Many of us never really think about what goes into travel planning until we are deep into the task and find ourselves overwhelmed by all the minute details. In reality, all you need is to structure the process and create an action plan with small achievable goals that are tied to dates.
Step 1. VISUALIZE YOUR VACATION
When it comes to planning, we always have to manage expectations. It all starts with a visual aspect of the trip. What experiences are you looking for? How do you want to remember your trip many years from now? Take into account the fact that experience you are trying to create should be enjoyable for all travelers. Therefore, I would suggest for everyone going on a trip to think about how they envision their vacation and be part of the conversation. Creating a plan is fun on its own. That is how you build excitement over upcoming trip.
Step 2. TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE AGE OF ALL TRAVELERS
Age of travelers is never an issue when you travel on your own or with someone who shares the same habits and style. Once you add kids to the mix, the whole prospective changes. It is not about you anymore. Kids get tired, they can’t walk for long periods of time, they get cranky, they simply want to be kids and enjoy the moment. Traveling with teenagers can be challenging as well. They get bored easily, their idea of a great vacation might be far from what you consider a perfect vacation for yourself. Traveling with parents adds another layer of complexity which needs to be taken into consideration. Thus, age is an important thing to consider before any planning process begins.
Step 3. CREATE A PLAN
Now that you visualized your vacation and have a clear picture in your mind, it’s time to start planning. In my business practice, I call this process mapping. You create a date by date preliminary itinerary and make a list of things you want to accomplish every day, such as tours, evening activities and entertainment. You always have to consider down time, otherwise your trip will turn out to be a non-stop hassle to get from one place to another. Also, making a list of things you want to see and do, this helps you plan activities in a more thoughtful way, which will create a nice flow for your vacation.
Many will argue that being spontaneous is what travel is really about. I agree. However, you never want to be unprepared and start looking into things to do when you actually get to the destination. This creates unnecessary stress you want to avoid while traveling.
Consider creating a plan as a base layer for your trip. You can always add things, change plans and make adjustments, but that initial “layout” is already there, and you are ready for a Step 4.
Step 4. MAKE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS
This is where your plans become reality. You start booking flights, hotels, cruises, transfers and railroads, if necessary. Once you have all those things taken care of, take another look into the list of activities and things to do. Research local restaurants, museums, shows and off the beaten path tours. All these things will enhance your stay at the destination and make it memorable. Plan for active time, but do not forget the value of down time as well.
Step 5. ENJOY!
You did a great job planning your trip. The most important thing is that you made planning a family affair! Now it is the time to travel and enjoy life with your loved ones and make it an immersive experience.
Sounds like a lot. The planning process can be time consuming, but if done in the order I just presented, it can really be a breath.
If you are not ready to plan your next trip on your own and looking for a professional help, I would be happy to help.
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By Yuliya Kovelman
Personal Travel Planners, www.PersonalTravelPlanners.net