Planning a vacation can be exciting, but it’s also important to be organized so that your trip goes smoothly. This is especially important if you’re not a frequent traveler, or if you’re planning a vacation for a large group of people with varying ages and interests. Read on for some key tips to make sure that you can relax and enjoy your time off without hitting any snags. For more information on travel planning, check out sites like NBC’s travel planning page.
1. Choose Your Travel Dates and Destinations
This might sound like a no-brainer, but the location you’re traveling to typically informs the time of year when you’ll take your trip. For example, if you’re traveling to a tropical destination, you’ll want to avoid hurricane season. If you have children, you’ll be planning your trip around their school vacation. Do some research to ensure that the weather and conditions will be ideal when you plan to travel.
2. Comparison Shop for Rates
The Internet makes it easier than ever to book your trip for as cheaply as possible. Take advantage of discount travel sites like Expedia and Kayak to get deals on flights and hotels. Typically, the further ahead you book, the lower your prices will be. However, if you’re shipping off on a whim, there are also plenty of last-minute deals to be had.
3. Protect Your Investment
It’s important to buy travel insurance in case unforeseen circumstances like weather or catastrophic illness make it necessary for you to cancel your trip. Make sure you purchase this protection from a reputable company. You should also always book travel using a credit card rather than a debit card, since you are protected by the credit card company in case of fraud.
4. Take Advantage of Technology
If you have a smartphone, there are plenty of apps that assist you in planning the perfect itinerary. From airline apps that allow you to streamline your travel by providing a mobile boarding pass to apps that give you points of interest along your journey, explore what your phone carrier has to offer that can make your planning as easy as swiping your touchscreen.
5. Avoid Checking Bags
If you’re flying, try to pack everything you need in your carry-on. Not only will you avoid the expensive fees for checking your bags, you also eliminate the possibility of your baggage being lost by the airline. This also means that you’ll have everything you need with you in the event of a long flight delay or other mishap.
6. Allow for Leisure Time
When planning your itinerary, it’s tempting to pack every day full of sights, meals, and activities. However, this is a good way to ensure that everyone in your party will be burned out by week’s end. Instead, try planning one major activity each day, and allowing the extra time for relaxing by the hotel pool or doing spontaneous things that you might not have otherwise been able to experience.