Are you wondering how you can be sure you’re planning the best summer vacation? Are you not sure how to go about planning for your vacation this summer?
Depending on your circumstances and experience, planning a vacation can seem daunting. And a poorly-planned trip can be more of a headache than a relaxing vacation.
Here are some tips to help you plan and get the most out of your summer vacation.
It may seem contradictory, but part of good planning is being flexible. If you expect every detail of your plan to play out exactly as it is on paper, you’re likely to end up frustrated. Some things are just not in your control.
For instance, heavy traffic, flight delays, and weather can all affect your travel time. So it’s a good idea to allow some extra time for these unpredictable things, and to have a back-up plan (more on that below).
Flexibility also allows for sight-seeing and other diversions. Unplanned stops can make for great memories and experiences.
2. Back-up Plans
It’s not a bad idea to have a back-up plan in case of unforeseen events. For instance, even if you leave early and allow time for a traffic jam, circumstances could come together in such a way that you have to spend the night somewhere before reaching your destination. Before leaving, scope out hotels that are along your route, and bring their information with you.
It can cost valuable time if you have to hunt down a restaurant for every meal on travel day. Like the hotels, look ahead to find out where restaurants are located en route. Plan your travel time so that restaurant stops will hit close to meal times.
Also on the topic of food – it’s a good idea to bring snacks, drinks, and non-perishables (like granola bars and tuna packets). This gives you an option if you run out of time and can’t stop for a meal, or it prevents having to find a place to pull off and buy a snack.
4. Pack Light, but be Prepared
It can be a little tricky to be prepared while still keeping your packing light. The key is knowing what to be prepared for.
For instance, you can’t be prepared for absolutely everything (or else you’ll end up taking the entire contents of your home along with you!); but you can prepare for some basic things.
For instance, prepare for various weather events by packing outfits that can be layered (you can add or remove layers according to the weather). This saves space by not packing different outfits for each possible weather scenario, but it still keeps you covered.
A basic first-aid kit is also a good use of your packing space. It doesn’t have to be big, but it can make all the difference.
Money-Saving Tips for Summer Travel
In today’s economy, many people are looking to save wherever they can. The vacation budget might need to be tightened this year. If you are looking to save money on travel this summer, read on for some tips.
1. “Off” Times
Of course, traveling to destinations during the “off” season – such as going to the beach in September – can save a bundle. But there are other “off” times that you may not have thought of.
For instance, avoiding travel during holiday weekends and planning your trip during a less popular time may save you quite a bit of money. Airfare and hotel costs tend to rise notably during holiday weekends.
Consider ditching the weekend idea altogether and plan a weekday trip instead. You are likely to find much cheaper hotel rates and airfare during the week.
2. Don’t Procrastinate
Planning ahead can make the difference between a very expensive venture and a much cheaper one. While it’s true that you can sometimes find great last-minute deals on airfare and such, chances are you’ll pay a lot more if you have to buy a ticket or book a room right away.
If you plan ahead, you can refuse a deal that is too expensive…and you might find that the price will come down since you’re not desperate.
3. Out-of-the-Way Places
Avoiding tourist traps can help you save money on vacation. At tourist-intensive destinations, costs may be far higher as merchants raise prices on goods and services. You might be surprised to find how inexpensive a bed and breakfast is, for example, or a coastal cottage at a lesser-known beach.
4. Make and Bring Your Own Food
It’s understandable that one of the fun parts about a vacation is not having to cook. However, eating out costs a lot of money. A good, money-saving compromise is to bring your own food for the car trip, and make some of your own meals on site and go out for others. Making up a grocery list ahead is helpful; that way you’re not going to the store and buying on impulse.
If you make a grocery list according to the meals you’ll be cooking, that will help save money and allow you to plan how much you’ll be spending on eating out. On a week’s vacation, for instance, you might go out for dinner 3 nights, out for lunch 3 times, and out for breakfast on the day you depart.
5. Package Deals
Looking for a deal where you can have everything paid for in one price bundle may save you a bundle! Some of these packages even include shuttle service from the airport to the place where you’re staying.
An all-inclusive vacation may include meals, drinks, and even some activities. Do a little research and see if a package deal might work best for you.
Staying Safe on Summer Vacation
Summer vacations are meant to be fun, but it’s important that everyone stays safe, too. There are certainly potential hazards to consider: excessive heat, sunburn, insect bites and stings, safe driving, and so forth. Here are some tips for staying safe on vacation this summer.
1. Watch Your Baggage
Whether it’s a purse or wallet, suitcase or duffle bag, keep an eye on your belongings. People have been known to have their purses or wallets stolen while they exit their plane, wait for a bus, or simply go sight-seeing and shopping.
To help offset the possibility of being robbed, here are some tips.
-Use a fanny pack rather than a purse, or even better, carry your money under your clothes in a special money belt.
-Traveler’s checks are still considered a safer alternative to cash.
-Don’t carry everything in one place. Have your cell phone, passport, wallet, cash, etc. stashed in different places on your person. Your phone is crucial, because if your wallet gets stolen, you will need to cancel your credit cards immediately.
-Don’t check on your purse or wallet in public areas. Thieves look for people who pat their clothes and pockets to see if their wallets are there, and then the thief knows where you’ve stashed your wallet. You just showed him/her with your hands! Instead, find a private area such as a restroom to do a possessions-check.
2. Sleep Well
Did you know that falling asleep at the wheel is a significant problem and a major cause of fatal accidents? Before you set off on your vacation, if you’re driving, be sure to get a good night’s sleep.
If you can’t get a good night’s sleep for whatever reason, then make sure you pull off the road at the first sign of drowsiness and take a nap. It also helps if you have another driver with you who can take over if you get too sleepy.
Chewing gum, sipping coffee, or eating dark chocolate can sometimes help keep you feeling alert while driving. But none of those tricks is a substitute for a full night of rest.
Nothing ruins a vacation like getting a bad sunburn. Not only do you feel terrible for days; it’s a very unhealthy thing to have happen. Make sure you don’t get too lax about putting on sunscreen.
It’s easy to forget in the excitement of arrival at your destination, but it’s important. Pack the sunscreen on top of the topmost duffle bag, so you can get at it right away before you hit the sunny shores!
4. First Aid
It’s a good idea to travel with a first aid kit. This kit should also include after-bite and after-sting lotion or ointment, such as cortisone cream or calamine lotion.
5. Insect Repellent
Another vacation-ruiner is bugs. Take appropriate repellent and long-sleeved shirts and pants for evening outings, when bugs like mosquitoes are at their peak.