When it comes to holiday planning, there are two kinds of people: those who embrace it wholeheartedly, planning every single step and knowing exactly where they want to be at any given time, and those who dread making any kind of detailed itinerary and would much rather wing it if they’re not considering giving it up entirely. Which one you are will depend on a number of factors, but you’ll doubtless have been on enough holidays to know your type by now.
Either way, embarking on the process of planning a holiday can be difficult. There are a number of potentially confounding factors, each of which could threaten to derail the vacation completely. Your holiday is well-deserved; you’ve been working hard all year and you’re entitled to a little time away from your toil. We’ve compiled a mini-checklist of ways to plan the perfect holiday, so you can make sure you’re not caught short by the technicalities.
Make sure you have enough money
Before you begin planning, you’ll need to make sure your finances are looking good. It’s one thing to dream about escaping the country and fleeing to sunnier climes, but it’s entirely another to have the funds to do so. You’ll need to work within your budget when you’re considering holiday destinations, too; that trip circumnavigating the globe might need to wait until your a bit more flush. That said, there are plenty of ways to make sure your bank account is healthy enough to shoulder the weight of a holiday. You could take out a loan; with plenty of reputable, trustworthy loan providers out there who offer competitive rates, you can’t go wrong with sites such as Step One Finance. Whatever method you decide to employ, make sure you have enough cash in your coffers to cover the initial travel and booking costs, as well as enough to actually enjoy yourself once you’re there.
Choose your destination wisely
When you’re overworked and underpaid, it’s tempting to simply throw caution to the winds and pick a destination at random. You won’t thank yourself for doing this, though. Before you start planning your holiday, think carefully about all the places you’ve promised yourself you’ll go over the years and narrow down your ideal vacation location. Do you really want to visit California, or is this a momentary whim? This might be your only holiday this year, not to mention for a couple of years, so you’ll want to choose wisely. Talk to your partner or family, too, and see whether there’s anywhere they’ve had their eye on for some time; chances are there’ll be a compromise somewhere that will make all of you happy.
Plan your travel carefully
If you’re traveling around the world, there’s likely to be a significant time difference between your home country and your destination. With that in mind, it’s a very good idea to make sure your flight times reflect this. If you book a 7-day holiday, for example, it might not be the best idea to wipe out the first day entirely due to a long-haul flight that has you touch down in Singapore at 3 am. Try to plan your flight times around your intended holiday itinerary; it’s no good catching a super-early flight from Heathrow if your first day in Beijing is full of high-intensity activity or a lot of walking. Your travel needs to fit around your holiday experience because in the end, that’s what it’s all about; the flight is a means to an end.
Create a detailed itinerary
Having a plan for your holiday is incredibly important; you can use sites like Expedia to assist. We’ve lost count of the number of conversations we’ve had with colleagues about their holiday in which we’ve asked them how it went and they’ve expressed regret that they didn’t get to do everything they wanted to. Creating an itinerary circumvents this problem; if you plan carefully where you want to be and what you want to do at each stage, you’ll always have a structure and you won’t be tempted to just stay in your hotel watching TV. Remember the reason you wanted to take this holiday in the first place. Escaping your regular life won’t be worth much if you simply supplant it with a similar life while on holiday.
Don’t be afraid to deviate
With all that itinerary stuff said, it’s also not a bad idea to deviate from your plan a little, especially if you spy something you simply have to try. If your itinerary doesn’t include a trip to the local markets, but you pass one on your way around and spot some food that looks particularly appetizing, why not spend a few hours browsing instead of your planned activity? If you find yourself swept up in a local festival or celebration that wasn’t in your plan, you may thank yourself in the future for allowing yourself to simply go with it rather than strictly adhering to the checklist. Holidays should be experiences, after all, and you’ll have much more to talk about back home if you let yourself go with the flow from time to time.