The pressure to choose and plan the “perfect” vacation can be overwhelming. The choices are literally all over the map, time is precious and you are spending hard-earned dollars. No wonder some travelers get paralyzed and revert back to familiar destinations or routine getaways.
But, the world is full of wonderful and diverse locales and cultures. It would be a shame to not take advantage of broadening one’s horizon and create lifetime memories with love ones.
Here are some tips to help:
1. Consult with your fellow travelers and choose a few destinations you are interested in. Your spouse may be dreaming of strolling in Paris while you are picturing white-water rafting in Colorado. One of your children may have their heart set on New York City and the other is picturing a Caribbean beach resort. Set some expectations and get on the same page before you start this process.
2. Consider a rough idea of your budget because a great vacation can be created at different price points. A medium sized budget might mean choosing off-season dates and 3 star hotels instead of the luxury variety. It also might mean that you should book your plans as far in advance as possible because that’s when the best prices are offered.
3. Research and read if you like to investigate places of interest – but never actually book your vacation without a trusted travel professional. The relationships a travel agent has with every travel provider (cruise lines, tour companies, hotels and resorts, guides, etc.) can be leveraged for you and almost always provide you with some kind of amenity or benefit you could not secure on your own.
In addition, having a travel advisor book your plans means you have an advocate if something goes wrong. Is the hotel trying to tell you they are oversold and send you somewhere else? Is there a hurricane threatening the area and you need to change your flights? Only travelers with a travel agent will get these issues addressed quickly. They can make sure you have the proper insurance to protect your investment and insure your passport/visas are up to date.
4. Finally – Remember to relax and really enjoy. Be sure to unplug and relish the place you are visiting and the people you are with. Create a plan to only look at emails and work related correspondence one hour a day so you can truly be present in the moment. Set realistic expectations about your activity so you are not exhausted in the first few days. Expect the unexpected and don’t let a minor glitch ruin the day. Try to immerse yourself in the local culture – eat at the local pub, visit the local market and find some out-of-the-way shops to buy your souvenirs instead of the tourist stops.