If you know me, you know I’m a huge wander-luster. I discovered a great sense of independence and freedom when I first stepped outside of my box and decided to spend a summer in Costa Rica. Since then, I was bit by the travel bug and I’ve visited 25 countries in 4 years. I’ve had plenty of experience in what to do and what NOT to do when planning a trip. Here are 10 tips to guide you in planning your next vacation.
- Decide who you want to share the experience with.
Vacation can be the perfect time to escape the hassles of your daily life and spend quality time with friends, family, lovers, or self. When you’re planning a vacation (especially a long one) make sure that you’ll be able to cope with the people you’re traveling with. Choose to vacay with people who will want to do similar activities as you or at least won’t stop you from enjoying your time. If you’re desperate for a quiet retreat, it’s probably not the best idea to set flight with Partygal Patsy who will be forcing shots into your hand for the whole week.
Vacationing alone is also something many people fear, but I’m all for it. It can be a great experience of self-discovery, but it can also be dangerous. If you are planning to travel alone, make sure you pick a location that is safe. It is probably a good decision to pick a place where you can speak or understand the language as well, so you are able to communicate and navigate on your own.
- Research the Destination. Read Reviews.
There are so many different outlets which you can use to help research a place when you are picking a destination. My favorites are TripAdvisor and Instagram. Before I go on a trip, I always see what people have to say about the city, the food, the hotels, and the districts. These are great because you can hear from actual tourists like yourself instead of biased advertisements. I think a lot of disappointment that people feel from traveling could be avoided if they researched the place and knew how to manage their expectations.
- Pick the best flight.
If you’re doing a long haul, do your best to choose a good airline and the shortest flight time possible. The airport process is already a hassle, and it makes it even worse when the airline is known for loosing bags or having poor customer service. I’ve made the mistake before of thinking that I wouldn’t mind a long layover to get a cheaper ticket. Big mistake. I ended up changing my flight in the airport and paying even more because I couldn’t wait any longer. I have also flown airlines that are known for being terrible because I didn’t bother to look up the reviews and I could have easily avoided the stress if I had.
- Arrange transportation from the airport to your accommodation.
Being from the US, I used to assume that outside of any airport you can easily find a trusted taxi service or trains without worries. However, in some countries this isn’t the case. Make sure if you’re going to an unknown place you have a plan of how to get to your accommodation. If you aren’t sure that it’s the kind of place with quality public transportation, consider arranging transportation from your hotel for a fixed price.
- Make an itinerary.
It’s so annoying when you reach home after a vacation and you didn’t have time to do all that you wanted. Plan ahead and make a practical itinerary where you prioritize the activities you want to do. It might help to make reservations in advance too.
- Take the necessary precautions.
Make sure you research what is required of you before traveling to your destination. Many places require vaccinations or visas. Some are very strict and will not allow you to enter or even board the plane if you do not have this done in advance. Believe me… it is not cool to be turned down from the boarding gate for not having your documents and watching the plane leave without you. Sad memories.
- Learn a few words of the local language.
It may seem silly, but this can get you a very long way. Obvi you won’t be able to communicate very well if you’re visiting a place where you don’t know the language. But people really appreciate the fact that you even tried and they will respect you for it. It’s also a great conversation starter and it never hurts to make friends across the globe.
- Research the local culture.
Make sure you are familiar with the local culture, and respect it. For example, many parts of the world are much more conservative than in the Western World. Make sure if you’re visiting such a country you respect their culture and don’t offend people while you are a guest in their homeland.
- Research the famous foods.
Traveling is a great chance to try new amazing foods that you can’t get at home. I always make a list of foods I must try while I’m visiting a new place and I’m usually not disappointed. Don’t be boring and get chicken fingers everywhere you go.
- Budget and save for the trip.
Since you’re prepared and you’ve made an itinerary for the trip, it will be easy for you to budget. It’s not all the time that we have the chance to escape our obligations for a holiday, so you want to enjoy it while you can. Vacation is a great excuse to splurge on yourself and enjoy. Save up and enjoy your trip!