and enjoy. It’s your vacation! My advice is to plan at least one special activity each day. If you are traveling in a group it is important to think about what the rest of the people want and spread those activities during your stay. Everyone should be happy like that. And if someone doesn’t want to go with the rest of the group, just let it be.
Planning what to do is especially important if you are staying longer than 6 days. Don’t be lazy and do this at home.
Don’t start packing just yet. Check the weather forecast first. You’re probably thinking you can’t trust the forecast, especially for longer period. Well… you’re right. However it’s nice to know what to expect. And if there is no rain on your summer vacation as predicted who’s going to complain?
We know where we are going, how long and where we are staying. Now we can pack. What should we take? This lovely dress, and that cute one, and one more classy, and some jeans, and t-shirts, and what if it’s cold, should I take a sweater as well, and a jacket, and maybe this vest… I know, packing can be a real pain. Best tip I can give you is to take as much as you can carry, or as much as your partner can carry 🙂
Always think about multi-layer dressing combination and take things that can be combine with more than just one of your other clothing. For example take a t-shirt that will go well with your jeans, but also with one of your dresses. Another tip is to think what you can buy once you’re there, so you won’t take extra pieces of those type of clothing. And don’t forget to take proper shoes.
So, what are you waiting for? Go, plan your vacation!