Planning A Vacation
It's hard to believe this year is moving so quickly and Spring Break is in a few short weeks! BJ and I love to travel. We often joke that we are working just so we can afford to go on our next vacation. For the last 3 years, we have gone on some sort of tropical vacation but, this year we are planning to explore "across the pond". We have been planning out the details of our european vacation for almost 6 months! Whether your next trip is in the distant future or you're planning something last minute, here are some tips to help you get you started.
1. Research, Research, Research
Do your research! Spend the time necessary to plan a fun and frugal trip. You want to have choices. I recommend coming up with a few options of hotels, flights, activities, and even destinations. You can then weigh the pros and cons of each and figure out where you want to spend your money. For example, Bj, my husband, claims he did upwards of 10 hours of research when planning our honeymoon, finding us the best fit for our budget and travel desires.
2. Take the road less traveled.
I love all the basic touristy attractions as much as the next gal, but when planning your next trip, I urge you to venture off the beaten path. There's nothing quite like discovering something different from the attractions and sights you see in textbooks and travel-guides. BJ and I plan to stop in Margate, England during our vacation this summer. It's a small town by the coast. I would say it's hardly a "tourist" attraction, but we are thrilled to explore local shops and restaurants.
3. Leave Time to Explore
I am a total plan-a-holic. When I was growing up, my mom used to create a notebook for each family vacation. It was full of brochures, maps, and even the menus for the restaurants she planned on visiting. I am much the same, but the wonderful thing about BJ is he always leaves time in our vacation for no plans. There's always a day, or block of time that we spend time exploring and see where the wind takes us. It's always so much fun and is guaranteed to leave you with a special memory.
4. Use Third Party Sights for Reviews and Pics
Hotel and resort websites are going to display the absolute best reviews and pictures. Third party sights, like Trip Advisor, travel blogs, and forums, will often paint a more accurate picture of hotels, resorts, and other travel destinations. Know what your getting into before you book anything.
5. Start Saving Early
Vacation doesn't have to be a financial burden. With a teacher and a pastor's salary, we have to save to go on vacation. My advice is to start saving early, putting a little back every chance you get. I decided to cancel Christmas this year...well not really, but BJ and I did agree to just get each other stocking stuffers to save money. We also sat down months ago and figured out where we could cut down in spending. As a result, our flights and hotels are already paid for.
I can't wait to hear about your next vacation! What's your favorite place to travel?
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