It’s never too late to begin the planning process for your next holiday. Wherever you want to go – whether it’s a staycation or a far-flung trip to unknown climes – you can bet that booking competition will be fierce, so being as early and as diligent as possible in your planning can only be beneficial for you. There’s a lot to remember when you’re planning a holiday, and sometimes, things can fall by the wayside, especially if you’re planning it alone. Here’s our guide on how to start planning for your next holiday, however soon or far off it might be.
Figure out funding
At the earliest possible opportunity, you should be thinking about how you’re going to fund your holiday. Going away can be a costly affair; you’ve got to think about travel, but also what you’re going to do when you’re there, any eventualities that you might not be able to foresee, and plenty of other possible expenditures. There are lots of ways to plan for a holiday financially. For example, many people opt for a second mortgage loan, which will give them a quick injection of cash so they don’t need to worry about saving up. However you decide to do it, just make sure you have funding in place.
Know where you’re going
This sounds obvious, but it really will stand you in good stead with travel agents and representatives if you know exactly what you want. Dilly-dallying in this area could result in all the good spots being booked up, especially if you’ve decided to go on a cruise or on a package holiday. Discuss with your family (or whoever is accompanying you) where you would all like to go, and try to reach a compromise if there is a disagreement. This also has the added benefit of letting you look forward to your holiday, safe in the knowledge that you won’t need to panic about your destination at the last minute.
Research your destination
It’s one thing to know where you want to go, but quite another to know as much as you can about it before you get there. What are some of the local customs and traditions that you should know about? Are there any major tourist traps you should avoid (or any you should prioritise)? What kind of local cuisine can you expect, and is there any food you should steer clear of because of an intolerance? Knowing all of these – and whatever else you can find out about your destination – means you’ll minimise the risk of being hit with any nasty surprises or unexpected costs.
Locate important documents and items
Don’t ever let your passport be “somewhere safe”. At all times, you should know exactly where your important travel documents and items are, even if it’s going to be a while before your holiday. Perform regular checks at frequent intervals between booking the holiday and actually going on it so that you can make sure you know the location of everything important. There’s nothing worse than getting to the airport or the ferry terminal, only to realise that you don’t have something you need. In a worst-case scenario, this can ruin an entire holiday, so don’t let that happen to you.
Check online reviews, but don’t let them rule you
TripAdvisor can be a wonderful tool, but it shouldn’t be entirely relied upon for accuracy. Many TripAdvisor reviews are fake, for example; you might come across a review written by a person who doesn’t actually exist, and these can serve multiple purposes like bolstering a business when it doesn’t deserve it (or slandering it when it’s not called for). You should also learn to read TripAdvisor reviews a little more deeply than surface level. Sometimes, reviews aren’t actually of the destination itself, but of the customer’s ancillary experience (getting there or dealing with a situation while there, for example), and that won’t help your impression at all.
Get a clean bill of health
Especially in a COVID-19 world, it’s important to make sure you’re as healthy as possible before you travel. Speak to your doctor and get them to clear you, your family, and whoever else you might be travelling with. That way, you can travel with peace of mind. If you do have a health condition, speak to your doctor about whether it could or should prove an impediment to travelling. Ask if there’s anything you can do to alleviate any possible negative consequences of going away. However much depth you want to go into, it’s important to make sure you’re healthy before you travel.
Book the right accommodation
You don’t want to skimp on accommodation when you go on holiday. Your hotel or lodging is going to be your base of operations while you’re away, and so the conditions should be just as amenable as they are at home (perhaps even more so if you’re paying a premium). You can’t necessarily expect all the same creature comforts as you would if you were at home, but you should definitely make sure you’re not staying somewhere that isn’t suitable for you. Do extensive research before you book accommodations, and ensure that you’re not making a bad decision in this area, because if you do, it’ll come back to haunt you.
Don’t leave packing to the last minute
Everything else is in order and it’s the night before your redeye flight. It’s time to pack, right? Wrong. You should already have done that a day or two before. Everything you need for your holiday should be packed and ready to go at least 24 hours before your flight, because otherwise, you’re going to be rushing. Make yourself a checklist of everything you’re taking with you (including individual items of clothing). Check off each item as you load it into the suitcase, then double-check afterwards. It pays to be thorough when it comes to holiday packing!