It’s officially summer, and just about everyone has got vacation on their brains. I know I do. My mind is always on a beach with a good book and a mimosa, or exploring the exciting new roads of a foreign country and their culture, not getting any actual work done. If you’re feeling the same way, you are definitely not alone. It’s time to start planning a vacation! But before you press “book” on the first vacation package you find, there are a few things you need to think about. Taking the time to consider all of your options carefully and doing research will make any vacation you take that much more amazing.
What type of vacation do you want to go on?
This seems like a no brainer of a question, but it’s also an important one! Are you wanting a week full of spa treatments and sunbathing on the beach? Do you like the idea of exploring a new country, trying bizarre and delicious foods and getting to know a culture that’s excitingly different than your own? Maybe you are looking to beat the heat completely and think some winter weather and skiing are in order? Thinking about what kind of vacation experience is best for you will be the key to helping you fully decompress from your regular life stresses and get the full benefits of your vacation.
Where do you want to go?
Once you have the type of vacation your want, the next step is choosing a destination. Do you want to be as far away from your current location as possible? Or are you looking to be closer to home? I am more of a “see the world” person, with a little home-bodiness mixed in. I’ve been to Mexico, Japan, and Korea, and still have several other countries that I want to see. But there is also diversity right here in America that is not to be missed. I’ve been to about 10 states, and they each had something a little different to offer. The cool breezes and shoreline of the Oregon coast are wonderful, but so are the architecture and food in Boston!
Remember your health and safety when deciding on a vacation spot this summer. Be sure to thoroughly research a location’s current state of affairs, crime rates, and disease outbreaks like the Zika Virus, especially if deciding to travel abroad.
What is your budget like?
Everyone’s favorite topic: money. Unfortunately, most vacations cost money, unless you are one of those lucky people who gets paid to travel (tell me how to do this!). Don’t fret: the sooner you make a decision on your destination and activities, the sooner you can start making a budget and saving. Compare different flights with websites that allow to to view multiple airlines at once. If your vacation dates are flexible, you can compare different dates to get the best possible deal. In my experience, the dates surrounding major holidays and long weekends are the most expensive times to travel. Avoid them if you can. If you’re planning to travel abroad, it’s also a good idea to check out the currency exchange rate to get feel of how much money you will gain or lose in the exchange.
To make sure you have enough money to have a fun, no-holds-barred vacation, try your best to save more than you usually do in the time leading up to your trip. Easy ways to save travel money include cutting down on social spending, cooking at home instead of eating out, and cutting unnecessary ongoing expenses like cable and gym memberships. Selling the things you don’t need anymore is also a great way to get some extra cash.
Who do you want to go with?
Company on a trip can be very welcome. They can make travel time less boring and your experiences more fun. Family is a great choice, especially for those who haven’t been able to spend as much quality time with their family since becoming an “adult.” A vacation is a great chance to make up some lost time.
If your family refuses to travel (like mine), or if a vacation with your family sounds like hell on earth, another great choice for a travel companion is your best friend. You should try to travel with your best friend at least once in your life, and this year could be the year! It will be a great way to strengthen your bond and create memories together that you can cherish for the rest of your lives.
Of course, if you are looking to get some much needed alone time or do some soul searching, vacationing alone is always an option. Traveling alone is not only a great way to get to know yourself better, but it’s also a way to challenge yourself. I know I’m very dependent on others not only when I travel, but just in my daily life. I can’t even go the to movies or a restaurant by myself, so the thought of traveling alone is a bit crazy to me, but I know it would be challenge that would only make me stronger. Going it alone is also easier planning-wise. You don’t have to worry about someone else’s schedule, budget, or opinions. You can make all the decisions based on what you want to do.
Taking all these questions into account will help you decide on the best vacation for you. Once everything is figured out, you can officially press “book” and start getting ready for a much needed adventure. The world is waiting for you, go see it!