Every year, billions of dollars are spent as Americans embark on vacations. With the right amount of planning and research, these vacations can be a fun and stress-free experience. Here are some tips on how to improve the quality of your next vacation.
Research, Research, Research!
The best vacations require some time and effort to plan. Prior to your trip, extensively research your destination, accommodations and activities.
Many vacationers have an exact destination in mind, while others have just a general idea of the desired location attributes and activities. Even if you are set on a particular destination, research before you book your trip. First, check on the area’s activities. Does the area have what you are looking for? Are certain activities closed at different times of the year? Are the activities you are seeking located within a reasonable travel distance from each other?
Second, try to research weather patterns. To assure the best vacation, avoid rainy season or hurricane season, if applicable. If you hate the heat, avoid the hottest months of the year. If you are looking for the best deal, try to travel in the off-season, when airfare and hotels are generally cheaper.
Be sure to thoroughly research accommodations. Are you traveling with children? If so, opt for a suite or apartment rental where your whole family can enjoy time together. Does you or your travel partner have a disability? Look into accommodations that are accessible. Are you looking for the latest hot spot, or do you want a more laid-back vibe? Check the hotel’s reviews on TripAdvisor or other websites to ensure the feel matches your desires. Don’t be afraid to call the hotel directly to ask about its features and style.
In many locations, a car is essential. For quick trips, renting a car is the easiest option. Prior to arriving at your destination, call your rental car company and ask for the make and model of the car you are renting. Try to rent a car as similar as possible to the car you drive every day. Being familiar with the car’s operations will minimize the chance of an accident, which can quickly ruin even the best vacation. So, do not forget about your car transport.
Call your car insurance provider prior to your trip and discuss your rental car coverage. If you are not covered, be sure to purchase the optional insurance offered by the rental car company. The insurance adds only a small amount to your total bill, but can save you thousands of dollars if you are involved in an accident or if the car is damaged in any way.
If you are taking a longer vacation, consider using car transport to ship your car to your destination. The price of car transport varies widely, but generally costs a few hundred dollars. Depending on the length of your vacation and the distance from your home, this can be a money-saving option. Shipping your car to your destination can also reduce stress, since you will be driving a car you are familiar and comfortable with.
Make an Itinerary
By now you’ve carefully researched your destination and transportation. Put your findings into an itinerary, print it out and bring it with you on your trip. Include all details of transportation, accommodations and pre-booked activities or meal reservations. With all of this information in one spot, you won’t have to dig through your email to find your trip details.
While the tips above will help prepare you for the best vacation possible, even the best-planned vacations usually hit a bump or two along the way. Bring a good attitude on your vacation, and expect at least a few trouble spots, so you aren’t devastated when a flight is delayed or an activity is cancelled due to inclement weather. A solid plan and a positive attitude will send you on the way to the vacation of your dreams.