When you envision the perfect vacation, you probably imagine yourself doing one of your favorite activities in one of your beloved places or perhaps a new and exciting location. In addition, you probably hope to be happy, relaxed and having fun.
All of this can be true but not without a little bit of planning. Here are 10 tips to help you plan the perfect vacation (and help it stay that way).
Working with a travel agency can help make sure that you get all of the details for your vacation planned correctly, such as travel
arrangements, hotels and activities. However, there are many travel agency frauds out there and these scams can end up costing you a great deal of money and effort.
Avoid this problem by inquiring whether the travel agency has a surety bond. A travel agent surety bond provides a license to travel agents to sell tourist-related services. This bond requires that the travel agency provides the agreed-upon travel services in exchange for the agreed-upon fee or costs.
If you are traveling abroad, plan well in advance to obtain a U.S. passport. Note that it usually takes between 4 and 6 weeks for your new passport to arrive. While expedited service is available, it costs more and may still take up to 14 days.
If you already have a passport, check the date on the passport to make sure that it has not expired. Renewing a passport takes time as well.
Waiting too long to get your passport can cause serious problems and delays, so remember to apply for one at least two months before the start of your vacation.
When selecting the location for your perfect vacation, spend the time to do some serious research on the place. This can make or break your vacation. For example, find out when the best times of year to visit are to help avoid arriving in the middle of the annual flooding season, for example.
In addition, read information and comments from previous travelers before you book and before you leave. People with first-hand experience of the place are often the best source of information about where to go, what to do and (most importantly) what to avoid. This can greatly enhance your vacation experience.
Regardless of how much money you have for your vacation, you will likely need more than you think. Start saving well in advance so that you have the expected amount for travel, lodging, food and activities. In addition, save extra money as an emergency fund. While your perfect vacation will hopefully not include any emergency disasters or problems, having money available if you need it can turn a potential catastrophe into a minor issue.
Factor in Flying
If you are traveling internationally, remember to factor in jet lag before you make your flight arrangements. Many people assume they will be gearing to go the same day or the next after arrival and that is often simply not the case. Rushing through your vacation while exhausted and discombobulated does not make the perfect vacation. Instead, factor in total flight time plus at least one full day and night on each end to let yourself adjust to the new location and time.
When searching or booking travel deals, avoid the temptation to skimp on accommodation costs for hotels. Sure, there might be some cost savings, but in a strange place, a nice hotel can feel like salvation. In addition, three-star and above hotels often offer a free breakfast or other accommodations that can end up saving money since you don’t have to leave the hotel and spend money on breakfast every day.
Read the Fine Print
As mentioned, travel agencies can be a great resource of information and assistance when it comes to planning and booking your perfect vacation. However, be sure to read all documents thoroughly and check the fine print. Travel agencies are notorious for adding on extra costs or fees for various services or activities, which means that you can end up paying much more than intended. Always read everything and ask questions about the total cost for everything, including extra fees, before paying.
Ask for Advice
If you do choose to use a travel agency, find an agency or agent with experience in your chosen vacation area. This can help immensely in terms of making plans since someone who knows the ins and outs of planning for that area can save you a great deal of time and money. Remember to ask for advice about your trip when it comes to where to book, where to go, what to do and what to avoid.
Consider getting travel insurance for your trip, especially if you are traveling to multiple locations, going overseas or will be gone for an extended amount of time. Emergencies happen and things go wrong even in the best of circumstances, so having a little extra protection is never a bad idea.
Watch the Weather
Check the weather reports several times in the weeks leading up to your vacation. This will help you know what to pack and what to bring with you instead of leaving you in shorts and a tank top during a sudden cold spell, for example.
The best advice when it comes to planning your perfect vacation is to start well in advance and plan thoroughly. Enjoy and have fun!
Matt Doyle is an expert in surety bonds and when he is not writing you can find him traveling the world one random place at a time.