You know you want to take a trip, but you hate planning. We know you do. You want the reward without the work. Well, it doesn’t quite work that way. Given that, here are some tips to help you out.
Choose your destination wisely
When you first start planning a vacation, your options are virtually endless. The first step, then, is to narrow down your options by asking yourself a few questions: What kind of climate would you prefer? What kind of attractions are you interested in seeing? Do you want to go somewhere warm and sunny with lots of beaches or cold and snowy where you can get some skiing in? Are you an art or history buff who enjoys going to museums, a foodie with an appetite for local cuisine, or a thrill-seeker looking for extreme adventure? Most importantly, what can you afford?
Make arrangements to and fro
Some people like to book a trip one-way and then “play it by ear” when it comes to booking the return. The problem there is that you often end up falling into the trap of staying “one more day” over and over again. The fun of a good vacation can make it difficult to want to come back home. For example, a visit to Kings Island is enough to send any tourist looking at Cincinnati houses for sale. That’s why it’s a good idea to have your airplane home already booked before you get carried away.
Pack your bags ahead of time
A common pitfall of procrastination that trips up even the most meticulous planners is waiting until the last minute to pack their bags. The result is usually two things: a lot of “down to the wire” final-countdown stress (especially when unforeseen complications suddenly crop up), and important items getting left behind. In the weeks leading up to your trip, make a checklist of everything you plan to bring with you, then refer to it when packing. Check it and double-check it the day before you leave and the day of.
Create a list of things to do
As much as you’d like to see and do everything your destination has to offer, chances are that’s not going to be possible. It’s important, then, to prioritize. Figure out what attractions you’re most interested in and write them down, along with their addresses, contact information, and costs. Consider how long each activity will take and try to plan accordingly. If multiple sights are in the same vicinity of one another, try to visit them all on the same day.
Schedule a doctor’s appointment
You may think that if you’re not traveling internationally there’s no reason to visit your doctor beforehand. While it is doubly important to do this when traveling abroad, even something as minor as a trip to another state warrants a quick preliminary check-up. The last thing you want is to fall ill in the middle of your vacation, and doctors can recognize the warning signs of coming sickness before they become a problem. They can also give you advice about how to stay healthy while on the move.
Make a budget and stick to it
Vacations can be expensive, and the temptation to spend too much now and worry about it later has left more than a few travelers feeling the string once all is said and done. Take a good hard look at your savings. Then subtract the expected costs of travel, food, and accommodation. From there, figure out how much you’re willing to spend on activities and souvenirs. It’s okay to leave yourself some wiggle room for unplanned expenditures, but ultimately it’s vital that you make a budget and stick to it. Otherwise, it might be a while before you can afford your next vacation.