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Eight Steps to a Great Vacation

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Sometimes planning a vacation can be stressful. Many questions may come to mind. Where to go? What to pack? How much money is needed? What will the weather be like? How am I going to get there? All of these questions need to be answered in order to plan your vacation, but always remember to plan some fun. Here are some steps to make the most out of your vacation.

Step 1 Set a Budget

First of all, decide where you can afford to go and set a budget. This is very important because it gives you a chance to set a goal for yourself by having a destination in mind and having something to work for while planning. When having a destination picked out, it is easier to know how much money you will need because not every place is the same. The place you choose will most likely change your budget and how your itinerary looks.  

If you have trouble picking a destination, it is always good to look at three main things. First, look at recommendations from social media, friends, and family. If you ask for recommendations, most people suggest asking people that you trust to tell you what they liked about that destination and provide some activities that you can do there. When using social media, you can explore the area by looking at images of all the places that your friends have gone and it can give you an idea of where you would like to go and what you would like to see while you are there. Some of the best vacations are the ones you spend with your friends and family. Most of the people in the world today like to travel to visit family members or friends that they don’t see very often.

Step 2 Plan your activities

Begin planning what you want to do, what you want to see, and how you are going to get there. This step is when it is best to make an itinerary because you can keep yourself organized with everything that you want to do. It is also best to stay flexible because even if you’re driving or flying, the times can change very quickly and you need to be ready for any type of situation. You also need to be flexible with the dates you want to travel. If you are going to be flying,  you could possibly get cheaper tickets if you keep your dates flexible. It is also best to book your flight in advance and not wait until the last minute.  Some of the best deals on plane tickets are months in advance of the actual flight.

When thinking about when you would want to go on vacation, you could always think about the  weather and holidays. Most people like to take vacations in the summer so they can go to beaches, take a cruise, and enjoy outdoor activities. Another reason people travel in the summer is schools are out which means families will be traveling a lot. When thinking about holidays it is very important because the bigger the holiday the more expensive the trip will be. For example, if you go to New York City on New Year’s Eve you definitely should consider the hotels and flights to be more expensive than a regular day. 

Step 3 Book Reservations

Book reservations for a place to stay. This step is another part of traveling where you need to be flexible and be able to search many different hotels to make sure it is the one you want. When booking hotels, you will always need to look at the prices and the read reviews so you know if it is a good place to stay. If you don’t read the reviews, you could end up a place that is not properly maintained. Even though people mostly go with hotels for their vacations, there are also other places that you can stay. Airbnb has become a popular option, where you can stay in a house or condo and make it feel like you are staying at your own home.

Step 4 Expenses

How much money will you need when you get there? When you think about it, no vacation is complete without enjoying various activities or buying a variety of souvenirs. Make sure you have enough money for everything that you want to do or buy. All of this money can go towards food, admissions, souvenirs, and activities. To plan out everything that you want to do, it would be helpful to make an itinerary of all the activities of interest to you. Making an itinerary can allow you to do mostly everything you want and it can allow you to make any budget adjustments if needed.

Step 5 Last-minute tasks

A week to the day before you leave, start packing, checking tickets, getting money ready, and double check your itinerary. As people get closer to the trip,  packing can be very stressful because you have to decide what you want to bring. If you pack too much, it can lead to higher transportation fees especially when you’re flying. This can also be a hassle if you are driving with a lot of people in a car because you still need to fit their luggage along with your own luggage. If you end up forgetting something, you can always purchase it once you get to your destination.  Remember to check that you have everything the night before because if you try to do it the day of your departure, you will be very stressed out and most likely forget something. Be sure to check your plane tickets to make sure the date is correct and that you know the time that the plane leaves. Missing a flight can cost you a lot of money you did not account for in your budget.

Step 6 Appropriate Timing

Figure out when you should leave if you’re driving and if you are flying give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and through security so you don’t miss your flight. Be sure to have a proper ID and a car full of gas. If you are flying, it is important to get to the airport about 3 hours in advance, depending on the size of the airport, because you will need to check your bags, go through security, and still have time to get on the plane. Smaller airports may only require you to arrive 2 hours prior to the flight. If you are driving, it is important to leave at a certain time because you will need to stop for gas, the occasional restroom break, and for meals as well. If you are flying or driving, it is important to have a proper ID because you could need it at any time.

Step 7 Arrival 

 When you arrive at your destination, check into the hotel. Make sure you check in and that your room has the amenities that the website indicated would be in your room. If you are missing anything, or if you have forgotten something like your toothbrush, you can call the front desk and have them bring it to you. Don’t be afraid to ask for extra towels. Find out if the food or drinks in the room are complimentary or if they will cost you money.  Also, ask about a complimentary breakfast in the lobby each morning.  This can save you some money on your trip. The front desk can also provide information about the area and recommend good places to eat and shop.

Step 8 Time for fun and relaxation 

Have fun! Once all of your travel is complete and you have unpacked, it is time to have the vacation of your dreams. Don’t worry if you get lost on your trip, or something unexpected happens while you are traveling. This is part of the adventure. Let everything go, relax and make the most of your vacation.

Travel has become more complicated due to the global pandemic currently happening around the world.  Some nations and some of the states have shut their borders to tourists.  Make sure you know the policies of the destinations you plan to visit.  Even though this time in the world is difficult due to Covid-19, it is still good to take a safe vacation with proper precautions to clear your mind and have some fun. Traveling is good for your mental health.

By Allison Rammel, Activist writer

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