Whether you are taking a three-day weekend getaway or a once-in-a-lifetime around the world trip, proper planning will help ensure that your vacation is enjoyable. In order to make that happen, you need to know how much you can afford to spend on your trip.
Be flexible with your travel dates – prices are often lower midweek. Also, be open to long layovers if they are in cities that interest you.
Determine Your Budget
Creating and sticking to a budget may not be the most fun part of planning your trip, but it’s essential. The last thing you want is to be in a foreign country and realize you have no money left!
Examining your finances can help determine if taking this vacation makes financial sense. For instance, if you are still working on paying off debt, it may not be in your best interest to travel right now.
Depending on the destination, you’ll need to consider how much things like lodging and entertainment will cost. For example, a vacation to the rocky mountains might not have much in entertainment costs while a trip to Vegas could include shows and casino gambling. Also don’t forget to factor in transportation costs like plane, train or bus tickets and airport/city transfers.
Determine Your Travel Style
You’re not a one-size-fits-all kind of traveler. Whether you’re a luxury traveler who loves the finer things in life, or you’re the backpacker who loves to see as much of the world as possible, it’s important to know your style so that you can plan the best trip for you.
If you’re an adventure traveler, you want to do as many activities in a day as you can. You love stepping out of your comfort zone and creating memories to last a lifetime.
On the other hand, if you’re a relaxation traveler, you want to relax on the beach, soak in the sun, and hang out at the spa. Knowing your travel style can help you determine who you want to travel with if you’re going on a group trip.
Create an Itinerary
Once you’ve determined your budget and travel style, it’s time to start creating a rough itinerary. Let yourself daydream for a bit and list the places you want to visit and activities you want to do. It’s fine to be a little vague at this point — you can always tweak your itinerary later.
Once you have your list, go through and determine if each destination is doable within your trip’s duration. Use a map to see how close your destinations are and to figure out how long it will take you to get from one place to another.
You may also wish to consider combining activities. Doing things like visiting a landmark and shopping for souvenirs in the same day can help you maximize your time.
Book Your Flights
Once you have a rough idea of the dates and destination of your trip, give your travel agent a call. Discuss your seating preferences, if any special accommodations are needed (like wheelchair access) and whether you want to purchase add-ons like hotel stays and car rentals. Ask about any other discounts or promotions they may be offering, like free upgrades or flight insurance.
Keep in mind that airfares have a tendency to drop when they first hit the market-even up to a year in advance of your trip, so it’s a good idea to get online as soon as possible to see what’s available for your desired dates. Follow the website prompts to enter your personal information, payment details and the details of any fellow travelers you’re traveling with.plan your trip