When it is cold out and all you can think about is getting away from it all means it is a great time to start planning for a vacation.
FIGURE OUT WHERE TO GO
The first step is figuring out where you want to go. This isn’t as simple as it seems, I mean, I guess you can spin the globe and point and go to where you land but if you want to be strategic in your planning there is some work to be done. First brainstorm a list of where you would like to take a vacation. Next, make a list of all of the airports in your area. I like to include airports within a 3 hour driving window. Then research which airlines fly out of those airports and which cities are direct flights. This helps you think about quick vacations you can have. If you are like me, you like direct flights! Sometimes you will have to be ok with making a connection but the vacations where I need to make connections are usually ones I need to be ok with anyway because they are further away. The research that you have done will usually help you figure out destinations that you can go to easily and also ones where you will have to think more carefully about.
RESEARCH THE AREA
The first step was to help you to narrow the areas you would like to go. Now, it is important to research the area. The first thing I like to do is check travel conditions and make sure it is safe to visit it now. You can do that by going to the US Travel Advisory and checking. I like to also check past weather conditions to make sure that the dates I am traveling or willing to travel are the kind of conditions I am ok with. Not everyone wants to be caught in the tropics during hurricane season – not me! You might want to join facebook groups based on your travel destination.
PRELIMINARY FLIGHT & HOTEL RESEARCH
The next thing I do is I start searching for hotels and flights. I make note of difference in days to see if there is a cheaper option. You will start noticing a pattern in the days that you fly or book a hotel that it will be cheaper. Once you figure out that time – that means you can actually nail down your trip dates. Once I nail down my dates is when I start getting serious about making my reservations. You can use skyscanner.com, google flights, hopper app, and scottscheapflights.com – these are great to do your preliminary research for flights. For hotel searches, I will use booking.com, hotels.com, and tripadvisor.com to research hotels. Once I narrow a couple hotels I might want to book, I hop onto facebook and join groups. There are tons of groups for all-inclusive hotels, etc. The people staying there are usually uploading recent pics and reviews. You can also learn more about the hotel and amenities… and here is the best part… sometimes if your resort offers member discounts someone in the group maybe able to get you some upgrades and help… I would still offer a word of caution still.
I just booked my vacation to cancun and found the resort facebook group as an afterthought and I was disappointed to learn that if I used a member of the resort to book for me I would have gotten some awesome perks. Anyway, live and learn. Just thought I would pass that tip on to you.
Be Travel Ready
Make sure your passport is up to date and all the necessary paperwork you need is filled.
Make Your Arrangements
Once you are confident you have the best price for what you are getting. Go ahead and make your arrangements. Make sure that you are mindful of the times of your flights, so that you can arrange for to and from airport transportation. Make sure that you know your luggage allowance. And have a folder with your printed booking confirmations and necessary documents.
Sometimes your resort will have excursions, a spa, etc. Think about what kind of vacation you want and plan the things you want to do.
Depending on what you are doing you will want to develop a packing list or find one that is already made for you online.
ENJOY YOUR TRIP!
After careful planning – now is the time to sit back and relax! Have a wonderful vacation!