When it comes to taking those fabulous days off out of our daily routine and work, the ability to maximize our resources and time becomes one of the main goals to achieve and plan a vacation trip could be the solution for this. And let’s be realistic, nobody wants to feel the time off took was a waste of time or money; on the contrary, you want to experience the best vacation ever, to have amazing pictures and stories to tell to your relatives and friends.

And talking about maximize resources and taking into consideration that today you can do everything from your phone or computer, some tricky questions are popping in everybody’s head.

Is it worth using a travel agent?

The easiest way; is to hire a travel agent or agency and have them take care of everything, but if you think about it, you still need to invest time to either meet up with them. Sooner you will provide all the requirements for your dream vacation and then to check the information received by email to approve the choices they are providing as prospects.

Another important aspect is, you have to pay for their services, which means you should have a budget not only for vacation time but for the travel agency too.

Why use a travel agent instead of booking online?

Is it cheaper to plan a Vacation Trip, and to book it online than through a travel agent?

I must say the answer for this depends on you and how comfortable you feel with things such as:

  • Do you like to work in small or medium-size projects with several small tasks?
  • Navigate through the internet is something you enjoy?
  • Do you have time to invest in researching? 
  • Are you comfortable making purchases online?

If you answered yes to those four questions, then you should save some money and plan your vacation trip without any third party. It will allow you to be involved in the whole process, engage with the place and the activities, and make you appreciate more the time off taken.

What is the best way to plan a vacation trip?

If you divide this into two phases, it will become an easy; and pleasant task. Let’s think about for a second of what are the components for an event like this. It’s all about planning and executing; having said that, let’s do it.

The 1st Step of Plan a Vacation Trip

The investigation and to take decisions part; here is where you consider the weather, your type of places preferences (beach or mountain), then make a list of your likes and dislikes to evaluate potential places to travel.

“Relaxing vacations, a fun getaway, the best nature vacations, or the best adventure trips”; are some of the emotions or expectations you must have cleared before picking up places. After all, memories and; emotions are the best part of those special days out of our houses. 

Once you picked up a couple of places, we suggest having at least three different locations, research what to do, where to eat, tourist attractions, safety, public transportation, people’s reviews, and make a comparison to choose the best place to take your next vacation.

It’s now time to decide who do you going to travel with, or if you are going be on a solo trip, after that, the length, how far in the future it will take place, and the budge. At this point, it should be much easier to calculate expenses based on the previous decisions taken.

How far in advance should you plan a vacation trip?

Having an estimated total spending amount, your current savings amount, and the saving money process according to your budget, helps you to understand the time that will take you to have all the money need to travel.

The question gets cleared once you know the money factor, and it allows you to plan steps to take when it comes to travel:

  1. Who will take care of your pet in case you have one.
  2. Make arrangements at work, request vacation days with previous-time to avoid declined requests.
  3. To know how far in advance; you will book a vacation.
  4. To purchase necessary things, you’ll need to travel.
  5. To learn the basics about the place you will visit.

When’s the best time to book a vacation?

The general rule for this is, the sooner, the better; however, it depends on what you book; and the season. If it’s a high demand attraction/service, or if it’s a particular activity, you always have to check on the cancellation and refund policies to avoid headaches, bad experiences and losing money.

Nowadays, the COVID situation has increased the flexibility of some modifications or cancellation policies for some services such as flights or accommodation; nevertheless, double-check with the service provider regarding the rules and regulations for this case.

The 2nd Step: The do’s as a smart trip planner

Relates to do some preparations and reviews. Let’s assume you are traveling out of the US; you need to find out what would be the best travel insurance. Get copies of your most important travel documents and papers such as passport, car rental contract and insurance, flight tickets, and your id.

Check with the country’s embassy if immunization or previous medical test are required to enter the country and if they have, investigate and get the required vaccines.

Get familiar with the place before getting there.

Are you going to an English speaking place? If not, a savvy movement is to learn the language basics, something like “Como llamo un taxi?“, “Quiero ordenar XXX“; “Cuanto es la cuenta?” are some used phrases that you want to at least recognized.

Another thing you should do is to learn the country’s customs like “Do you have to leave tips, if you have to, how much the percentage is it?”; “Are the people extremely informal, or it’s more a casual place?”; “Are greetings done by shaking hands or physical contact is not something good?”; “Is it rude to leave food on your plate, or that does not matter?”

Are you going to rent a car? If so, check on the country’s government websites for regulations about diver license for tourist, a hack for this is to request this information to the rental car company.

Vacation Safety Tips and Preparations:

  1. Let your closest friends and family know where you are going and; a copy of your itinerary.
  2. When going out of the hotel, do it with your phone with full battery charged and, if possible, take with you a power bank for an extra charge.
  3. Chat with the locals, ask questions about the places you are about to visit; casual conversations are great to have those insights from people who have been there their whole life.
  4. Before going out, save on your phone the hotel phone number, address, and the country’s emergency phone number (this could be different than 911).
  5. When sightseeing, a best practice is to carry on the copies of your important documents and not the originals.
  6. Don’t carry all your vacation money with you; split it and hide some emergency cash among your dirty clothes or shoes, “none will want to check someone else’s dirty clothes or shoes.”

Once you get to know a little bit about the place and its population, your experience it’s more appealing and memorable.

What to pack when traveling internationally?

There are several variants to take into consideration:

  1. Your vacation activities.
  2. Country’s weather and season.
  3. The trip length.
  4. Are you traveling solo, or are you taking a child with you?
  5. Are you planning to use a laundry service while you are there?

The cloth packing could be one of the tricky parts of planning the best getaway of your life. That is why with got for you:

The Top 5 Key-Points You Must Consider When Packing

  1. Travel clothes: are you going to the airport during the day or at night? What are you prefer clothes for traveling, what t-shirt or sweatpants makes you feel comfortable? How many days are you going to be at the airport?
  2. Daily outfits: is it a hot or cold place? If it’s a hot place, how many times will you change daily? If it’s a cold place, how many hotties, jackets, or sweaters you will need? How many days are you staying there?
  3. The activities you are going to do: make a list of them, what kind of clothes you will need; once those activities end, do you need to change your clothes?
  4. Sleeping clothes or pj’s: do you wear the same one several nights without issues, or you need to use a fresh one every night? How many nights are you staying?
  5. Nightout outfits: are you going to go out? Are the places you have in mind informal, casual, or formal? How many times are you planning to do it? Can you wear the same outfit you used the whole day during the night out?

The questionnaire will help you to clear doubts about the clothes packing process for your best vacations. Aside from that, you will need to review the airplane company policies for liquids and lotions to check your care products.

And finally, to the online check-in for your flights to avoid spending too much time making lines at the airport. I am as excited as you for this vacation trip; leave me a comment if you wish to include something I might be missing; let me know how this works out for you, and I hope you have the best time ever in this adventure!

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I am a 41-year-old Costa Rican hardworking and adventurous father, who enjoys hiking, mountain biking, reading, and taking photographs. I consider nature contact and the time you spend in it is one of the best investments you can ever do!. No matter if you are doing something traditional or something more adventurous, all of us should dedicate some time per month to get into the wild. My intention with this blog is to help you to obtain a fabulous experience when traveling in general or visiting Costa Rica.

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