08 Jan How to Plan for Your Next Vacation
Summer vacation is coming! Does January seem too soon to start thinking about where you’ll be when school is out? It’s not. In fact, if you have a lot of saving to do, January might not be soon enough to start planning.
Dreaming about where you want to go is a fun first step, but there’s plenty more that needs to be done to make sure you can take your trip without packing more worry than you need. If you plan well enough ahead of time, you might not have to worry about anything other than what time to re-apply your sunscreen. Let’s take a look at a few steps you can’t miss in the planning stage of your trip.
Start with Planning
Get concrete with your plans. Don’t just decide to “take a trip.” Decide to “take a trip to St. Croix.” Choosing a destination can be a little overwhelming. Make sure you do your research. Start online with a more general list like this Travel Channel top ten list and then focus on places that pique your interest and do more digging there. Once you’ve done that, making arrangements will be much easier. You can decide what you want to do in your chosen destination and put that on your list. Or, you might find that your destination doesn’t offer some of the activities that you were looking forward to. It’s much easier at this point to turn your ship around and pick a new destination.
You will also need to take into account when and how long your trip will be to help you with your budget. If you have lots of time and a smaller budget, that could steer you to look at vacations that involve hiking or something else low-cost. Save the pricier resorts for when you can afford it and make the most of your time away.
Budget and Save Up
You’re going to need to start with a budget of some sort. If you’ve already made a list of where you are going and what you expect to do there, it’s time to put some prices next to those items. Make sure you have a total amount to work with. That way, when you add up all your expected expenditures, you can make changes as you need to. Maybe you’ve decided to take the family to Disney World and do all the parks. If that takes you over your budget, make you can save money by driving there instead of flying. There are several vacation calculators out there that can help you visualize your expenses and give you a ballpark estimate of your travel costs.
Now, you may have given yourself a budget, but do you have as much as you expect to spend? If not, it’s time to cut back where you can and save up. Put aside a little here and there – get take-out a little less often, forego morning coffee. Whatever you feel is expendable. Make sure that your vacation money goes to a specific fund so that you don’t wind up spending it somewhere else by mistake.
Find Some Freebies
It might be too late if you already have an upcoming trip planned, but if you don’t already have a credit card that issues airline miles, you may want to switch to one for your next trip. You can also save money by booking at the right time. For airlines, that’s about 2 months in advance. For hotels, shop around to see where you can get the best deal or free upgrades that make the trip worth it. If you’re flexible enough, you can check for last minute deals on a similar trip to save money.
Your next vacation could be your best one yet, with a little advanced planning and some smart shopping around. If you need some help planning a budget for this much needed vacation, call the Hopman Group and we can help get you on your way!