You're looking at your calendar- wondering when the next long holiday is, when you can get a few days off work to relax, head to a long-needed vacation and re-energize. I can't even count the number of times I have found myself in similar situations, calculating and figuring out how many days to go before my next travel begins.
But wait, you've sorted out the dates, fought with your peers at work to take that extra day off before the long weekend - Only to realize you can't figure out where to head to. Do you go to the mountains or the down south around the coastlines? Or are you even thinking of places to visit in India or do you want to have a fancy foreign trip? Oh, it seems really confusing, doesn't it? Well you're not alone, certainly not.
The art of choosing a destination that fits your pocket, time and efforts is no easy feat. It requires extensive research, a lot of time and a few tablespoons of patience (Okay maybe a whole jar, instead!)
Before we dwell further into how to go about mastering this art, it might be of help to you that I cater to this very problem - Destination Planning. Feel free to check out the 'Travel Planner' section and fill up any of the forms so that I can help you with planning your travels with ease. 🙂
Now, here are 7 Pro-tips to stick by when you find yourself in a rut of finding your ideal destination-
1. Start with the basics
How many days do you have? When are you going? Does it include a weekend or not? Start by answering these questions. It might sound easy, but trust me the key lies in figuring out the obvious first.
After having answered questions like these, make a mental map and checkpoint of all the pointers you have taken a note of. It might look like this when you are done with it -
Number of days - 4
Dates of travel - 1st to 4th August (Friday to Monday)
Total people - 4
Transport - Car
Don't worry, this list of basics can be as long as you want. The more the pointers, the better prepared you are!
2. Write it down
Probably the second most cliched point on this list. But the one that we seldom follow. I can't stress it enough - WRITE IT DOWN.
A piece of paper, your office diary, a laptop, a random word document or even random sticky notes. Transfer the whole idea from a mental map to a physical reality. Start by writing down your basics that we just discussed.
How does it help, you might ask. Well, immensely. You see, travel planning is really erratic in nature; especially when you have peers that you are traveling with. In such cases, it just eases out the entire process and helps you figure things out clearly.
3. Break down your budget and follow it!
The most obvious one, isn't it? But hey, how many times have you found yourself dreaming of places that are so out of your budget, that it's just better to dream instead?
Irrespective of what your budget is, you can travel.
I remember I used to travel to Himachal Pradesh and back for a three-day trip on not more than 2-3 grand!
Traveling has become more and more affordable in India in the recent years and there is so much you can see with the 'tiny' budget you think you have.
Break your budget into fragments- Namely accommodation, conveyance and food. Anything over this is just a bonus for you.
4. Research, research and research
This is sort of a continuation to the third tip. After you have fragmented your budget, RESEARCH.
Hostels / hotels / inns for accommodation, how do you travel to and fro (not just to your destination, but for the entirety of your trip), and look for all the places you can eat at.
The best practice is to find the best combinations of these three that just fit your budget perfectly.
*Pro Tip : Always add one more part to your budget - Miscellaneous You wouldn't want to be stuck in an unfortunate situation with no loose cash, right?
5. Don't shy away from help
A big part of figuring out where to go and what to do comes from the experiences of people who have either visited the place, or who are residing in / around the area.
Nobody minds helping you figure out where you should go and what you should do. But you have to make the effort. Infact, you might not even realize but the experiences of these people might give you an insight into the places that you should visit, that are not very famous otherwise.
So what are you waiting for? Pick up that phone of yours and start with it!
6. Plan a complete return journey
More often than not, we often forget to plan a return trip and end up only planning for our exciting vacation just halfway. Remember, it doesn't end at you barely reaching your desired destination. If anything, it just starts from there. So plan well.
Think through about how you are going to travel around the place, and how you plan to come back (in time). The best trip planners never miss this step!
7. And lastly, follow your heart
Ah, well! We are onto the the most cliched point of this piece.
Always dreamt about surfing on the mystical waves of the Bali coastline? Or perhaps making a snow angel on a blanket of 5 feet of snow? Well, it's always a good idea to tick off that 'Places to see' checkbox, don't you think?
With that being said, don't overlook using your mind too! Planning for your dream Goa vacation in scorching summers is not the best idea, as is ideating a Ladakh trip plan in the months of December or January.
Now that you must have successfully aced at becoming a pro vacation planner, mind helping me with my next destination? :P Just kidding! Wishing you a dreamy vacation, hope to find you on my next blog. 🙂