Don’t let planning a trip become a headache. Your next getaway should be a welcome retreat from the stresses of everyday life. It should be a time to kick back and relax. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. Research by IBM found that 20% of Americans found planning a trip time consuming and stressful.
That stress can often carry over into the trip itself, turning what should be a vacation into a nightmare. Many people stress about what is going on back at home, as well as the details of the trip itself.
Here are some tips for making planning a trip a breeze so you can leave the stress behind and get to the relaxing!
Schedule Before You Go
One of the most stressful things about planning a trip can be feeling like you forgot something back home. That doesn’t just mean a phone charger or flip flops. It also includes things like appointments and bills.
If you know when you want to take your trip, plan well in advance for any appointments or other necessities. Some crucial things to plan before you go: a trip to the dentist or doctor, a talk with your financial advisor, any routine repair work or maintenance your house may need. If any of these appointments are looming, don’t leave them to the last minute. Planning a trip is stressful enough on its own. You don’t want to also be crunching to fit in routine appointments at the same time.
It isn’t just appointments you may need to schedule out before you go. Depending on when your trash gets picked up, you may need to alter your routine to accommodate your trip. Make sure you don’t miss that last trash pickup right before you leave, otherwise you could return to a smelly mess.
You can also change your thermometer settings before you skip town. If you have your house’s heat and cooling set on a schedule, you may want to adjust it ahead of your trip. There’s no need to pay to heat your house while no one is there to enjoy it.
Other Pre-trip Preparations
Schedules aren’t the only thing you need to consider while planning a trip. While your home is vacant, many of its systems will continue running. This includes things like the water heater, thermometer, and fire alarm system.
When it comes to the water heater, you don’t need to stress as long as you know it’s in good repair. If you aren’t sure, it may be worth checking before you leave. Coming back to a flooded home could quickly spoil your whole trip.
The fire alarm system and thermometer are largely self-sustaining. As mentioned above, however, it’s worth it to check your thermometer’s schedule so you’re not wasting money on heating and cooling an empty home. For fire alarms, simply check that they are still functioning normally. A quick test of fire alarms to ensure that the batteries aren’t depleted can afford you a ton of peace of mind during your vacation.
Finally, while planning a trip also plan a quick walkthrough of your home. This may reveal areas where you need to do a repair or check-up before leaving. Or it could just help you feel more at ease once you leave. This does not need to be an extensive or in-depth process. Just a simple inspection of your home to ensure everything looks good can be more than enough.
Don’t forget the garage during this walkthrough. It can be easy to overlook a garage since it is a semi-outdoor space. However, leaks or water damage in a garage can easily build up over time. Checking your garage can complete your walkthrough and ensure you have inspected your home fully before leaving for your vacation.
Planning the Actual Trip
Finally, it’s time to do the fun part: Planning a trip. While many people find this part stressful, it should be fun. You can let your imagination run wild during the planning stage and list out your dream destinations. Even if some of them are not feasible now, planning a trip is an ongoing process. You may get to some of those long-shot vacation spots later on.
Trip aggregator websites can help you find lodging, transpiration, airfare, and entertainment for your trip. One of the biggest benefits of these kinds of sites is that you can see all of the costs of your vacation while planning a trip. You don’t need to get numbers from a million different websites and try to compare things that way. All the data you need is laid out before you in one spot.
Here are some additional tips to help planning a trip become a breeze:
- Pick a time: Knowing when you want to travel can have a huge impact on where you go, what you do and how much everything costs. It is crucial to have a time in mind as soon as possible.
- Pick a place: Next, you must know where you intend to go. This could be a dream location or you could be a more practical planner. As mentioned above, however, when you go will have a big impact on where you go. Florida in August might be too hot for some. On the flip side, Iceland in February could be too blustery for true relaxation.
- Find good deals: If you are planning a trip far enough in advance, you should have time to shop around for deals on hotels, airfare, and entertainment. Waiting until the last minute may mean you have to take what you can get. That can get pricey, especially if you need to fly to your destination. So plan early and keep an eye out for deals!
- Contact your credit card company: There’s nothing worse than getting to your destination and finding your credit card doesn’t work. Call your credit card company well ahead of time to tell them where you’re going and when. This will keep them from placing a freeze on your account due to strange purchases.
