How much time do you take to consider your vacation choices? For too many of us, where we travel is more a case of convenience than desire. We want a holiday that takes us away from stress. So, we don’t want to spend hours considering where we’re going. Instead, we head online and book the cheapest option, or somewhere we’ve been before. Anything to save us having to think hard about something that’s meant to be relaxing.

In truth, though, putting thought into your plans is the best way to have a vacation to remember.
In fact, the more thought you put in, the better your time away will be. That’s not to say you should get stressed out by this. There’s no denying that vacations are there to relax us and be the one stress-free thing we’ve got. You don’t have to spend hours planning. A little thought is all it takes. And, to help make things even easier, we’ve put together a checklist of what to consider. These points should show you that planning a memorable vacation isn’t as hard as you think. Use them as a reference next time you’re thinking about going away.



As with anything, planning is crucial. Having some idea of what you’ll do once you’re away will save you stress once you’re there. It will also ensure you make the right decision about where you visit. The internet makes it easy to find out about what each location offers. Narrow your options to a few, and consider what you would do in each before booking anything. It may be worth buying a planner, especially for your travels. Jot down notes about what activities appeal to you. If it helps, you can draw up a comparison list for the places you’re considering. The destination with the most options is the one you should pick.

Once you’ve chosen your destination and activities, you can book your hotel and flights. Then, get down to the task of booking your individual excursions. For the most part, you should be able to book everything in advance. Again, this will save you worrying while you’re away. It will also ensure you have a better chance of being able to do everything. If you leave things to the last minute, you risk missing out on a place! While the internet is your best point of reference, it might also be worth buying a guidebook. A book will list all the options available to you. This, along with your online research, will ensure you know everything there is to do. You don’t want to miss out on the perfect excursion because you didn’t do enough research!


It’s also worth getting ahead of the game with your packing. Not taking the right things is a sure way to ruin your trip. Make sure you research what the weather will be like so that you can take appropriate outfits. It also helps that you already know what you’ll be doing. That way, you can pack for your plans. You don’t want to miss out on that once in a lifetime hiking trip because you didn’t take suitable footwear.


Vacation is the perfect time to get out of your comfort zone. When in Rome, as they say. Don’t be afraid to consider options that wouldn’t normally interest you. Too often, we get into a routine, even when it comes to our holiday choices. If we enjoyed one poolside vacation, we might get into the habit of doing the same thing each year. Equally, we can get into the habit of exploring culture without giving ourselves downtime. Getting into habits in this way is not how to make the most of your time away. Instead, you need to step outside your comfort zone a little with every holiday. It’s the only way to experience new things.


If you went on a poolside vacation last year, make sure not to do the same thing again. Head for a location that offers plenty of cultural experiences. Make sure that you don’t hang around the hotel for too long. Or, maybe you have the opposite problem. Break up your cultural exploration with a little downtime by the pool and see how it suits you. Or, is a cruise your ideal holiday option? Inject a little change by going on one of many river cruises, instead. Changes don’t have to be drastic. You can take things as far as you like. But, there should be some variation there. Otherwise, you won’t learn anything new. And, isn’t that why we go away? You never know; you may find that you fall in love with something you never expected to. A sports holiday, for example, could reveal of love of sports you never knew. There’s no better way to start a new hobby than discovering it in sunny climes.


In the same vein, it’s worth visiting as many destinations as possible. It’s rarely necessary to revisit the same country twice. It may be sad, but it’s true. There’s a whole world out there. Why revisit somewhere you’ve already been? Even if you fall in love with a destination, revisiting it will block your vacation possibilities. Some people even get into the habit of visiting the same place every year. How much are they missing out on?

Of course, it’s not always easy deciding where else to go. Get that travel notepad out again, and work on a travel wish list for yourself. You can keep this, and return to it each time you’re at the planning stages. Keep things interesting by choosing locations that are different from each other. If you go on a country retreat in the UK one year, why not visit a busy city like New York the next? Consider, too, visiting cold countries, as well as hot. Ski holidays in France, or a trip to Iceland, could impress you more than you think. The key is variety. Try making each vacation as different from the last as possible. That way, each trip away will be a new experience. When you look back at where you’ve been, you’ll be able to rest easy that you’ve done everything possible.


Try adding new countries to the list as the occur to you. That way, you can be sure you won’t run out of options. You can do this throughout the year. If your friends visit somewhere new, write it down. If you see somewhere on television that looks appealing, add that, too. Keeping track like this will help you see just how many choices are available to you.

If you’re determined to revisit countries, make sure to do it in the right way. Some places are large enough that they may well warrant a return. If that’s the case, make sure to head somewhere as far from where you last visited as possible. Make sure, too, that your experience is nothing like your previous visit. Arrange different activities, etc.


You can guarantee you won’t get the most of your vacation if somebody in your party isn’t happy. Not only will their experience suffer, but the chances are they’ll make the rest of you suffer, too. When planning your time, make sure to consider everybody who’s going. If you’re traveling with a group of friends, ask each of them what they would like to do. It can be worth sitting together during the planning stages and making sure everyone has a say. Group travel is about compromise, and not everyone is going to like everything you plan. But, knowing that they have at least a few activities to look forward to will be enough. If you have quieter members of the group, make sure to push them for their opinion. They may be too shy to say what they would like to do for fear the group won’t agree. But, it’s crucial to ensure everyone’s enjoyment! If someone misses out on picking an activity, they may spend the holiday feeling unhappy or excluded. And, something like that can ruin the fun atmosphere.

If you’re traveling with your family, the same rules apply. These are especially important with children. They won’t know to smile and bear the things they don’t want to do. So, you need to ensure that every activity is something that would keep their attention. At the end of the day, family holidays are all about the children. You need to put their needs before your own every step of the way. Long, historical tours in the pounding heat are not going to go down well. And, children are sure to make their feelings known. Chances are, they’ll play up and behave badly if they aren’t happy. Not only will this ruin the tour for you, but also for everyone else! Make sure to include your kids in every stage of the planning to avoid this eventuality.


By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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