Planning a vacation may seem like a lot of work--and you're right. Knowing exactly what to do and when and where (and all those other "w" words) may seem like a big undertaking. Over spring break, my friends and I planned our first trip to New York. Let me tell you, there was a lot I had to learn about planning a trip. The way to effectively and thoughtfully plan a vacation is by breaking the whole thing up into different categories and tackling one at a time. Here are seven categories that I break a trip up into.
1. Decide who's going with you
This may seem like a no-brainer, or at least something that's not too difficult to figure out. But picking out people to go on vacation with you is important. Make sure you pick people you are compatible with and know that you will have a good time with. If you don't enjoy the same things, then it's probably not meant to be.
2. Decide where to go
Again, another easy one. But this one takes a little more thought regarding money and the overall goal of the trip. What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to relax for a bit? Then the beach is right for you. Are you trying to explore and experience more culture? Then New York may be your scene.
3.When will be the best time?
If you have a set amount of time, whether it be spring break or your only week off in the summer, then this decision is already made. But even then, the timing is so dependent on many other factors. Narrow this down to the best week (or two) and make the decision based on everything else (transportation, accommodations, etc.)
4. How to get there
Flying, driving, or even a train? There are so many options. You have to decide what your priority is. Are you on a stricter budget or a stricter time table? Also, be sure to check local deals and whatever you do, book early for lower rates.
5. Living accommodations
This category has become more complicated in recent years with the larger number of options available. Not only are hotels an option for short term stays, but with airbnb, you can now rent out entire apartments very inexpensively.
6. Entertainment packages
Now that you know the "where" and the "how," now you have to figure out the "what." What are you going to do when you get there? How are you going to make the most of the trip? If you plan on getting a lot of different things squeezed into your trip, then there may be an entertainment package that can get you a good deal on many different venues. Otherwise, make a tentative schedule and see what kind of deals you can find ahead of time.
Last, but not least, is transportation once you're at your destination. If you drive there, then you already have a car and are set to go. However, if you choose another method of travel transportation, then your only options are to rent a vehicle, rely on public transportation, or use taxi services and Uber.
Planning a vacation is not an exact science, nor will it always work out 100%. But using these tips and being aware of what suits your needs the best will make the planning a whole lot easier.