It is finally time for you to plan out that vacation you have been saving time and money for. No more hypothetical planning, this is the moment where you will plan and set it in stone. So, where do you start? You may have had a general idea of a vacation planned in your head, but you have not sat down to figure out the little details to start the process. This list will give you the foundation to build your vacation and make it memorable. With those words in mind, here are 7 Steps to Planning a Memorable Vacation.
1. Pick Your DestinationWhether you want to plan a large vacation to an exotic location or snuggle up next to your partner in the woods, having a solid destination is key. For example, instead of planning to visit the state of Utah, decide what city in Utah you would like to see. You can also choose your destination based on what activity you want to do or see. If you want to spend the length of your vacation exploring majestic red rock, then plan to stay in Moab, Utah. If you would rather spend days swimming in a lake, research Bear Lake, Utah where there is fun for the whole family. Once you find the perfect destination, the rest of your planning will be a breeze.
2. Decide on the Length of Your TripThis step is a necessity. It can determine the amount and time of your activities. Whether you want to take a long or short vacation, you will need to plan time for travel. If you are flying, you can plan 2 or 3 days for traveling to and from your destination. It can sometimes take a full day just to get in and out of an airport. Knowing your destination and the amount of time you will be away will help you plan out the cost and what you can really afford.
3. Know Your BudgetYou have spent countless months saving up for your vacation. Now is the time to spend it wisely. You need to decide how much money you want to set aside for lodging, food, gas, activities, and miscellaneous costs. Additionally, make sure you read through your airline's policies in case you have extra baggage or service fees. Once you have budgeted costs you will gain a better understanding of where your money is going.
4. Book Flight & AccommodationsThere are a couple of different ways to go about booking your flight and accommodations. There is the traditional route of looking up hotels, resorts, B&B’s, etc., and booking them individually. There is the route of using third party booking sites that often offer vacation bundles. There is also an option offered by some reward cards you may have. Some airlines and hotels offer complementary services based on various rewards. When you are looking for lodging, consider the amenities you might need such as pet-friendly, or maybe you want a room with a view. With any method you use to book, make sure it fits your schedule, budget, and family needs.
5. Plan ActivitiesThis is the fun part! Research everything you can about your destination. Read reviews and make a list. Depending on how long you plan to stay there, you can always narrow down your list. Leave some time for relaxation, the atmosphere, and enjoying the beauty of your surroundings. Check with your lodging and see if they offer shuttle services or discounts to activities. Save a large activity for the end of your trip, that way you can end your vacation in the best way.
6. PackWe have all been there. Packing a hundred pairs of socks for a 6-day trip to the beach. Keep it simple, the last thing you want to worry about is hauling a ton of luggage around. Depending on where you plan to go, you only need the essentials and one or two special outfits. Also, pack according to weather and conditions. Lastly, pay attention to your activities and what they recommend you wear. If you plan to go on an ATV trek through the forest, it is wise to pack boots and even a pair of gloves. You will also need to remember your passport, and I.D. if you are leaving the country. Be smart with packing and you will enjoy an effortless traveling experience.
7. Take Care of Home LifeThis is a given step, but sometimes we do not always plan and that can create chaos. If you have pets at home and do not plan on taking them, book a boarding house or pet sitter right away. Boarding homes can fill up fast, especially around the holidays and often require certain vaccines. If your pet does not have those vaccines, you will need to also book that appointment with the vet before boarding. If you are taking a vacation away from the kids, make sure you have a family or a babysitter in place and a backup babysitter in place of that one. Some other things to consider are telling your bank you are vacationing, taking out cash, finding someone to water your plants, and having the post office place a vacation hold on your mail.
This last section is going to also serve as Step 8, enjoy yourself! We work hard and often forget to take care of our needs. A vacation is a time to relax, release, and have fun. Planning the trip does not need to be stressful so it is important to plan and understand your full itinerary. Whether you want to see the red rocks of Utah, ATV in Hawaii’s thick forests, or enjoy a quiet weekend away in a cabin; these 7 steps of planning a memorable vacation will get you on your way!