It's that time of year again! Time to plan my next vacation! This is my favourite time of year and generally the choice of destination is not too difficult as my heart drives me towards the place that I most long to see.
However I am also a hugely practical person and as much as I wish the desire of my heart was enough for me to base the decision on, it sadly isn’t. There are a few other considerations that I am obligated to think about if I want to ensure that my vacation will live up to my expectations.
1. Admin requirements
I personally don’t have an issue with admin but my husband doesn't always feel the same way. Our first port of call is to decide if we want an admin heavy or admin light trip.
Sometimes organising a trip is a fantastic distraction from life’s little irks. At these times the thought of finding and booking all the accommodation, researching the area to ensure that I don’t miss sites that I will later regret missing and trying to find out all the best restaurants (that aren’t tourist traps) is all that I want to spend my time on. Yes, that is a long sentence and as hard as it is to read, it can be just as hard to do all that admin.
Then there are other times in life when I know I need a holiday very badly and just want to escape city life as soon and easily as possible. At these times it can be hard enough to decide what make for supper never mind plan a trip. Being able to go to someone that knows the area well and that I can trust as a ‘vacation designer’ takes the administration load off my back. The freedom associated with just being able to jump on a plane and know all the bookings are handled can be liberating.
Know yourself and your life. When time is precious, ask for help planning your vacation rather than not going at all. You will be glad you did.
The world is a volatile place and often flare ups of unrest or even weather conditions are unpredictable. Where ever possible I choose my travel times and destinations with this in mind. This is especially important for me as I enjoy travelling with my family and would hate to expose them to unnecessary risk.
Watch the news and keep an eye on developments. If a threat looms rather reschedule your travel than put yourself at risk.
People choose to travel to different locations for many different reasons. If you are a back packer then currency considerations become less important as accommodation is relatively inexpensive. However when travelling to a third world country the accommodation is not always up to the standard that many first world backpackers are used to. The economy can also impact on other aspects of your travel. I have heard some horror stories from various countries where basic groceries are not readily available in the shops and people have to queue on certain days for certain items. If this kind of experience is what you are looking for though then tolerating a level of discomfort might be appropriate.
If you want to travel more comfortably, the economy (or value of your currency at your vacation destination) becomes more important. Travelling doesn’t have to be expensive but for some of us our local currency isn’t strong and careful planning of our vacation to meet our needs is important.
Match what you want from your vacation to the destination. If you want a luxury holiday then going to a country where your local currency will be stronger makes a lot of sense.
This may sound strange as we all know that vacations are things that cost a lot of money and generally have to be saved for. One of my essential “Rules of Thumb” is that I want to go somewhere where I can enjoy myself – go to a show, eat at nice restaurants even buy some gifts to take home without breaking the bank. I have been on holidays where the price of things have taken me by surprise and I have broken my budget. There is nothing worse than coming home from a holiday with great memories but being so strapped for cash that those memories soon fade in the stress of trying to make your payment commitments.
Research your destination to ensure that even if you go over budget you won't have to go into credit back home. Knowing the cost of living is a good start and social media makes it very easy to find things like this out. Downloading local restaurant menus also gives a great idea of what the cost of living in a country will be like.
So now that I have considered all the options I know where my heart (and my practical side) is taking me next…Mozambique! Where are you going?