Most would agree that planning your vacation itinerary is a good idea, but that it’s important to leave room for spontaneity. Here are a couple of tips to make sure that you get the most out of your next vacation. Some are obvious, while others are not so much.
Pre-Travel: Things to Do Before Your Trip
Where Do You Want To Go?
This seems simple, but when given the choice, many travelers will opt for a cheaper flight rather than picking the ideal location. How often do you get to travel internationally? Once a year? Once every three years? In most cases, it’s not worth saving an extra $100 if the destination is not ideal. Think about where you would most want to be, what interests you historically, and what kind of food and activities you enjoy. Think about your decision for a night. If you still want to go there in the morning, chances are it’s for you.
Research, Research, Research!
Once you’ve made a choice on where you want to travel, take advantages of all the resources around you. There’s no doubt that the internet has changed the face of travel in this respect. You can learn all about what to see, where to stay, when to go, etc. Sites like Trip Advisor have given travelers the chance to hear about what others think before taking that trip, booking a car rental, or staying in a hotel. The internet is a great resource for this kind of information, but is not the only one. Ask your friends and family who have been there. Remember the library? You probably still have one in your town. They are under used and provide a wealth of information you won’t find on the internet, all at your fingertips.
Rank Your Sights
Once you have a list of everything you want to do, figure out what is the most important by ranking everything. If you are traveling with a loved one, or with a group, make sure you get input from everyone. Make sub categories if you can, by breaking up kinds of attractions. For example, in Paris, figure out what’s more important, museums, restaurants, nightlife, or public parks/ cemeteries. Let’s say museums are the most important to you. Figure out which ones are you most want to see. Do this with all your categories, and plan accordingly. Make sure you see all your number ones and two’s first, just in case you end up running out of time. If you have extra time, be spontaneous! See something that looks interesting? Better yet, ask a friendly local for advice on where to go. They will always have great ideas you won’t find online.
Pack Lightly, Pack Soon
With airlines charging more and more for baggage, packing light can really make your vacation go a lot more smoothly. If something can be compacted, it’s best to do it. Instead of a raincoat, bring a travel poncho. Don’t bother with an umbrella, in most major cities you can get them for under $5. Once you’re leaving, pay it forward to the hotel, or a taxi driver, they will always find someone who needs one. Pack Early. Many of us wait until the day before to pack. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to run to the store at 10:00 p.m. the night before your flight because you forgot your travel toothbrush.
By following these simple steps, you can almost guarantee a good time will be had by all.
Think I’ve got it all wrong? Is there something I left out? Let me know by leaving a comment!