Sharon the Moments

5 Things You Can Do to Make a Great Vacation

The word vacation often invokes thoughts of relaxation, leisure, and longed for destinations.  But the unexpected can easily bring that relaxing and beautiful destination vacation to a screeching halt in an instance.  Here are five tips for combating the unexpected and making your next vacation a relaxing retreat for you and your family.

5 Tips for a Great Vacation| Sharon the Moments Blog

Tip Number 5:  Know exactly why you want to visit this location.  Before you book a trip to your next vacation destination, talk to friends, to your coworkers, even your neighbors.  Don’t be afraid to Goggle your desired vacation spot.  Ask yourself why you want to vacation in the location; will you be taking your family or is this an adult/couples vacation? Is it because of the weather?  Do you want to relax poolside and with an umbrella drink or will you be cramming in all the sightseeing adventures the vacation will allow?

Knowledge is the key to being in control and knowing what activities are offered, the best time of year for best (seasonal) rates, and whom they cater to go a long way.  Is the vacation destination flexible with your travel schedule?  Is it all-inclusive or do you need to plan all the excursions?  Knowing the answer to these questions will help with your research.

Tip Number 4: Research your Destination.  Do your research!  Now that you have asked all those important questions and have the answers, do your research!!  I can not stress enough the importance of knowing what to expect on your vacation to keep it a stress-free.  If this will be a family affair, call the hotel/resort to ensure the hotel is able to meet all your family’s needs, from such items as a crib to a mini refrigerator to a kiddo pool.  If you are in need of transportation, ensure these accommodations are available and if you may incur a cost for this service.  Dont forget the seasonal rates.  Many popular vacation destinations will have peak seasons and off-season rates.  If you are flexible in your travel dates, know what season has the better rates (and less crowded) for a more enjoyable (and less expensive) time.  Often times, by simply asking the resort for their rates or any discounts they are offering, you can get in on those discounts.  Find out if the report has automatic upgrades if you book early.

Also, do be afraid to use Google and social media sites for additional research.  After all most vacation destinations offer the same activity by many different companies and varies price ranges.  Bottom line is by doing your research, you might just save you loads of savings.

Tip Number 3:  Stick to a budget:  Nothing can crash a vacation high more than going into debt over a week in paradise.  If you truly asked yourself all those questions, were honest about the answers and did thorough research, then sticking to a budget will be easy.  When looking for excursions, find a company that offers the right price without compromising the fun.  Also, many resorts will offer discounts for persons staying with them as well as make recommendations for your price range and comfort level.  Look for online discount offers, and exploring such discounts of travel associations you belong.  AAA is a great resource as well to not only find less expensive adventures and excursions but they are also a great resource for your questions.

I am a firm believer that you can still have a great vacation, enjoy all the adventures you want to do and still stay within your set budget by planning ahead.

Tip Number 2: Book early (Plan, Plan, Plan):  When you can book far in advance, often times you can upgrade rooms at the same price.  The key is knowing your accommodations policies.  In addition, the cost to rent a car or book airfare increases the shorter time period between booking and your actual travel dates.  With all your research and knowledge of the location, it makes it easier to begin planning/booking your excursions as well.  If traveling to a popular tourist location, many of the excursions fill up fast.  Most companies will allow booking about 6 months before.  I will than pencil in my (calendar) planner the day I can call to reserve our spot.  You will be required to provide a credit card number to hold your reservation, but will not be charged until time of service (Also, know the companies cancellation policy or change in reservations policy).  This can make for an unwanted expense that could have been avoided.  Also when you book in advance, this allows you the flexibility to adjust {and be in charge of} your vacation as needed.

5 Tips for a Great Vacation|Sharon the Moments Blog

Tip Number 1: Pack Light and Pack Appropriately:  Yes, this tips 3, 4 and 5.  Doing your research, knowing your destinations and staying on budget will all assist you with packing accordingly.  Remember you are on vacation.  So why do you want to also be in charge of countless luggage too? Most finer vacation locations will offer some sort of laundry facilities.  These people are most likely never going to see you again so they wont care you were the same shirt 3x during your trip.

Also be aware and mindful of the weather patterns of your vacation destination. Is it the rainy season? Do you need a sun visor/hat for the hot summer rays?  And do you really need to bring ten pairs of shoes for a seven-day trip?  Chances are you will be wearing your flip flops and a pair of sneakers the majority of your vacation.  Also, if you are flying, remember the airlines charge for luggage over their listed weigh limits {be sure to check your airlines for their restrictions}. Also, ask yourself if there are items you can purchase once you arrive. If traveling with your family, think about such items as sunscreen, toothpaste, shampoo.  It mights just be more partial to purchase these items when you arrive.  Also, don’t forget the mini travel size containers and the travel/trial size toiletries you can purchase for smaller needed items.

Overall, we you have done your research, know your reason for visiting your desire vacation destination, and planned accordingly, all else will most likely fall into place.

Remember: This is your vacation, your time to relax and recharge.  Enjoy your time away and bask in all your knowledge while hanging poolside and drinking from a coconut. 

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