This is your time to relax and you can’t stop stressing out! You’re running to your flight terminal with half an hour to spare. You’re shaking at the hotel because you aren’t at the right one. You’ve lost all hope of having a good vacation.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
Nothing is worse than fighting with yourself on vacation. Traveling is stressful, draining, and often frustrating.
What if you felt confident in your travel arrangements from the moment you left your house until you return? What if you had nothing to worry about on your travel?
Follow these tips and never stress on your vacation again!
What does it mean to plan accordingly?
It means to coordinate the elements of your trip together. Your flight dates, times and locations should be planned properly with your(and your travel partner’s) availability. Your hotel and lodging arrangements have to match those arrival and departure dates and times.
If you’re flight is in the evening save money by checking out of the hotel and have an activity planned that will take the day!
Use a calendar to chart your trip; flight times, hotel check in, check out, and any time specific events in order to visualize your travel plan.
Planning accordingly also means planning within your means – your budget.
Manage Your Money
If you haven’t yet, I strongly suggest reading Three Rules to Thrifty Travel for tips on how to manage your money. When you manage your budget properly, you don’t have to play any guessing games about your bank account.
Always plan your spending by each day, place, meal, activity. You know you will have enough no mater what you’re doing because you only allow yourself to spend a certain amount.
Know your travel expenses before you go. Not only do I triple check hotel fees, parking fees, and budget for spending- I check prices and taxes in my destination city. You don’t want to be playing the guessing game.
Not having to worry about your bills is essential to a stress free vacation! Always check your balances before you go; only use cash for spending; budget accordingly!
Call and Compare Hotels
When you’re searching for hotels it can be easy to be swept up in a great price and a good picture. Before you book anything compare at least 3 hotels.
Use a variety of travel websites and forums and read reviews for your hotel on each one. By reading multiple and ranging reviews, you will have a clearer view of your destination and a better idea of what to expect.
Click on those links to the direct website to get an idea of what the business is like and what their property is like. Call the property to confirm details about parking, pets, or breakfast.
Book Direct (Lodging and Transportation)
Websites like Priceline, Expedia, Hotels.com, are all OTAs or kindly known as “Online Travel Agencies” and are third party bookings. On the surface they offer a better rate, or cheapen the deal by bundling the trip.
While they at times offer great deals you are putting a middle man between you and your lodging or airline company.
My experience behind the desk has taught me a few secrets, the most important being always book direct and always be a member of that company’s loyalty program!
The hospitality and tourism industry thrives on regular travelers. If you are a “member” any employee will know you have value. Stay at the same brands of hotels and use the same airline as often as you can! Stay loyal!
Building a reputation with a travel company means more than you might think.
Google Maps Everything
Learn where you will be going! A lot of travelers forget what an amazing tool Google Maps is. Put in your ideal hotel’s address, find the airport if you’re flying; Google will show you on its map local hot spots, other hotels, and attractions in the area.
From there you can search directly your specific destinations and have a solid idea of how far you are from everything! There’s no wondering how far you are from the airport, your hotel, the mountains, a state park, restaurants- Google is a wonderful thing.
Of course, remain resourceful when you arrive in your destination and pick up those brochures and maps to see if you missed anything you want to see!
Lower Your Expectations
Let’s be realistic here – plans fall apart and unexpected pit falls will happen. We all need to take a deep breath and expect disaster. The events that have disrupted and ruined vacations are not a thing that happened but how someone reacted.
When we set high expectations for a flawless vacation- to do everything on the list, to have everyone get what they want, and for everything to be perfectly timed- we set ourselves (and our families) up for disaster.
You can tell yourself not to worry or get upset, the best way to do that is to already accept the worst and set no expectations.
Basic Planning Checklist
▢ Plan Available Dates
▢ Define Overall Budget
▢ Compare and Book Airfare/Travel Arrangements
▢ Compare and Book Direct Hotel
▢ Mark All Dates in Calendar
▢ Google Maps while Booking/ Planning Activities
▢ Divide Budget by Day/Activity
▢ Expect the Minimum
▢ Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff!