Don’t Pack Your Bags for Your Vacation Until You Are Fully Prepared
Most people now-a-days book their travel without any travel agent, agenda, or any real plan. It’s almost romantic to just throw your worries out the window and hop on a plane to find your inner peace, wherever you decide to run off to. In theory, this sounds like a great thing. In reality, it can wind up very disastrous if you’re not careful. Without checking the visa requirements, vaccine recommendations, and currency information about the place you are traveling to, you can literally strand yourself somewhere or put yourself in dangerous situations. But, never fear. We are here to help set you up for success on your ultimate vacation.
Planning is Key
What does planning entail? It’s not just about deciding where you want to go. Planning involves hopping onto Kayak, Orbitz, Travelocity, AND Expedia to compare the flight and hotel details and to see where you can get the best deal. Lucky for you, most of these deal-finding searches compare with their competitors so you don’t have to check each site separately.
When you search, don’t just check once. Give yourself enough time so you can check back daily until you find the best deal. Rumor has it that it’s cheaper to book your adventure at night on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening. Try each day for yourself until you find the deal you want for the best rate. Be sure to clear your cookies in between searches, as prices will usually go up if you don’t.
Also, as mentioned above, be sure to hop onto the website for the US Department of State’s travel section to see any visa requirements and recommended vaccinations for all of your planned trips. Allow plenty of time to acquire a visa if a visa is needed to visit the country of your choice.
There’s More to Planning Than You Think
Booking the best price on your hotel and flight isn’t the only step to planning. Now that you know when you’re going and where you’ll wind up, you’ll need to book a transfer from the airport to your hotel. Most airports have a cab lane, but it’s important to be sure you wouldn’t rather save money by booking a Super Shuttle (yes, they do exist in other countries), hopping on Wi-Fi to get an Uber, or taking a bus.
Rome2rio.com is an amazing website that will tell you exactly how much time and money you will spend traveling from anywhere in the world to anywhere else in the world. It gives you many options to choose from, and you can pick your favorite method of travel (down to the subway or bus number).
What Landmarks Do You Want to See?
Next, start researching the landmarks you want to see in each place you are traveling to. Once you’ve researched and picked your favorite activities to do on your trip, be sure to know what time they open and close and which days they don’t operate. That’s good to know, as many places overseas close on days we wouldn’t expect them to. Can you book your tickets in advance? Do so if you can, as it can help you cut the line when you arrive onsite. For instance, you get to cut the maze of lines at the Louvre when you book your tickets in advance. If you want a guided tour of an area, you must book it in advance. Viator.com is a great reference for booking tours.
It’s not enough to just decide on the activities that you want to do. Head to Google Maps and see which activities are closest to each other. Plan your day out on Google Maps to ensure it works with the time you have. You can pinpoint all the places you want to go, get directions from each place to the next, screenshot them, and save them as images to reference. If you want to go a step further, create a schedule with this, form a pdf with your maps, and schedule together in one document. Save it in your iBooks app if you have an iPhone. Now you can pull it up regardless if you have service or not.
Speaking of your phone, be sure to know what to do with your phone when you are traveling. If you are traveling for a long trip and need service, be sure to switch to a new plan that will accommodate your trip. Otherwise, be sure that you will have Wi-Fi when you need it. Turn your “Roaming” off in your phone so you aren’t charged roaming fees when someone unexpectedly calls or texts you.
Prepare a budget and plan out your trip in advance. Be sure to allow extra money just in case, as new things always come up on the fly when you are traveling. Again, Rome2rio.com is very reliable in helping you figure out how much it will cost to get from point A to point B, and most attractions list their prices on their websites. Be sure you’re not missing any fees.
Make sure you pack efficiently. You don’t have much space to comfortably travel so bring practical outfits. Be sure to bring layers, as layers are the key to being ready for any type of weather and environment. Perhaps, pack a few fun outfits for nights out, but don’t overdress daily solely for good Instagram photos. A cute pair of jeans with a tank top, sweater, and jacket can go a long way and turn into many different looks if necessary.
To summarize, always be prepared for any trip. The key to the best trip you can have is being prepared for anything and everything. Happy travels!