Allright, it’s almost that time of year again: SUMMER HOLIDAYS!
As people keep asking us to give them some guidance on how to plan an adventurous holiday: this blog post is for you guys! We also included two handy one-page checklists to structure your preparations. Enjoy!
- GOALS & LOCATION SHORTLISTING
Start by deciding what kind of trip you want. Is this a leisurely escape, with lots of lakeside naptime, or a hard-charging quest to maximize miles? Determine how far you can travel and how long you can be away. Get inspired online at our Instagram page or through this 1-minute quiz from Buzzfeed.
- DESTINATION RESEARCH
Search online for pictures and reviews to make sure the destination is the perfect match to your expectations. Check weather statistics, (avoiding hurricane season), cost of living, must-see attractions, travel advice from your country’s foreign affaires department etc. Only buy a Lonely Planet Guide once you’re fully sure of your destination.
- AIRPLANE TICKETS
You can save a great amount of money if you wait for the appropriate time to book your flight. Check grouping sites like Momondo, Skyscanner or Kayak and check their forecasted price evolution. Set an airfare alert to warn you on bottom prices. Be flexible if possible and don’t book on Fridays or Sundays as they are always the most expensive. There’s no one magic number for how many days in advance you should buy. It depends too much on your destination. Although, in my experience, wait till 3-4 months in advance for the best results. Also, be aware that the cheapest flights aren’t always the best value. Long layovers, additional fees for luggage etc. can ruin your mood easily.
Schedule your trip if you want some peace of mind on whether you will be able to visit all highlights or don’t like to spend time during your holiday on searching for local transport or hotel reservations. I do this in Excel, with a day-to-day planning. (What to do, how to transport, where to sleep). Check the feasibility of your schedule by reading reviews on hiking trips, Google Map your route etc. For longer trips (more than one month) a day-to-day planning would probably induce more stress than relieve any. Go with the flow and listen to the locals.
In some remote or exclusive locations like a mountain cabin, a reservation is indispensable. Also, for some trips you’ll require local train/plane/bus transport with limited seats. If you have a tight schedule, by sure not to let this element impede you. You’ll find all relevant links to transport companies, and travel times in a Lonely Planet. Also check the option of a rental car.
You’re almost done! Now it’s time for the more practical stuff. Follow this easy week-by-week countdown checklist for a hassle-free departure. Check our what-to-pack checklist (see link below) and go shopping for the things you need.