With the summer season not too far off, many people are planning their getaways. Make sure this is your best summer yet with these tips on how to plan your dream vacation!

Choosing what (and where) matters

     photo credit: Angela Maere Instagram 

There are certain things that you know you love. Maybe it’s photography, sports, or cooking. Passions and interests vary from person to person and likewise places people are passionate about vary from person to person. When planning where to go, try to focus on where you are during your happiest times in your daily life. Is it when you’re outdoors enjoying a barbecue? Or is it when you’re shopping in a trendy area of town? When you’re in your happy place is there sunshine or snowflakes? Acknowledging these things about yourself can help you decide on the type of place you want to go. If you love fresh air and birds chirping you might not be happy in a bustling city full of honking cars and smog. If you love fine dining and luxurious accommodation you might not fare well in the woods for two weeks. Think about some of the places you enjoy being, or types of things you like doing while you’re at home and utilize those interests to plan your vacation.


Set a budget

Setting a budget is something that, frankly, is the least fun part of planning your vacation. For this reason, many people tend to stray away from setting a precise budget, and then, while on vacation, tend to spend a LOT more than what they’d originally intended!  In order to avoid coming home from your dream vacation to a financial nightmare, set a strict budget beforehand. Instead of stressing yourself out by being overly specific and setting a specific budget for food, entertainment, souvenirs or transportation, have a maximum spending amount and don’t go above it. This is money that can be spent while you’re on vacation but doesn’t have to be spent. Exclude your flight tickets from this budget and make this specifically money put aside for your vacation days. Keep exchange rates in mind as well—remember that $600USD in Thailand will get you a lot farther than $600USD in France. Do your research on local costs and expenses in your destination to help you set your budget. If you know you’re someone who tends to overspend, ask your bank to set up a temporary prepaid checking account. Only make withdrawals and payments from this account while on vacation to make sure you don’t go over your limit. Track your spending (seriously, write down everything you buy or keep notes of your purchases in your phone) to make sure you’re not reaching too far into that account. Of course, a backup credit card is recommended for emergency situations, but no, that necklace at the local market does not count as an emergency.


                      photo credit: Angela Maere 

You can’t do it all

Rome wasn’t built in a day—and you won’t be able to see it all in a day either. When planning your vacation don’t jam your schedule so full that by the time you get home you feel exhausted instead of rejuvenated. Don’t try to experience everything in one trip because you won’t enjoy the experience. Pick your top 3 “must do/see” things and make sure that you plan those things. Make a remaining list of NO MORE than 7 things you’re interested in doing or seeing and do them if your schedule and time permits. Leave space in your schedule so that you can do things you discover once you arrive that interest you. Don’t limit yourself by filling every waking hour. Don’t be harsh with yourself if you don’t get to everything on your remaining list; remember that you are on vacation and you’re there to explore and relax.


Who’s along for the ride

                photo credit: Angela Maere

 If traveling with friends or family make sure they are aware of what your top “must do’s” are and plan accordingly. If you want to do different things once in a while, it’s okay to go your separate ways and choose a place to meet up later. It’s a very good way for you to connect with them as you’ll both have travel stories to share from with each other from the time you spent apart! But make sure you’re on the same page before you leave—about your plans and scheduling style—so that you don’t run into disagreements on the road. Mainly, make sure you are both prepared to keep a positive attitude no matter what comes your way because they’re the ones you’ll be coming home with! Having a positive attitude, no matter what happens, is important and having someone who can pick you up when you’re down and vice versa is highly beneficial! You may run into unexpected situations or struggles during your travels, but you’ll never meet someone who’s never encountered obstacles who has a story worth telling.


Written by “Global Gal” Angela M.