You’re planning a “once in a lifetime vacation” because you want to celebrate a major life event, and you envision a vacation as a way to savor your breakthrough and to lock in the memory of your accomplishment.
There are many possible big life events worthy of celebration:
Perhaps, you’ve graduated from college or just got your master’s or doctorate degree. After years of diligent study, you finally achieved your big goal.
Perhaps, you’ve found the love of your life and want to experience the perfect honeymoon.
Perhaps, you’ve been married for decades and would like to celebrate a milestone anniversary in some exotic locale.
Perhaps, you’ve earned your place in the business world, made significant contributions to society, and now would like to mark the beginning of your retirement with a wonderful vacation.
Where to Go
You literally have a world of options available.
You could go to an all-inclusive resort San Diego spa resort.
You could go on a luxury cruise to the Bahamas or set sail in your own craft to the Aegean Sea.
You could do a major whirlwind tour of the major European cities: Visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France; viewing The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, in the heart of the city of Rome, Italy; and stopping over at The Tower of London, the historic castle in central London on the north bank of the River Thames.
Make a Plan
While it’s always delightful to imagine where you could go and what you would do, it’s only too easy to be lost in a delicious daydream and never get around to taking the necessary action to make it happen.
Here are Four Steps to Make a Plan:
1. Make a decision.
The first thing to do is to decide what you want to do. Do you want a relaxing vacation, where you don’t do much but just unwind in a beautiful setting, or do you want an adventure, exploring a new culture? Do you want to travel far and wide, or would you rather find a place that is closer and more comfortable? Your choices depend on your interests and temperament.
2. Gather more information.
Now that you’re clear on why you want to go and where you want to go, you need to figure out the practical details.
Before you rush to book a flight or book a hotel, pause to do some research. Maybe your image of the place you want to go does not match up with the reality of what it’s actually like. The country you’re planning to visit, for instance, may be experiencing political and economic turbulence that hasn’t been covered in the mainstream media.
Do some Google searches, get some travel brochures and visit the local library to gather more information.
3. Decide on your travel companions.
If you’re single, you may decide to go alone, or you might have a family member or friends who would love to join you. If you have a family, you may want to travel with another family. If you do decide to add some travel companions, think carefully about how well you will be able to get along. The right people can make everything much more fun, and, conversely, the wrong people could ruin even the best planned vacation.
4. Plan your budget and arrange your trip and stay.
Review your finances and research the costs of flights and hotel accommodations. You might be able to save money by not traveling during peak tourism seasons. When you’ve got everything sorted out, it’s time to book your flights and choose the best hotel.
Although you’ve taken all the right steps, you can still optimize your experience with the following 2 tips:
1. Make it as stress-free as possible.
There are many ways to get stressed about your trip. By planning ahead and finishing things early, you can avoid many unnecessary stressors.
Take the following steps to avoid rushing and getting overwhelmed by unexpected setbacks:
- · Get all your travel paperwork, from passports to visas to currency conversion, done early.
- · Pack well ahead of time, so that you remember to take everything you need.
- · Work with a budget rather than going into debt to pay for your vacation.
- · Confirm all your bookings before you leave.
- · Be sure to take all necessary contact information.
- · Find out how to get smartphone reception in the place you’re visiting.
- · Arrive at the airport early.
2. Find out about local customs and practices.
There may be some culture shock when you travel overseas. Some basic cultural research will make it easier to deal with strange customs and unexpected things. Be an educated visitor to a new country rather than a clueless one.
Do a Google search or talk to people who have been to your travel destination to find out basic things like:
- What local places to visit?
- What medications to take?
- How much should you tip?
- What places, foods, etc., you should avoid?
- What type of clothing you should wear?
- What type of weather to expect?
Cherish the Moment
Although this might be your “once in a lifetime vacation,” set realistic expectations. Don’t let quirky human behavior or unexpected events upset you. Also, balance your methodical planning with opportunities to be spontaneous.