It’s been on your bucket list for years. You’ve fallen asleep thinking about it. You’ve researched and planned out your itinerary. You’ve read all the travel blogs and even looked at restaurant menus. Whatever your dream vacation may be, it’s time to make your dream a reality.
The pandemic taught everyone that nothing is guaranteed. Plans can be canceled at a moment’s notice. What you hope to do, see, or discover may not come to fruition unless you seize the opportunity! If you’re intimidated by actually booking the trip, you’re in the right place. Below are three tips to help you take your dream vacation.
1. Plan Ahead by Budgeting
It’s no secret that life is more expensive these days. Due to inflation, even going to the grocery store is more costly than it was a few years ago. Now, this shouldn’t deter you from taking the trip. You just need to spend some more time planning and creating a realistic budget for yourself.
Start by mapping out expected costs such as airfare or transportation, lodging, and even daily expenses like food and activities. It’s generally a good idea to overestimate to account for any unexpected expenses. Once you have a good sense of how much the trip will cost, create a savings account for it.
To help you save, consider using a debit card with a round-up savings feature. This rounds purchases to the nearest dollar, depositing the difference in your savings account — an automatic win for planning your vacation!
Keep in mind that budgeting now will allow you to have a more enjoyable vacation. The money you save today can be used for fun activities during the trip. Let your family and friends know why you are sticking to a stricter budget. They’ll likely be jealous of your travel plans and will understand why you are trying to save up!
2. Get Your Documents Ready
Whether you are traveling domestically or abroad, you’ll want to have all of your documents in order before you leave. Check the expiration dates of your ID cards. And note that by May 2023 all adults need a specific form of identification to fly within the United States. If you’re traveling abroad, make sure you have plenty of time to either get or renew your passport, too. It can take longer than you expect due to delays from the pandemic.
You may need to provide appropriate documentation for any prescription medication. Do some research — particularly if you are traveling abroad — to see what is and isn’t allowed. Ask your doctor or health care provider to assist you in providing the correct documents. It’s better to be safe than sorry and have the TSA take your medications before you even leave!
Lastly, you might want to consider purchasing travel insurance. This can typically be bought at the same time that you purchase your airline tickets. You may also purchase it from a third-party site to cover other parts of your vacation. Always read through the contract and agreement closely, though. Not all insurance will cover you 100% if you end up canceling your trip.
3. Ask for Recommendations
If it’s on your bucket list, someone else has probably been there. Getting recommendations is oftentimes the best way to truly see a new city. People that had a memorable time will remember where they went and even where they stayed or ate. They may be quick to share their favorite experiences, but sometimes a memorable experience is not such a great one. Being aware of what to avoid is just as helpful as knowing the must-see items to put on your agenda.
Start by asking family or friends if they’ve ever traveled to your dream destination. You may also pose a question to your social media followers or friends. Another way to seek recommendations is to follow specific travel influencers or visit their blogs. Many of these influencers will share rather honest reviews of places they’ve been. If the trip was sponsored by a brand, though, you’ll want to take their recommendations with a grain of salt.
Once you have gathered recommendations from various sources, sort through them. Some things may overlap and, if they do, it’s a good sign that you should add it to the itinerary. If someone mentioned a specific restaurant, see if you can make a reservation beforehand. The same goes for any activities people recommended such as a guided hike, boat ride, or spa treatment. The more aspects of your vacation that you’re able to book ahead of time, the more prepared you will feel.
Research shows that planning for and anticipating a vacation can be almost as fun as going on the trip itself. This is especially the case if you’ve been waiting to take your vacation for quite some time. Planning ahead and asking for recommendations are some ways to ensure your time is well-spent.
This isn’t to say, though, that everything will go accordingly to plan. However, if you’re well prepared, you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way. Now, go ahead and enjoy your well-deserved, hard-earned vacation.