20 Tips For Vacation Planning That Make Your Life Easier

20 Tips For Vacation Planning That Make Your Life Easier

For most people, vacations are the time they look forward to all year; after all, they worked and toiled for that upcoming week of bliss and it better be worth it. But often, a vacation can wind up being just as much work and stress as your day-to-day life. If it’s not planned correctly, that is! We've all heard the saying about “best-laid plans”, but that shouldn’t stop you from planning ahead and making your vacation as seamless as possible. Here are 20 vacation planning tips that are sure to make your life easier and your trip a lot more enjoyable.

1. Start Early

While there is something to be said about spontaneity and spur-of-the-moment vacations, you should also bear in mind that last-minute trips are sure to induce a lot more undue stress. By planning trips in advance, you’ll have ample time to look for the best deals on flights and accommodations, as well as the ability to spread out your costs over a longer period so that you're not scrambling for everything all at once. 

PlanthumbPhoto by JESHOOTS.COM

2. Set a Budget

Finances (or lack thereof) are one of the biggest stressors when it comes to planning a trip. Budgeting is a great way to alleviate your worries because it allows you to accurately determine how much you can afford to spend and then build a vacation around it — meaning that you can actually enjoy your trip rather than fret over how much you’ve been spending. 

Towfiqu-Barbhuiya-0Itvgxau5Oo-UnsplashPhoto by Towfiqu barbhuiya

3. Research Your Destination

People always say to expect the unexpected; well, it might also be wise to research the unexpected. By researching your destination of choice, you’ll get a better sense of what to expect in terms of weather, customs, and places you should go (as well as not go). All of this will help mitigate stress by allowing you to adequately prepare for where you’re going. 

Glenn-Carstens-Peters-Npxxwgq33Zq-UnsplashPhoto by Glenn Carstens-Peters

4. Book Flights and Accommodations Together

Another great way to reduce stress is to make your trip as seamless and cohesive as possible. The best way to do that is to book your flight and accommodations together. Not only is it more convenient, but doing this also allows you to save money and ensure that all the elements of your trip work in tandem with one another. 

Jeshoots-Com-Mseswdmzr-A-UnsplashPhoto by JESHOOTS.COM


5. Make an Itinerary

Sometimes exploration is about getting off the beaten path and going with the flow, but it’s also important that you have a rough idea of where you want to go and what you want to do. Try drafting a general itinerary of the places you MUST see and allow for additional time to explore beyond your set schedule, that way you’ll leave no stone unturned and still get to where you want to go. 

Glenn-Carstens-Peters-Rlw-Uc03Gwc-UnsplashPhoto by Glenn Carstens-Peters

6. Pack Smart

Packing with intent is one of the best things you can do to ensure a smooth and enjoyable vacation. Remember, these are your belongings for the entirety of the trip so you better account for whatever might come your way. Be very mindful of the weather, activities, and cultural norms of the place you’re visiting and make a packing list that reflects all of these considerations. Moreover, packing light and only using carry-on luggage can save you a lot of time and energy as well. 

Anete-Lusina-Gozxralnit4-UnsplashPhoto by Anete Lūsiņa

7. Learn Basic Phrases

If you’re going to a foreign country that speaks another language, it’s certainly worth your while to try learning a few basic phrases. Locals love it when you attempt to speak their language, and in most cases, it’s the thought that counts. Besides, phrases like “hello,”  “thank you” and “where is ____?” will simply make for a much more pleasant and seamless experience overall. 

Leonardo-Toshiro-Okubo-Jbstnenqxok-UnsplashPhoto by Leonardo Toshiro Okubo

8. Use Technology

When it comes to navigating a new space, technology is your best friend. Whether it’s Uber, Google Maps, or any number of translation apps, technology provides us with limitless tools to help make any vacation spot fun and easy to explore — and all from the palm of your hands!

Rob-Hampson-Cqfkhqv6Ong-UnsplashPhoto by Rob Hampson

9. Check Passport and Visa Requirements

This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people overlook this crucial detail. Depending on where you’re going, it’s an absolute must that you have certain prerequisites for entry such as passport expiration and visa requirements dealt with well before your date of travel. This will ensure you have plenty of time to get things sorted without having to scramble at the last minute.

