A spontaneous weekend getaway is always fun, but when you’re planning larger vacations or trips for a family, your best bet is to plan as far in advance as possible. Planning your trip several months out allows you to find the best deals and selection of resorts and activities, and gives you enough time to save up enough to cover your trip. Western Union (WU) has compiled some helpful tips for planning next year’s vacations in advance so you make sure you have a fabulous time.
Write Out a Budget
A vacation can be considered a major purchase, so you want to budget for it like one. Create line items in your budget for expenses like airfare, baggage, hotel, transportation, food, entertainment, and shopping, but don’t forget to add in a cushion. It’s often the smaller expenses that aren’t planned for that can add up and bust your budget. Add in contingency spending cash for things like snacks, water, souvenirs, taxi or car service fare, money transfers, WiFi, toiletries, emergency medical care, and the like. You’ll be glad you did!
Save Your Pennies
A main advantage of planning next year’s vacation well in advance is that it gives you a lot of time to save up. Last-minute vacations are too easy to put on the credit card. However, if you know you have, say, 10 months until your trip, you can divide the cost by 10 and then save up that amount each month rather than putting the trip on credit.
Some travel companies offer no-interest payment plans so you can pay for your vacation in installments in advance of your trip. Disney Parks even offers a free, no-fee, fully-refundable vacation account where you can determine how much you’ll need to save, and then auto-transfer money over in intervals so your vacation is funded when it’s time to go.
Research the Best Deals
When time is on your side, you can research the best deals and have the best selection of resorts, hotels, amenities, excursions, and activities to choose from. Research review sites to see what others have to say, and look for discount coupon codes you can redeem online when you book reservations. For popular restaurants and activities that sell out quickly, get reservations as early as possible so you don’t miss out.
Ask the Right Questions
When planning a vacation in advance, be sure to ask questions, like if your hotel will be under construction when you arrive, so you can choose another one if the noise will interfere with your peace and quiet. Also, be sure to ask your hotel or resort concierge for any suggestions of activities or entertainment you should check out, and enlist his or her help in making reservations and getting the best seats or tables.
Concierges often have connections that can help you make the most out of your trip.
Plan Ahead for Going Abroad
If you’re planning on traveling abroad, start preparing as soon as possible. Make sure you update or renew your passport if need be, allowing plenty of time to avoid surprises or last-minute rush fees. Also, if the country you’re traveling to requires specific vaccinations, research which vaccinations you’ll need and the medical clinics that provide them so you get your shots in the appropriate timeframe before you leave.
If you’re bringing your cell phone, avoid hefty international charges by changing your plan to an international plan in advance of your trip. Also, set up your friends and family on WiFi calling apps like Viber so you can talk over WiFi without charges. There are also other helpful travel apps that can help you plan out your vacation abroad so you can save money.
By following these great tips, you’ll be setting yourself up for the vacation of a lifetime next year. What are your favorite vacation planning strategies? Share them with us in the comments!