Think back, remember your favorite vacation? Maybe you were a child or perhaps it was more recent. At some point in your life you have probably said, "this is the best vacation ever!" When you begin to plan your next vacation, think back to that time and try to remember exactly what made that adventure stand out. Where did you go, who were you with, what did you eat, how was the weather? Keep reading to learn some of my tricks to discovering the perfect vacation destination for my clients.
Once you've pinpointed a few things that made your last vacation so special, you'll want to think about past vacations that were not so great. Take a moment and think about the factors that contributed to placing that vacation in the "not so great" category. Some things may be unavoidable when traveling however choosing the right destination can limit the portions you find least enjoyable.
Now that you have a list of likes and dislikes, a pattern will emerge that I call your "Travel Style". As you delve a little deeper, you will want to consider any time constraints you may have for your upcoming vacation and the number of people that will be joining you. Arranging travel schedules for a family of 4 is much easier than a group of your 25 closest friends. If you are planning an expedition with several friends or family members, you will want to check out group rates for cruises or find out if you are eligible for block space at hotels for a slightly discounted rate which brings us to another topic: the budget.
The next thing you want to consider is the overall budget for your vacation. You will also want to confer with your fellow travelers if they are paying their own way. It's tempting and easy to just look at the printed price and go with that. Research any additional fees that can be associated with travel such as taxes, resort fees, parking fees, toll booths along the way and 20 other things I won't bore you with. Taking the time to plan out your ancillary budget will make your trip go much smoother and make opening up your credit card bill much easier when you return home. Don't forget to budget for things like pet boarding while you are gone either...that alone adds $400+ to our vacation budget for a week long trip!
If you or anyone in your group has any health or dietary requirements that may need to be considered when visiting a destination add them to your list of "must haves". Consider mobility issues as well as food allergies or refrigerated medications and such. You will want all members of your party to feel comfortable and able to enjoy themselves.
Several countries maintain strict policies regarding entry by individuals that have had legal troubles in the past. It is best to contact the country that you wish to visit prior to plunking down cash for your trip if you or someone in your group falls in that category. Most countries have a clearly outlined process to help you determine if further action will be required by you before travel. Canada, our neighbor to the north, is one that trips travelers up occasionally due to the fact that a past DUI among other things can get you turned around at the border. Not good if you are planning an Alaskan cruise and plan to embark or disembark in Vancouver.
It's a great big fascinating world out there so do your homework and you are sure to find your most amazing vacation yet. I have one final tip; when/if it gets too overwhelming and it is no longer fun to scroll through the never ending lists of hotel reviews from questionable sources with possibly even more questionable motives, call a certified travel planner. It doesn't cost you more in fact, it will probably save you money in the long run. Happy Travels!