Deciding where to take your next vacation may sound like a simple task, but is it really? If you’re like most people, you’ll listen to the advice of friends, family, and coworkers and then spend countless hours researching online to find the best vacation destination. Then you start feeling exhausted by all of the choices and you’ll probably start second-guessing yourself as to whether you’re making the right decision. So what should you do?
- Narrow down your ideal locations: Decide for yourself what you want to do on your next vacation and then narrow down the location. If you’re looking to spend countless hours on a beach swimming and sunbathing, well a trip to ski country may not be the answer.
- Review your last vacation: What did you like and not like about that vacation? This may seem like a pointless task, but if you write these things down, you probably won’t repeat mistakes from your last vacation.
- Try something new! I’ll never understand why people choose the same destination every single year when there is an entire world out there from which choose. Consider something new and break out of the box this vacation.
- Check a few reputable websites for reviews: A few good choices are TripAdvisor.com and Oyster.com. Here you can see reviews from other travelers to those destinations you’re interested in and even see pictures and videos from resorts you might be interested in or CruiseCritic.com for cruises.
- Read where up and coming destinations are these days: No one would have considered a trip to Costa Rica even a few years ago, but now it is a destination hotspot. If you’re ahead of the curve, you might be able to enjoy a vacation free of hoards of tourists at a more than enjoyable price.
- Decide on a realistic budget in advance: Some travelers like to have a theoretical budget in mind when planning a trip. Be realistic, especially when considering the cost of airfare these days. If you absolutely have to stick within that budget, then don’t shoot for the moon. You won’t be able to stay at a 5 star hotel if you know you can’t afford it.
- Pay attention to promotions: Cruise lines and resorts often have promotions throughout the year. If you’re lucky, you’ll not only snag a great deal, but also get some great amenities thrown in to sweeten the deal.
- Work with a travel agent: What? In 2013 you’re probably thinking you can book your own travel online and you’re right. But if you’re going to an area you’ve never been before or if you haven’t booked a specific type of trip (safari, Caribbean cruise, etc.), work with someone who specializes in those trips. It will save you countless hours of research and that person will be there for you before, during, and after your trip. Best part of all is that you don’t pay for their services!
Consider planning for your next vacation with more than a few days notice and you might end up somewhere fantastic at a price that won’t break the bank. Do your research, work with a professional, and have a realistic budget. Then when you do take that vacation, throw caution to the wind and enjoy yourself!
Marian Krueger is the Founder of the Travel Shop Girl blog, a blog that simply states, “Travel musings by a girl who loves to write and travel the world.” Functioning on high-octane coffee most days, her straightforward and honest approach has resulted in a worldwide following and a desire for global domination. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.