Seeing as I just got back from one holiday, am due to go on another, and also the fact that we’re currently in the Easter break and summer is fast approaching, I thought I’d share my advice on holiday planning.
I spent the first decade of my life travelling with my family, mainly my mum, and it wasn’t until my younger siblings were born that I realised just how stressful a holiday can truly be. I guess it all boils down to the company you keep during the trip and also one major thing; planning. I am a meticulous planner, I honestly spend a good third of my day with my head in my organiser trying to make sure I have every detail of the day planned to a tee so I don’t end up in a muddle; it just makes things run so much smoother.
For the past few years I’ve gone on less ‘family’ holidays and have planned my own trips with friends instead. The contrast between that and going on a holiday with two children under 10 plus stressy parents is thrown into sharp relief when I come back and actually feel relaxed; sorry mum! I don’t think that I’m really in the same mindset as my parents when it comes to ‘holiday thinking’, because I have different responsibilities and things to think about, so please don’t take my tips here as the holy grail of holiday organisation, it’s merely the most important things for a person in my situation to keep in mind to ensure the holiday runs smoothly.
What is most important to you when looking at the location of your holiday getaway? Do you want somewhere in an ancient city where you can spend your days exploring catacombs and places of historical beauty? Or a modern metropolis buzzing with life and hustle & bustle of a booming population? I went to Australia last year and Sydney and Melbourne are honestly some of the coolest places I’ve ever been to, there’s just so much life there. Maybe you prefer to be on a boiling hot beach with a Cosmo or skiing down an icy mountain to apres drinks; whatever floats your boat, pick a place that you know you’ll be doing something you love in rather than a holiday spent outside your comfort zone, you really won’t come back feeling like you’ve had a proper ‘holiday’ experience otherwise.
I think that this might actually be the most important when it comes to ensuring that your holiday is successful. It can make the world of difference who you choose to go on your getaway with, and for different destinations I have different options; for example I went to Dubai with my best friend for my birthday last year. I would normally choose my boyfriend for romantic trips, such as Paris for Valentine’s Day last year, however I knew this would be more of a sunbathing and shopping and glamorous swanning around so of course I chose my closest girlfriend because it just felt like more of our thing. I think that different types of holidays require different companions, be it just one friend, a solo adventure, or a group of work friends in an attempt to get closer, it’s just up to understanding what types of trips would work best with different groups of people.
This one all depends on your own life and whether you need to get time off of school, work, other commitments. It’s also down to the prices of flights and hotels. For example, holidays during the school breaks are always more expensive, so it pays off to go in the less popular times of the year if it’s possible. I have booked a holiday depending on the prices of flights rather than my own schedule and ended up having a cheaper holiday but paying for it (pardon the pun) when I got back. I think that a good length of time to go on holiday is for about 11 days during the Easter break and then one to two weeks during the summer months in August. Check out which months the weather is best for according to the type of holiday you want, and then really rake through hotel websites and find the best deals rather than plumping for the first one you see because you’ve left it too late.
I actually find budgeting for a holiday really easy as I have a savings account on my Online Banking dedicated to my holiday fund, so that whenever I look at my online account I can see how much I’d have for whatever holiday I want to go on. The type of holiday I book also depends on my funds at the time; I book my flights and hotel very far in advance so that all I’m really saving for during the build-up to the actual holiday is the spending money. I then aim for a certain, reasonable, amount and divide it by the amount of days I’ll be spending in the country and what sort of activities I think I’d be doing there; around £20-30 per day is pretty standard for most places, but then you could end up not spending this much on some days depending on what you choose to do. I’m a really avid planner so I find this really easy to do, although sticking to it is sometimes the challenge as I also just love shopping and spending money frivolously.
This is more of a fun task to do on the run up to your holiday; the actual planning! I find this so much easier on city vacations where there’s actually quite a lot of sights to see and touristy things to do, however it’s equally as exciting to see ‘sunbathing’ written down in your planner. As I spend most of my time with my head in various planners and diaries anyway, I have a very good sense of organisation and would consider myself a control freak when it comes to having an actual ‘plan’ of what’s happening. I schedule like crazy just to make sure that there are no hitches that make everything fall to pieces. I am crazy on time management and end up at the airport like 6 hours before my actual flight, although at least it’s not late! Planning the holiday can help make sure that you don’t end up missing on any important sights and regretting it when you come home.
Obviously as a self-confessed shopaholic, I think that this is a vital part of any holiday planning. Apart from making sure that you actually have appropriate clothes to wear for the holiday, shopping in advance just helps to hype up the whole experience and makes it all so exciting! I always end up buying a new pair of sandals/sunglasses/new bikini for my holiday because I adore the feeling of wearing something new anyway, especially in an exotic, foreign country… I can’t explain it but surely there’s someone who feels me?! It’s the best feeling and just makes the idea of going on holiday so much better! It’s important though not to spend your holiday budget on the shopping, because of course there’s probably a lot of shopping to be done in the actual location as well! (Partially joking).
This is all very basic, but I know from personal experience that keeping these things in mind can make the world of difference to the holiday- especially the budgeting and company, everything else could just fall into place if you get these two right. Of course I’m definitely not saying that these are strict rules to follow and if you don’t then your holiday is going to be a nightmare, these are just the basic guidelines that I tend to follow in my own personal situation that help me to have a relaxing, stress-free (ish) getaway.
I hope you’re enjoying the Easter break and if you’re going away at any point soon then have a lovely time!