With more people getting vaccinated and fewer restrictions, you might be thinking it’s time to start traveling again. That’s great! But planning a trip isn’t something that happens overnight.
Even if you know where you want to go, you still need to figure out the details. For example, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to get there, where you’re going to stay, and what you’re going to do. Thankfully, this article can help. From packing like a pro to managing your money, here are a few tips you should know:
1. Plan Early
The last thing you want is to go into debt because of this vacation. To keep that from happening, create a budget for your trip ahead of time. Make sure you know the max amount you can spend on flights, hotels, activities, etc. Then, start pricing everything out.
You may have to allocate more money to a flight, and therefore, might need to lower your activity budget. Or you could find you can’t afford to travel to a certain area, such as a beachside hotspot. That’s OK. There are so many places worth seeing that are cheaper.
Pick a new destination, or push your vacation back to a time when it’s less expensive to travel. For instance, instead of traveling to New York in the summer, wait until the winter when flight prices drop. The earlier you start planning your trip, the more time you have to make any necessary changes.
2. Be Careful With Your Money
Regardless of where you’re traveling, it’s a good idea to let your bank know. Some institutions will freeze your debit card if they see activity in another state or country. The same is true with credit cards, so make sure you reach out to your bank beforehand.
You never know what could happen when traveling and it’s better to be prepared. So instead of relying on one form of payment, bring a few different ones with you. For example, your wallet might contain a debit card, a couple of credit cards, and cash.
If you have a rewards travel credit card, make sure to bring that so you can benefit from perks. Cash is also a good idea, but you’ll want to stick to small bills. This will help you avoid walking around with a large sum of money in your wallet.
3. Double-Check Bank Fees
The last thing you want while traveling is to spend more money during your trip than necessary. Unfortunately, that could happen if you don’t double-check your bank agreements.
You may not know it, but some credit and debit cards charge a foreign transaction fee. This fee typically ranges from 1% to 3% and is added to your account every time you make a purchase internationally. And while 3% might not sound like a big deal, it adds up quickly. Some banks also charge ATM fees, forcing you to pay money to take cash out.
If your debit or credit cards have these hidden fees, consider making a change. Using a card that charges no foreign transaction fees can save international travelers about 7%. The good news is, several options won’t charge you money to travel internationally or use an ATM.
4. Consider All Your Lodging and Destination Options
In the last few years, we’ve seen a shift in where people are choosing to stay while traveling. With so many possibilities for lodging, don’t limit yourself by being too picky. This is not to suggest you throw your non-negotiables out the window. But it’s important to remember that you have options.
For example, instead of a hotel, you could stay at an Airbnb or find a place on VRBO. If you prefer hotels, don’t just check the website for availability. Take a look at trustworthy third-party sites like Priceline, hotels.com, and expedia.com before booking your stay.
You also want to consider location when searching for the right place. This is especially true if you’re not familiar with the area. It’s important to do your research before booking to ensure you are staying somewhere safe. And don’t forget to read the reviews.
5. Pack With a Plan
How many times have you overpacked for a trip? Or under-packed? It happens because most of us aren’t exactly the savviest of packers. It’s time to change that.
When packing for your upcoming trip, consider looking at your clothes as outfits. Instead of throwing in a few shirts, pants, etc., try your clothes on ahead of time. This will help you figure out which outfits you want to wear during your trip.
For instance, maybe you have a particular blouse that pairs well with a nice skirt and tennis shoes. Once you’re confident in the outfit, roll the pieces together to form a bundle and put it in your suitcase. When you’re on vacation, all you’ll have to do is take the bundle out and put it on.
Don’t forget, you can wear your outfits more than once. By keeping that in mind, you’ll avoid over-packing.
You deserve an amazing vacation, especially with everything that’s been going on in the world. But the truth is, the only way you can really enjoy a trip is by being prepared. Whether that’s having a detailed itinerary created or your clothes laid out, you want things to run smoothly. The tips above will ensure you have a safe and relaxing trip.