- Budget, budget, budget: Budgeting is a crucial step in planning a trip. If you are planning far enough out, you can spend weeks or even months budgeting. Then, when you reach your vacation destination, you can buy trinkets, meals, and gifts without fretting.
- Arrange your time off: As soon as you can give your employer the dates for your vacation, do so! You don’t want to end up fighting with co-workers overtime off or having to move around your vacation dates because you didn’t ask in time.
Planning to Keep Your Belongings Safe During Your Trip
If you have fine jewelry or other valuables at home, you’ll want to ensure they’re safe while you’re gone. If you don’t already have a security system set up, you may want to consider one while planning a trip that will take you away from your home for an extended period of time.
A security camera system can help deter would-be thieves before they ever enter your home. Even just the presence of a security camera system can convince thieves your home isn’t worth the trouble. If your home is unfortunately broken into, a camera system can help you recover your valuables.
But a security camera system isn’t only for when you’re planning a trip and want to protect your home. They can also help you monitor your children, bring general peace of mind to homeowners and reduce your homeowner’s insurance costs. If you inform your insurance company of your camera system, they may slash your rate. Even if they don’t, however, the peace of mind a security camera system can bring is invaluable, especially if you are away on a vacation.
Best Destinations for a Trip
It’s time to skip town! Thinking about where you want to go can be one of the most exciting parts of planning a trip.
There are several factors to consider when deciding on your destination. Here are some tips for picking your perfect spot:
- Points: Take a look at your airline and travel points and see where they can take you. This can help guide your decision and save you money.
- Phone a friend: It never hurts to ask friends where they’ve gone on vacation. They may have helpful tips and tricks for planning a trip, too! Plus, they could know the best hidden gems that are off the beaten tourist paths.
- Think about entertainment: If you have a specific interest such as music festivals, cuisine or sports, that can help you plan your vacation. If you find an event you’re particularly interested in, you can build a vacation around that. Check out a new destination while going to your favorite type of event.
- Timing is key: Think about the time of year. Will it be too hot in some places? Too cold in others? Too crowded? Timing can make or break your trip depending on the location.
- Follow your gut: Why not try going somewhere where the food is top notch? Even if food is only a small part of your plans, it can help make your decision for you. Go somewhere where the local cuisine is exciting, new and interesting.
- Take a chance: If all else fails, take a chance! It’s a big, wide world out there. Try somewhere new, somewhere unexpected or somewhere out of left field.
Working During a Trip
It’s an unfortunate reality that many of us still have to work, even while we’re on vacation. While planning a trip, take into account this possibility. If you do need to work during your vacation, you can at least make it as painless as possible. Ensure you will have access to wifi and a comfortable place to work. This might be your hotel room, but it could also be a local cafe.
It’s not all bad news if you need to work during your trip. Working remotely in a new place can be part of the experience. Take the opportunity to check out new places. Find out what the local flavor is and mix up your morning routine. It isn’t ideal, but if you’re working remotely during your trip, you can at least use it as an opportunity to try the best local coffee or tea.
Relaxing During a Trip
Enough about work. It’s time to play! Whether or not you’re working remotely during your trip, you’ll definitely want to relax as well. Consider things like entertainment, hotel amenities, food, and events while planning a trip.
One often overlooked amenity is the hotel pool. A lot of us take for granted that a hotel will have a pool, but that isn’t a given. It’s worth it to take a closer look at the hotel’s website before booking to ensure you have a pool, if that is an amenity you are interested in.
It’s not just about the pool though. If you are headed somewhere cold, a sauna or hot spring may be more your speed. You can also look into massages, beaches and hotel gyms. While planning a trip, figure out what your relaxation priorities are and plan around them. If you are a gym rat, having access to a gym will be critical. If you look forward to a relaxing massage, check if you need to book it ahead of time so you don’t miss out. And if you are a worrier, you may want to plan to have everything booked and planned ahead of time so when you get to your destination you have nothing to worry about.
The Bottom Line
Wherever and whenever you go, your vacation should be a time when you get to truly kick back and relax. Take the stress out by planning a trip well in advance. Think about your home and its security so you don’t need to worry. And make sure your destination will have everything you need and want to let go of your day-to-day concerns while you’re out of town.
If you need tips, remember that friends and family can be valuable resources for planning a trip. If all else fails, there’s always the internet. Try a few search terms, take a chance, and see where your inquiries take you. You may be surprised by where you ultimately end up landing!