There is no denying that going away on holiday is one of the best experiences and something we spend much time getting ready for. They say that half of the fun of going on holidays is planning the holiday and we’d tend to agree. Deciding where to go and what to do is very exciting indeed, but parting with your hard earned money and getting into the nitty gritty of holiday logistics can be stressful. The key? Try and be organised, think ahead, make sure you get everything you need in order so that you can focus on the fun. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few top tips when planning a holiday. We hope these help you in ticking all of the necessary planning boxes, and reducing the amount of stress involved in getting set for your adventure.
You need to give some serious thought to where you want to go and what you want to see, and make sure your destination is a perfect match with your holiday goals. Is it to relax and unwind or do you want to do plenty of sightseeing and visit many a famous landmark? Most importantly, the type of holiday and the destination need to marry up. The first place to go for inspiration is the worldwide web. Or more specifically, a great website to begin with is TripAdvisor where you can get inspired while also hearing firsthand what there is to do and see at the destinations on your short list. Our guests tell us that in planning their trip to Australia, they looked to the opinions and advice of other likeminded travellers on forums such as Tripadvisor and Cruise Critic before they book anything. Picking the right destination means you’re going to get everything you want out of your holiday and reduce the risk of ‘travellers remorse’ – that is wishing you’d picked somewhere else! Think about the sorts of activities you enjoy and what you want to do, and then let your imagination run free – this is the fun part!
There’s a saying, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’, and in the case of organising holidays and arrangements, this can certainly be the case. When you have too many people involved then the chances of an error in booking or misunderstandings are heightened. You may also find that if you deal directly with operators, you can land yourself a better deal. While not always the case, some middle men will take their cut and that will result in a bigger chunk being taken from your wallet. It may also mean that you are not getting the best deal as many businesses offer discounted prices or last minute type deals directly to their customers and don’t necessarily pass this on through their supply chain. Of course booking agents do also have their pros as they can access a wide range of providers and help you find the company that best fits your brief. In some cases they can also run promotional offers providing better deals than you can access yourself. The key to using booking agents is to ask questions and make sure there aren’t any conflicts of interests that may result in a higher price for you.
This is by no means the fun part but it is certainly an essential part of your holiday planning. Having the right insurance will ensure that if something goes wrong – whether it be lost luggage or (touch wood) a medical emergency, then you are covered. In many countries the cost of medical care is exorbitant. One prime example is that my father suffered a seizure when holidaying in Mexico and before even being seen by a medical practitioner in hospital, my mother had to fork out some seriously big bucks (with the hope that it would be reimbursed by the travel insurance company once they returned home). As they continued their travels back to New York City it was determined that a brain tumour was the cause of the seizure and treatment needed to occur immediately in the United States. Needless to say, my mother became very well acquainted with the travel insurance company and my father was soon known as the ‘million dollar man’. His medical expenses were thankfully covered by the insurance provider and without having this insurance it would have been in excess of one million dollars direct from our family’s (small!) pocket. When in your life do you have access to that amount of money?! When looking for insurance it is important to shop around using sites like Compare the Market and find the best policy for your needs. Remember to declare any pre-existing medical conditions and read the fine print.
It’s a wise move to set yourself a spending budget beforehand (just as much fun as organising insurance, I know!) because once you get to destination and enter holiday mode there is every chance that you’ll not want to miss a thing and may be willing to pay whatever it costs to make it happen. We’ve all been there. Setting yourself a realistic budget will actually make sure you get the lasting enjoyment out of the holiday.
One of the most the difficult mistakes to rectify if overlooked relates to passports and visas. It is very important to look into any passport and visa requirements well ahead of time. A good Google search will quickly tell you whether you need a visa to visit your destination and how to go about securing that visa. Also look into the detail as to whether there are any additional passport requirements. Some countries will require a minimum number of blank pages in your passport upon entry. If you are a seasoned traveller and/or passport stamp collector then you may need to organise yourself a new passport well in advance. Not being able to get into your destination is definitely not the greatest start to a holiday!
Packing can be fun, honest it can! I personally find that it helps me to visualise myself on holiday and get me even more excited about it. Especially if I’m leaving a cooler climate and heading to some sun and sand. The key however is to be ruthless, because if you take everything and the kitchen sink you’re probably going to be well over your luggage restrictions, and then you’re going to be spending your hard earned cash in excess luggage charges. Plus there won’t be any room for those souvenirs you say you won’t need or buy but inevitably do! Have a look at our blog that covers top tips for packing a suitcase.
I hope these top tips for planning a holiday will set you up for the holiday of a lifetime. And if you have set your sights on Melbourne as your next destination then get in touch! We’d love to show you around.