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Posted by on Jun 9, 2011 in Travel Tips |

How to Plan a Vacation

Proper planning (although not the most exciting part of your vacation) is the most important thing for a great vacation. Most people don’t spend enough time researching on destinations and going through reviews. They end up wasting valuable time during their vacation trying to figure out what to do, where to eat etc. I have put together a list of things that I personally use for vacation planning. Hope this will help make your next vacation the best one yet…

1. Research – this might seem tedious but it’s worth it at the end. Google the destination you want to visit, go through at least 5 good sites including the official site for that destination. Do up a list of things / attractions that interest you. Read plenty of real reviews  for each attraction / tour and then decide if it still of interest to you.

If so, go to the individual websites of each attraction and look at their ticket prices, parking, hours of operation, directions and any other special notes they might have. When you are done with the list of things to do, plan them out by their location so that you wont waste time on the road. If you are staying more than a day in one destination, plan out the attractions in your list giving enough time to enjoy each place and for traffic and any unforeseen issues. Shown below is an example of a spreadsheet I use…

2. Accommodation - book hotel rooms early to get the best rates and ensure availability, specially if you plan to use rewards points. Check multiple online travel sites as well as the hotel website. Using you can compare rates for multiple sites on a single page and book directly on your favorite travel or hotel site. In addition to the per night rate factor in taxes/fees (which can really add up), parking, resort fees, internet access charges etc. for budgeting purposes. If you have rewards or a frequent guest status at the hotel chain, check about free upgrades, meals and internet access.

3. Travel documents – if you are traveling out of the country ensure that you have a valid passport and travel visas. Use the form below to check if you need a travel visa.

4. Pack your bags – check the weather at your destination and other tours and things you will be doing. Make a list just in case and start packing. Don’t wait to buy things when you get there as things will most probably be more expensive than getting it at your local store before you go and you will also waste a lot of time trying to find that item. Do remember to pack some extra clothes, underwear, swimwear, towels, shoes, hygiene items etc. Most importantly, pack any medications that you are taking and that you might need. If you are flying don’t forget about restrictions on liquids in your carry-on luggage.

5. Plan for emergencies – always pack a first-aid kit for emergencies. remember to have one number as an emergency contact for everyone in your group.

6. Pet boarding / sitting – unless you really have to take you pet with you, it will be easier for you and your pet to look into pet boarding. Research and go through reviews, find a good place and check for availability as soon as you can. Remember to give your contact number in case of any emergency.

7. Driving / flying – if it’s a long drive or a flight, make sure everyone is comfortable and have enough things to keep them entertained and occupied. If you are going on a cruise check out our Cruise Travel Tips.

Hope these tips help you plan your next vacation! bon voyage…

Manisha (6 Posts)

Manisha likes to travel the world with her husband and experience new things. She is the Founder/CEO of, a website design and online marketing company. She spends her free time doing