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A guide to planning your next vacation


A guide to planning your next vacation - Image

You've got some vacation time saved up and are ready for an opportunity to get away from it all. There's only one question: Where should you go?

Travelling is your chance to enjoy some time in whatever manner you find most enjoyable. Because the perfect vacation isn't the same for everyone, it's important to give thought to what kind of trip - and location - will make the most of your time away. Feel free to use this guide before you book your next trip.

Pick your priorities
When it comes to planning a vacation, your first step is to prioritize what exactly you want from your travels. Are you looking for an exciting outdoor adventure? Or would you rather explore museums and high-end boutiques? Are you the kind of person who loves to relax on the beach? Or do you need the high that comes from skiing down snow-covered slopes? Spending some time considering what you want to do on your trip is the first step to planning the perfect vacation.

Once you've decided on the type of vacation you want, make a list of what your trip would ideally include. If you want to relax on the beach, for example, think about what other qualities the best spot would include, whether it's water sports, a bustling night life or complete seclusion from the world. After all, there are millions of beaches in the world, so thinking about these extra details will help you choose the one that's right for you.

The Y Travel blog suggests thinking through the following questions:

  • Why do you want to travel?
  • With whom are you travelling?
  • What kind of trip do you have in mind?
  • How much time do you have?
  • Do you want to learn something?
  • Consider your budget

After you've decided just what you want out of your vacation, create a budget. Look at how much money you've saved for this experience and write it down. Physically putting a number somewhere will help you avoid going over budget once you start booking your trip.

Don't forget to factor in any frequent flyer miles or other travel points you've accumulated. Making the most of these can make your budget stretch a lot farther.

Do your homework
With your budget complete, start researching your options. For instance, you should look into costs associated with:

  • Travel: Consider how you'll get to the location and determine if there are certain days of the week or months of the year when you can get a better rate.
  • Lodging: Compare the price of staying at a hotel, hostel and other options.
  • Activities: Check what activities you can afford and which you might need to skip.
  • Food: If it seems that going out to eat will be expensive, consider booking a room with a kitchen so you can cook some of your own meals to save money.
  • Extras: Don't forget all those little expenses, like souvenirs and extra sunscreen. According to Shelley Frost, writing for USA Today Travel Tips, those things can add up quickly and cause you to go over budget.

Doing your homework before you commit to a particular location will help ensure that you don't regret your decision after you've booked lodging or purchased your plane ticket.

Choose a location
The final step before you start booking the pieces of your vacation is to finalize your location. Based on your priorities, budget and research, opt for the place that satisfies the most things on your list of preferences without going over budget. If your perfect location doesn't fit into your financial guidelines, consider whether it would be better to delay until you can afford that trip, or make some sacrifices.

When you're booking your trip, don't forget to include travel insurance to protect your investment.