Half of the fun of taking a vacation comes in the planning of it: brainstorming, researching, and looking for great deals on flights and hotels. The anticipation and preparation are almost as much fun as the vacation itself. In fact, the better you plan your vacation, the more carefree your time away from the grind will actually be.
Whether you’re looking for cheap flights in February or any other month of the year, here are a few things to consider as you sit down and begin planning your next getaway.
Do your research
Start by making a list of potential locations for your next journey. Keeping a master list of destinations to use as a reference is always a good idea. You should also brainstorm potential travel dates and compare those possibilities to your destinations to find good fits. For instance, you do not want to have your heart set on a particular destination for laying on the beach only to find out that your travel dates fall during the rainy season.
Start by looking into suggestions from trusted travel bloggers and social media influencers. You can also ask around your social circle for personal recommendations. Getting a date circled on your calendar and requesting the time off far in advance will also make it more likely that the trip happens.
Explore change and cancellation policies
While you are doing the research for your upcoming trip, it is also important that you acquaint yourself with the change and cancellation policies of any plans that you book. Think beyond the standard airline cancellation and rebooking fees. This applies to any ground transportation and lodgings as well.
Understanding these policies will go a long way in ensuring that you are not left with a trip that you cannot use due to unforeseen circumstances. Be sure to read all of the fine print, particularly when booking a deal that seems too good to be true. If there is anything that the pandemic has taught us it’s that you should always take the time to learn about all of the change and cancellation policies before hitting that purchase button.
While proper research and planning will undoubtedly lead to the best results, it is also important to be flexible with your travel dates and plans. This will ensure that you find the best prices. Being flexible means arming yourself with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions quickly. Savvy travelers make sure to preserve their ability to pivot their plans to meet certain parameters. Of course, this also means having your passport up-to-date and watching out for deadlines regarding Real ID in your state, so you’re able to take advantage of any last-minute deals.
You should also leave room for spontaneity when you arrive at your destination. While having a basic framework for your itinerary is always a good idea, you also want to allow for flexibility if plans or desires change on a whim. Plans that are too rigid will take the fun out of any trip.
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Watch for deals
Unless you have an unlimited travel budget — and wouldn’t that be nice? — there’s a good chance that you will need to score some travel deals along the way to make your adventures come to fruition. There are a number of ways that you can keep an eye on potential deals for your planned trips. Signing up for travel newsletters or setting alerts with your favorite travel vendors are just a few ways that you can ensure that you do not miss out on fleeting deals. You should also not hesitate to look into how you can leverage your credit cards to find better deals than you may get on the open market. Warehouse clubs also are often good sources of travel finds.
Do you have any tips about vacation planning that you’d like to share? Tell us about them in the comments below!
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