Traveling is an exciting part of life, but heading to an unfamiliar destination may be pushing the excitement too far for some people. When there’s familiarity, it’s easy to know where to begin your vacation planning. But how exactly do you travel to a place that you know nothing about? In this post, we’ll give you step by step instructions to assuage your traveling fears and make your next trip to places unknown a reality!
Step 1: Choose a Destination & Length of Stay
First, you’ll need to figure out what kind of vacation you’d like. Would you prefer to lounge on a beach chair soaking up the sun or are you dying to explore a cultural hot-spot? Do you want to have a thrilling time and knock items off of your bucket list or do you need to re-energize and rejuvenate? Once you decide on your vacation style, you should be able to narrow down your destination options. Minube is a fun app to try. It suggests destinations based on your mood and other factors. If you have a few places in mind, do google searches for “experiences” or “vacations” in your chosen destination cities for comparison. Tripadvisor is a great resource you’ll want to utilize while making your decision. You can look up a city and find everything from attractions and tours to accommodations and restaurants! It’s a great way to scope out fun things in different locations to compare and contrast when making a final decision. Then, once you’ve decided on a destination, you’ll want to determine how long to stay to fit in everything you’d like to do.
Step 2: Choose a Budget
Your budget is what’s going to drive all of your planning. It will determine whether you stay in a 4-star hotel or a hostel and if you go parasailing or just sunbathe all day. This vacation budget worksheet is a fabulous resource. It encompasses just about every known travel expense (even the ones you forget about) with the option to add more lines. If you find that your budget is tight and it’s not possible, try getting creative before throwing in the towel. Can you go at a different time of year when it’s less expensive? If your dates aren’t flexible, there are budget sites for everything nowadays. You can probably find a cheaper way to get there and a cheaper place to stay if you look hard enough. Or, say you really want to visit a museum, but it’s not in the budget. Is there a way you can cut down on eating out to compensate? Review what you’ve budgeted for and make sure that you have your money allocated to the things that will bring you the most amount of happiness.
Step 3: Research Your Destination
Then, research, research, research! It may not sound like the fun part, but doing your due diligence will keep you from wasting money and time, and even help to keep you safe. The best place to start is talking to family and friends who’ve been there. They usually give the best tips since they’ll naturally want to talk about their vacation and they’ll want to help you at the same time. Also, don’t discount the old-fashioned paperback guide books. Head to your local library to grab a couple so you can get a nuts-and-bolts rundown of the place you’re about to visit. Those handy guides are often out-dated, but they can really help you decide on the broad aspects of your trip: the best season to visit, some of the top things to do in the area, suggested itineraries and cultural aspects you may want to take into consideration. Lonely Planet is a good on-line version of them if you can’t find a hard copy. Then, to get more personal selections, sites like TripAdvisor, Oyster, Airbnb, Trippy, Yelp and Cruise Critic will be your best friends. You can get reviews, tips and even visitor-based photos from people that have visited the resorts, gone on the excursions and eaten at the restaurants you’re considering. Travel bloggers are informative, as well. Their destination posts are often filled with beautiful pictures and give a great in-depth look at a place. If you’re strictly visual, and Instagram search on your destination will show you the beauty of your future travels. Also, Facebook pages for the places you’re visiting are a good way to snatch up deals and get insider info.
Step 4: Solidify Details
Now on to the exciting part! After you’ve planned out your vacation, you can solidify all of the details: book your flights, your accommodations and make your transport arrangements. Apply for any permits or required paperwork you may need for excursions ahead of time, such as releases needed for visiting certain temples. Secure your passport and make sure to have some of your destination’s currency on hand before you leave your country.
Step 5: Get Outta Town and Enjoy your Vacation
Are you still reading this? Go have some fun and enjoy your vacation!