While it may be true that planning your vacation can prove to be exciting, it can also prove to be extremely overwhelming as well. Once you actually start to generate itineraries, receipts, hotel check-in information, you will come to realize that it’s fun, but also a great deal of work. In this guide, we’ll take a look at some things to consider when it comes to alleviating some of the stresses that are associated with planning a vacation.
Plan Way In Advance
The key to ensuring that your vacation runs smoothly and cost efficiently is to plan way in advance. Ideally you’ll want at least 8 weeks if not even longer. The reason being is that when you make last minute plans, you tend to overlook things you wouldn’t have otherwise, such as to get a hotel you may not like because the one you wanted was full or to leave important items you actually need. Not only that, when it comes to making flight arrangements in particular, depending on the season you may save 30-40% by purchasing your ticket months in advance
Besides making your reservations far in advance, you should be getting your itinerary for the trip, apply for some time-off and to start the packing process sooner than later. Here are some tips to consider when it comes to doing just that.
Utilize Software To Search For Deals
The concept of saving money on hotel, travel and even clothing expenses seem like a mystical secret that’s reserved for seasoned vacationers, but with the advent of the internet, it’s never been easier.
The key is to utilize software and cost savings websites to assist you with your process. A prime example of such would be the ‘Honey’ browser add-on. By installing this browser when you visit a website for clothing, suitcases or gadgets for example, it will provide you with a list of other websites that offer the same product with different price ranges.
A great website I recommend when it comes to accommodations and price checks for airplane tickets, is Kayak. It is a search engine that focuses on finding deals through multiple sites for travel related expenses such as car rentals, hotels and air transportation. They even have a ‘hacker fare’ checker which shows you if it’s cheaper to get a round trip or 2 one-way flight. Interestingly enough, statistics indicate that Tuesday afternoon specifically, is the best day to purchase an airplane ticket, at-least 8 weeks in advance for the best rates. One more website that’s worth considering is Hipmunk. Hipmunk can help by showing all available flights a given airline is providing, as well as a breakdown of all the amenities the flight includes, such as WiFi. This eliminates the need to check multiple airlines to see who provides the best accommodation, ultimately saving you time while helping you to get the best airline experience possible.
Organize Travel Documents
Once you have booked your hotel, vehicle rental or flight, congratulations, you now have several reservation dates to remember, over a dozen confirmation numbers and several different emails which contain critical information. While the concept of trying to keep up with all those documents sounds fun and everything I personally like the app TripIt. By using TripIt, you can organize all the information you need right on your phone.
Interestingly enough, you can connect it to your email and give it specific commands to automatically scan incoming emails for confirmation messages and important emails from various companies that you choose. So for instance, it can give you important information about your reservations and notify you if there are any changes, delays or cancellations.
Once you’ve organized all your documents, it’s time to pack. A good rule of thumb to follow when it comes to packing for a vacation is that the further ahead you pack, the less likely you’ll miss anything. When it comes to actually packing everything, your goal should be to use a small suitcase with exterior compartments that provide extra space storage. That means you should military roll your clothes instead of folding them as well as to put the heaviest clothes first.
Preparing Your Home
Lastly, you should prepare your home for your trip. This means turning off the water heater, AC, and anything that can build up unnecessary cost while you are away. You should also consider placing lights and outlets on a timer to help deter thieves who might notice you are out of town. Depending on the length of your trip and the nature of your housing, you may also want to consider renting some extra storage while you are away. This can help if you have roommates, pay rent month-to-month, or just want some added security for a few possessions.