When trying to decide what to do and where to go on vacation, it can sometimes feel like a game of chance. There are so many possibilities and so many variables that a perfectly planned, enjoyable and restful getaway would appear to be just as random as a travel nightmare. Fortunately, once you’ve narrowed down your travel dates, there are a number of steps you can take to turn the odds of having a wonderful, memorable journey in your favor.
- Choose a destination. Where have you always wanted to go? Are there particular sights you want to see? If you’re traveling with family or as part of a group, are there enough points of interest at a given destination to keep people from getting bored? Some of the most popular spots attract travelers not solely because of what’s there, but also what’s nearby. For example, if you choose Anaheim for your vacation, you have access to a host of activities and attractions in the surrounding Orange County communities of Costa Mesa, San Juan Capistrano, San Joaquin, Laguna Beach, Santa Ana, Irvine and Tustin.
- Put together a travel budget. When you assess how much you can afford to spend on a vacation, it can help put parameters on the trip itself. Once you calculate for accommodations, food and the cost of getting there, you want to have enough left so you can enjoy those attractions you’ve been longing to see. To help stretch your travel dollars, it makes sense to check in with an organization that’s in the business of planning vacations. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to work toward putting together your dream getaway.
- Let time be a factor. You have two considerations here: At what time of year will you be taking the trip, and how long is your vacation? Both of these should play into your reasoning in choosing a destination. For example, a trip to Kelowna, British Columbia, in the winter would be far different from a trip there in the summer. Or if you’re going to Orlando, realize that summer days are likely to bring a lot of rain, so pack accordingly. As for the length of your trip, considering how long you have to “play” will allow you to pace yourself so that you get to do the things you want without feeling rushed.
- Consider your interests. While most cities offer a variety of attractions, some are more likely to appeal to your preferences. If you enjoy spending time in and around the water, someplace like San Diego or Biloxi should suit you well. If you love to golf, you might prefer somewhere with championship courses, such as Hilton Head or Williamsburg. Looking for a lively music scene? Seattle, Austin and Branson are playing your song.
- Consult with others. Vacation planning isn’t something you have to do on your own. Ask around. Find out where friends and family have gone, and ask about their experiences. Learn from their successes, and try not to duplicate their mistakes. Suppose you’re interested in going somewhere – say, Mesa, Ariz. – and you don’t know anyone who’s been there. Go online; there are plenty of websites, such as TripAdvisor and Yelp, that can give you hundreds of opinions on all things Mesa, from hotels to attractions to restaurants. The idea is to get a framework for your Mesa vacation – a list of things you don’t want to miss, good places to stay and eat – but not to pack your itinerary so tightly that you don’t leave yourself time to explore and discover on your own.
- Plan online. Many cities have websites, developed by the local tourism office, designed to help travelers decide what to do – and how to go about doing it. You can find train schedules, maps and other resources, valuable coupons and much more. Plus, many travel guides – such as Frommer’s and Fodor’s – publish a lot of useful information online, and have their own forums for people to share their views on what to do and what to avoid.
Proper planning goes a long way toward making for an exceptional escape, and that begins with finding a travel destination that’s just right for you and your travel companions. To get some suggestions from among our 40+ dynamic destinations, send an email to email@example.com.