The days are getting hotter & longer, and PTO requests have been submitted. That means summer vacation time has officially started! Before you pull out your old suitcase and bathing suits, read our list of tips and tricks to prepare for the perfect vacation!
- Always plan an itinerary, even if you don’t stick to it. An itinerary doesn’t have to be strict or followed to the letter, it just needs to be a list of things you want to do in order of what works best for your schedule! Pick and choose all your ‘must do’ items and scrap the rest. Planning an itinerary ahead of time gives you a clearer idea of what you can fit in and afford and it forces you to do research and learn about the place you’re visiting, and helps you prevent disappointments. For example, finding out that the aquarium you want to visit only takes reservations online will save you the disappointment of showing up to find out they’re sold out for the day.
- Overestimate your budget – an absolute nightmare would be running out of money halfway through your vacation. A simple way to help with this is to round every estimate up to the highest amount. This will leave you with extra money after every budgeted piece of your vacation, which can even add up to a few more amenities. Don’t forget to factor in sales tax, occupancy tax, gratuities, parking fees, ATM fees and convenience fees.
- Don’t overpack clothing – it’s so easy to pack more underwear than you need due to the anxiety of “what if something goes wrong and I’m stranded there for an extra two days?” However, how many times do you return from vacation with so many unworn pieces of clothing that have to be washed anyway because it was mixed in with dirty clothing? Anticipate what you’ll need by checking the weather and dress code ahead of time. Here’s an old tip from Uncle Ralph. Fill your suitcase with old underwear and socks that you’ve been meaning to get rid of. Purchase new underwear and socks and leave them at home. Throw away your undergarments as you use them on vacation. You’ll now have more room for souvenirs in your suitcase.
- Quality is the key to overnight stays – it may be alluring to pay $50 a night rather than $150, but there’s a reason some places are so cheap. If you’re staying at a hotel, motel, or Airbnb, make sure to read reviews and look at pictures/info ahead of time. The cost of a good night’s sleep is priceless. Filter your search by selecting “4 stars and above,” then book something in your budget.
- Schedule a few days off when you get back – it’s hard to go from having non-stop fun and relaxation right back into work; in fact, the vacation blues are very real and can cause mental distress for those who have trouble transitioning back into everyday life. Make sure when you return, you cherish the memories. If you work or go to school only on weekdays, plan to come home on a Saturday so you can spend Sunday getting readjusted for your real life.