As you plan any upcoming trips, you may get overwhelmed by everything you need to take into account.
Packing, setting up travel, and saving funds are all complicated preparations in their own right and together can be taxing.
Remember to pace yourself and be realistic. With a few pointers, you’ll be fine. Read on to learn some tips and tricks for planning your vacation smoothly.
1. Build Your Budget Months in Advance
The closer to the trip you begin planning, the more strained your wallet will be in the end. Transportation and accommodations are naturally more affordable when booked early, and you can build a proper budget with that time. That’s why you should do your best to plan your trip finances early to save for it slowly.
If you use an immediate payment method with benefits — like a debit card — the saving will come easily. This makes it particularly simple if saving is already difficult; you won’t have to put away as much each month. The benefits, like round-up savings, can make it happen automatically.
2. Optimize Your PTO
Since you’re likely leaving work to go on vacation, you’ll need to use your paid time off to get away. But not everybody has as much as they need due to poor benefits or having to use it elsewhere. Whatever your situation is, try to plan your trip to optimize the days you do have.
If you’re off on weekends, centering your trip around then would give you two extra vacation days at no PTO cost. This is a major reason why people often go on vacation during three-day weekends. Of course, you may come across some competitive prices and closed bookings at these times, so do so with caution.
3. Pack Appropriately for the Climate
Wherever you decide to go, make sure you’re prepared for the local climate and know if it’s different from home. The last thing you want is to be without a raincoat during monsoon season or a jacket during a snowstorm. If you don’t have appropriate outerwear, then find something affordable but effective — a plastic rain poncho is better than nothing.
Remember to pack essential accessories as well, like a thermos to preserve liquid temperature or mittens and ski masks. A bathing suit is a good idea for warmer climates as are lighter clothes, while heavier clothes protect from cold.
4. Bring a Towel
“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” had it right in proclaiming the versatility of the travel towel. You can use one for almost limitless purposes: cleaning up spills, wiping sweat, cooling yourself down, or keeping yourself warm. If you find the right one, you can get a material that dries fast, soaks quickly, or has more density.
You’ll have to think about what exactly you want from it before purchasing. Organic materials, like cotton, might emit an unpleasant smell when used, while others like bamboo will not. Microfiber is best if you want a light, non-abrasive option that can hold a lot of liquid.
5. Protect Your Skin From the Sun
Temperature aside, you should consider what to pack to help block the sun. Different clothing textures, weave patterns, weave densities, and colors all affect how much UV exposure your skin receives. Because of this, it’s a bit complicated to balance your wardrobe with light summer wear and dense, protective materials. Just do your best, but don’t worry too much if you also wear an SPF 30 sunblock.
Believe it or not, you should take care to prevent sunburn no matter where you go or what the weather looks like. Ultraviolet rays can still burn you through the clouds and can, under snowy conditions, be even stronger in the winter.
6. Compose and Follow a Packing List
Avoid getting confused or potentially leaving something important behind by creating a packing list and then following it. It’s all too easy to jump around your home-grabbing items to bring without looking thoroughly enough. Instead, do a lap of all the rooms and write down what to bring from each one before taking it.
It may be helpful to categorize your list by room, which should also loosely categorize your items as well. Write down everything you need from your bathroom, for instance, and your notes will also serve as a toiletry list.
7. Create a Loose Itinerary
All vacations need an organization to some degree, and the more you want to do, the more planning you need. But keep in mind the nature of a vacation, which is to clear your mind and enjoy yourself. Emotional satisfaction should come before logistical satisfaction — that is, feeling content even if you didn’t get to everything.
By all means, make an itinerary, but also allow yourself to break from it if the situation calls for it. Maybe you put too many expectations on yourself to be active and haven’t been able to rest on the beach. When the time comes, focus on your needs before your schedule.
Your vacation is for getting a break from daily life over all else. As a result, you’ll want it to go as smoothly as possible. That’s why these tips are so helpful — they can make the difference between an OK vacation and a great one.