Planning your holiday can be an exciting time; the promise of a far off beach and lazy days, away from the stresses of the world is hard to resist. However, some holidaymakers fail to plan their holiday and sometimes suffer disappointment with their chosen destination. Where such disappointment exists, it cannot always be said to be the fault of the tour operator of it can be shown that your ‘choice’ was not made with care! When you buy a car, or choose an electrical appliance, most people will research that product before making a final choice. The problem with holiday choices is that the temptation to ‘click and go’ and the ease at which you can make your choice, often with little description has all the potential to deliver disappointment.
Following the tips below should help you plan your holiday and ensure that you make the best decision:
Where do you start?
Did you ever have to plan a holiday from scratch? Book your own flights, hotels and decide what you want to do at your holiday destination?
Planning a holiday is hard work. That’s why most people go to a travel agent to do it for them 🙂 Well, you could plan your entire holiday yourself, for instance. The benefits are great: If you do your research well enough, you will get exactly what you want and you save money.
If you have consulted Travel Planner or Agent to book your holiday, make sure check all the details mention below before you book.
1) Set a Budget and Date of Travelling.
Before chalking out a plan for the holiday, the most important thing is to set a budget. It helps you to plan and enjoy the trip within your limits. Always estimate a little more than what you might need.Choose the date of travelling. How many days you would like to travel? Tip: Flexible travel dates allow you to save bucks (always) 🙂
2) Plan Ahead – Choose the Destination.
The second thing is what do you want from a holiday destination – is it a beach, peace and quiet, culture, action-packed entertainment and so on? Strategize your trip according to your needs and likes.
For those who are flexible about the place they holiday in or are not able to make up their mind, a good way to get the best bargain is to approach the local travel agents and get some idea of what type of packages they are promoting this season. Pick a package that suits your mood and is well with your time frame and you will be able to lock in an excellent deal with relatively less trouble.
If you do not mind some company, another great way to see more at a lesser price is booking a group tour rather than a regular holiday package. Though a customized package lets you holiday at your own pace, group tours are much more cost-effective. They cover more places in less time and take care of all expenses like accommodation, food, transfers and transportation at a lesser cost.
3) How far you want to travel?
Are you comfortable being in an aircraft for more than 3 hours – is long-haul something for you? Westbound journeys (For those who live is East Zone) / Eastbound journeys (For those who live in West Zone) can produce jetlag, because you lose time across zones.
Tip: Book your flight in a way that you arrive to coincide with bed time.
4) Read up before you go.
Prepare yourself before plunging into an unknown holiday destination. If you don’t have knowledge how to use internet, buy a good guidebook and read up on the culture, history, local attractions of the destination.
If you know how to surf the net then its wonderful! Google knows better 😉 You agree? 😀 The more you know, the better you can enjoy or appreciate the place and their traditions.
5) Check weather condition of the country.
Does your chosen country suffer with extreme weather? What will be the weather during your travel month? Do not rely on the brochure; check out weather information sites before you book your holiday.
6) Check political condition of the country.
Does the country you want to take a holiday in have political problems? Does the country have a poor record on human rights or how they treat those who live and work in tourist areas? Check out information sites and local newspapers online! (For those who doesn’t know internet, seek help of others you know or consult your travel agent).
7) Check with the Visa procedure and health requirements.
It is always advisable that you check visa and health requirements a few month before your date of departure, in case vaccinations are required. Visas for certain countries can take a few weeks to be processed, so ensure that you will leave enough time for your passport to be returned back to you. Most foreign affairs offices offer free travel advise on their websites. This includes safety alerts for specific countries and general information on visa and health requirements. It also includes a more general suggestions on what to avoid and when to be cautious.
8) Flight / Train / Bus Booking.
This will give your itinerary structure. You know exactly when and where you will arrive and when you have to leave again.
Ques: Are you happy with the airline / train / bus they are suggesting you should travel on? Check out the safety record or how they treat passengers when flights / train / bus are delayed or cancelled.
Tip: If you require local flights or long distance train tickets, it is advised that you organize them before booking accommodation, in case there are no daily flights or they are already booked out.
9) Choosing an Accommodation.
When you are satisfied that you know where you want to go, make sure that the accommodation you are choosing will meet your expectations – for example, how far from airport? what facility they offer (e.g: airport transfers, restaurant, laundry, doctor on call), how far from market area? is the road way to hotel/resort safe during night?
Tip: Check out reviews on Trip Advisor or visit Google Earth and ‘walk’ around the resort!
When looking for a hotel in a popular tourist place, extend your search area and look at the lesser popular locales and suburbs. You will find more options that will save a few bucks from your budget as well. However, do read the reviews before checking-in. If you are travelling alone and are not picky about room service, staying in a hostel can also be a good way to bring down your accommodation costs. Also, try to find a hotel room with kitchenettes and services like complementary breakfasts, happy-hour buffet lunches, free spa and gym facility, etc., to save on these expenses. Invest in a good travel guidebook or try Wikitravel to research about such places.
10) Transportation at your Destination.
Another significant expense is the transportation cost. When traveling to your holiday destination and visiting different tourist spots, avoid renting a car or using a taxi where you have a good public transportation system. Though a guide book can be handy, ask the hotel staff or take help of the locals to know the routes and the most economical way of traveling within the city. Or else ask your travel agent to get it book in your package.
Quick Tips: Stretch your buck a bit more!!
a) Search travel discount sites for offers on holiday destinations and packages. Book your air tickets and make hotel reservations early to get a price cut.
b) Look for hotels closer to the airport or railway station to eliminate taxi expenses. Avoid renting a car where you have a good public transportation system.
c) Download discount coupons of eateries and entertainment hubs and buy multi-day or multiple passes to places of tourist attraction to get a price concession.
d) Travel with family and friends, avail group discounts and share the cost. Do not be persuaded to spend on special sight-seeing tours. Make your own itinerary.