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10.  Purchase Travel Insurance

You can never put a price on peace of mind. Well, in this case, you can, but it’s well worth it as travel insurance can end up saving you thousands in the long run. For a relatively low fee, you can ensure that unexpected circumstances like cancellations, illness, medical emergencies, or lost luggage are all accounted for — making your trip a lot less stressful even if it is a slight additional expense. 

Philipp-Kammerer-6Mxb Mz Q8E-UnsplashPhoto by Philipp Kämmerer


11.  Arrange Transportation

One crucial step in planning your trip is considering how you plan to get around. For some destinations, this is most important when you actually arrive, as transit from airports is often a tourist trap rife with shady, overpriced scams. Take the time to research the best ways to get around, whether it’s public transportation, walking, bike-share or even a rental car.

Paul-Hanaoka-D-Qq7W751Vs-UnsplashPhoto by Paul Hanaoka 

12. Plan for Connectivity

Connectivity is crucial in this day and age, especially if you want to take advantage of all the technological tools that can help make your vacation as stress-free as possible. Ideally, you’ll want to look into out-of-country phone plans from your carrier, portable wifi devices, or perhaps getting an affordable local SIM card. Planning ahead will ensure that you stay connected and informed throughout your travels. 

Bernard-Hermant-X0Etnwqmnq8-UnsplashPhoto by Bernard Hermant

13. Download Offline Maps

Additionally, in the case that connectivity is out of the question, you’ll want to download offline maps of the places you’re visiting. This way you’ll know exactly where you’re going and how to get there regardless of whether or not you have an adequate internet connection. 

Henry-Perks-Bjxaxq1L7Di-UnsplashPhoto by henry perks

14. Stay Organized

Organization of belongings is key to ensuring a safe and care-free travel experience. There’s nothing worse than stressing over having to look for important items such as passports, boarding passes or currency. It’s best to stay organized and keep crucial items such as these in a safe and secure place where you’ll know everything is accounted for.

Nicole-Geri-Gmj3Tfolvna-UnsplashPhoto by Nicole Geri

15. Use Packing Cubes

If you’re looking to organize clothes and maximize space in your luggage, then packing cubes are a must! Packing cubes help you separate your clothing in whatever way makes sense to you, which means that you’ll not only find items quicker, but you’ll also be able to pack and unpack much more efficiently. 

Dane-Deaner-Hkor0Lorgfm-UnsplashPhoto by Dane Deaner

16. Research Local Cuisine

The best way to explore the culture, tradition and way of life of any new destination is through experiencing its cuisine. But you must be wary of inauthentic tourist traps intent on taking your hard-earned money, or even just restaurants that don’t adhere to specific dietary restrictions you may have. Be sure to do your due diligence and research the best places to eat if you want to truly enjoy authentic local flavors and get the most out of your travels. 

Syed-Ahmad-Kgjq1Agdwe0-UnsplashPhoto by Syed Ahmad


17.  Plan Some Downtime

Here’s the thing: exploration is fun and all — but it’s also exhausting. At the end of the day, this is meant to be a vacation, so don’t overload your schedule to the point that it’s no longer relaxing. Do your best to explore but also savor the experience and enjoy some well-deserved leisure time. 

Toa-Heftiba-Bvheymfu7Ec-UnsplashPhoto by Toa Heftiba

18. Use Credit Card Rewards

Everyone has credit cards, so why not take advantage of all the perks that get from them? In some cases, this might mean that you’ll have to completely reassess the way you use credit cards and try to find some with reward points, miles, discounts, or even airport lounge passes. Either way, any of these travel benefits are sure to enhance your overall experience and it’s well worth your time to look into them. 

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19. Make Copies of Important Documents

Documents get lost or stolen all the time, and the worst thing you can do is be unprepared. Be sure to plan for the worst-case scenario and make copies of key documents. This allows you to carry copies around or have photos instead of the actual document, making it a lot less likely that you’ll lose them or have them stolen. 

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20. Stay Hydrated

Of course, this applies in day-to-day life, but it should be even more of a priority on vacation! Dehydration, especially in hot destinations, is a major concern and you must stay on top of it. Be mindful of your water intake, and try to carry a refillable bottle if possible — this will ensure that a busy day of travel, won’t result in dehydration, no matter how hectic it is. 

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