For many people, traveling to new destinations is one of the joys of life, introducing them to different cultures, landscapes, and ways of life. And while it’s great to book a vacation on a whim, it can be a lot less stressful if it has been carefully planned ahead of time. Not only will you have the best chance of scoring early bird travel deals but you’ll be 100% prepared when it comes to having your travel documents in order.
By booking early, you’ll also get the pick of the accommodation on holiday rental platforms such as Findallrentals website, which offers both short and long-term rental properties in all corners of the globe. Online rental sites have changed the game when it comes to finding your dream vacation digs. Thanks to the high-quality color images, informative listing descriptions, and reviews from previous guests, you’ll have peace of mind that your vacation will be everything you hoped for.
In this guide, we’ll share tips for planning a stress-free vacation, covering everything from accommodation bookings to off-season travel.
Know Your Destination
The first step in planning any vacation is selecting your destination(s) and figuring out a rough idea of what you want to see and do. This is because the activities you are interested in doing will influence the most suitable place to stay, whether that be in the heart of a historic town center or along the coastline.
For example, if you want to spend most of your time exploring cultural museums and city sights, then it’s best to be within close proximity to them or near convenient public transport connections. On the other hand, you might prefer to be immersed in nature by the beach or in the mountains, with a hire car to get you from A to B.
By determining your destination and how you want to spend your time on vacation, you’ll be able to make a better-informed choice when it comes to accommodation. If you’re not sure, then check out a few articles on the “Best Things to Do in (insert destination)” and see what piques your interest.
Determine Your Budget
For most travelers, money is an underlying factor in planning the perfect vacation, and sticking to your budget is often a challenge. It’s incredibly easy to get carried away when on vacation, what with eating out, daily activities, and transportation costs. While this can seem liberating while you’re away, it can quickly lead to financial stress when you return home.
So figure out exactly how much you can afford to spend and do some research on the costs of flights, accommodation, activities, and eating out in your destination of choice. Based on that, you can determine how much you can afford to spend on accommodation and for home many days you can travel.
Remember, always leave some buffer room for unexpected expenses and consider the costs of withdrawing and/or exchanging money abroad. By having a clear budget in place that is based on current prices, you’ll be able to have the holiday of your dreams while staying within your means.
Select Your Accommodation
Next, decide on the type of accommodation you’re after, which will be largely determined by the number of people in your vacation party. Maybe you are traveling with the extended family in tow or perhaps you require a multi-bedroom house or villa. If it’s just you and your significant other, then a cozy space for two is ideal.
On most holiday rental sites, you can filter your search by the number of rooms you need, as well as the budget you have available. It’s easy to find an entire property for your exclusive use or somewhere with shared communal spaces.
To help narrow down your options, make a list of all the facilities that you really want, such as a swimming pool, a fully-equipped kitchen, or a washing machine. If you’re traveling with young kids, check that the properties you are considering are family-friendly and child-safe (be sure to email the owner if this isn’t clearly stated in the listing).
Don’t Expect Last-minute Deals
With accommodation and transportation so highly sought after, it’s rare that you will pay less by leaving your travel arrangements to the last minute. By booking your flights/trains/buses well in advance, you’ll be able to travel on the dates and times that suit you AND for the best price available.
The same can be said for accommodation, with the best holiday rentals always being snapped up early. By booking your vacation weeks or even months in advance, you’ll be able to take your pick and find the property that best suits your needs, rather than having to settle for whatever is left over.
Travel in the Off-season
If you’re someone who loves a great deal, consider traveling in the off-season when many accommodation and activity providers offer discounts on their published rates. School holidays, Easter, and the Christmas/New Year periods are among the most expensive times to travel when accommodation is in high demand and rates soar.
If possible, opt to travel a month out from the “peak season” so you get the best weather conditions, without the expense. For example, a European vacation in September is going to be significantly cheaper than in July or August when much of the continent is on its annual summer vacation. The added bonus of traveling in the off-season is that you will get to sightsee and explore without the crowds.
While the idea of having a different outfit for every day of your vacation might sound great for your social media content, it will quickly get tiring having to lug it around (not to mention the oversized baggage fees you may incur). So rather than packing half of your wardrobe “just in case”, be strategic about what you bring and what you leave behind.
Start by listing all of the essential items that you need for your vacation, including clothing, toiletries, and electronic gadgets. Opt for garments that can easily be layered as temperatures change and can be incorporated into multiple outfits. Another popular packing tip is to roll your clothing instead of folding it as it will compact into a smaller space.
Always check the baggage restrictions for your flights/trains/buses to avoid any unexpected fees upon check-in. By doing a “test pack” a few days in advance, you’ll have time to purchase additional baggage online, which is usually much cheaper than doing so at the airport.
Have Your Travel Documents in Order
Lastly, it’s essential that you have a valid passport and any necessary visas before you head to the airport or station as you won’t be allowed to board any international flights/trains/buses without them. It’s also highly recommended that you take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy that will cover you in case of cancellations or (more importantly) medical expenses.
Some countries also have specific vaccination requirements to enter through their borders, so check these well in advance so you have time to get your shots before you depart. Also, use the opportunity to inform yourself of what is and isn’t allowed into the country to avoid any awkward situations at customs.