I am both meticulous and practical. So when it comes to vacation planning, you bet your bottom dollar that I would most likely have everything planned out — in advance. This is by no means a definitive post and I do hope that you would share some tips as we go along.
Basically what I am aiming at are those vacations that takes up more than a week, going somewhere foreign or probably one of those ATW (around the world) trips which is gaining in popularity recently.
Depending on the duration of the vacation, I would most likely be looking at starting around one year prior to the departure. Yes, you read it right, ONE YEAR. I have my own reasons which I will share with you, which might or might not be catered to what you have in your own country.
In my country, we have basically 2 long school holidays — late May/early June and December. So the local travel industry would always have travel fairs 2-3 months prior to these two travelling periods. So if I were to grab some cheap tickets, I need to plan early. Based on my limited experience, one year is just about right. If you plan early, you might be able to compare the fares between them before making your decision.
Next, depending on where you want to go, you might need travel visas, you might need to have some vaccinations and don’t forget — medical insurance! These procedures take time to get it done right, and you might need to have a look at your passport expiry date too!
Lastly, by having an early plan, I could start saving or map out a budget for the entire vacation. Preparing myself both mentally and financially.
Before I make a decision on where to travel, I would go through some travel magazines/books/blogs to get a rough idea and list down a few places that I have in mind. With proper research beforehand, you could even go down to your local travel agent and ask for suggestions, or draw up your own itinerary.
These are a couple of websites that I use to get my cranial juices flowing:
You could also find out more from your local dailies’ travel section for some practical travelling suggestions. Do also pay attention to the weather reports and natural disaster alerts for the destination that you are planning. For instance, my country is prone to flooding during the monsoon season (Nov-Dec), you would not want to be here around that time. Not only would your travel plans be shelved, you might find yourself caught up in the eye of the storm. (Sorry about the pun!)
Once you have a place or a few places narrowed down, your research would be tailored towards a more refined process. These include:
- Places of interest
- Packing items
- Seeking help/advice (forums, social platforms, blogs)
- Learning the language
- Reading up on the history (guidebooks)
Now you know why I need a year in advance! This is just the tip of the iceberg. Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments below.
Not all those who wander are lost – JRR Tolkien