Do you ever find yourself searching the internet, looking at travel books, walking into travel agents to decide where to go on your next trip away? We ask some helpful questions so you can plan your next travel destination; offer you websites that will help you book your next adventure, and show you elements that could be essential for when you travel. This 4 step pre-vacation guide is beneficial for all types of trips, and we hope it helps eliminate the stress of planning your next holiday away.
- How to decide where you would like to go on vacation.
- Resources that will help make your booking process easier.
- Travel planning elements you should consider once you have chosen your destination.
- The essential checklist of what to do and not forget before leaving.
This pre-vacation guide contains affiliate links
Step 1. Planning Where To Go on Vacation
- Choose what type of experiences you would like to have on your holiday,g. relaxation, adventure, sightseeing, etc.
- What mode of transport would you prefer when travelling. Do you love road trips, would you prefer to fly, have you imagined travelling via train or cruise ship?
- Do you have a budget that you need to follow? Don’t forget your accommodation and mode of transport is going to be the main bulk of your expenses.
- Would you like to go overseas, travel interstate or stay somewhere close to home?
- How many nights would you like to be away?
- Select a list of destinations that meet your criteria. I’d recommend keeping the list to about three as any more can become overwhelming when searching for information. You may find our website Inspire Family Travel helpful to search for destinations via experiences.
- Review the destinations against your budget and ask yourself what this type of holiday would offer to your family? As I mentioned above your accommodation will consume a large amount of your budget along with travelling to the destination. The following websites may assist you with looking at approximate travel expenses to your desired locations.
Accommodation | Booking.com – An easy to use reservation service to find all types of accommodation in Australia and overseas. Booking.com is without booking fees and you are backed up by their promise to price match. Each day, more than 1,550,000 room nights are reserved on this well known platform.
Flight | Skyscanner – A free search engine that scans hundreds of airlines to find and compare flight options for you to secure the best deal. This website has a fabulous function that displays money saving tips of you are flexible with your travel dates. Try it below.
Step 2. Booking the Vacation Elements
Yay!! You have chosen your travel destination. Well done! Now the booking process is in front of you. For some, this can be a daunting activity if you are not aware of how or where to start. The best offers are normally found online, and below I’m sharing some of the most user-friendly and top websites for making bookings.
- Flights | Many travel websites allow you to compare flights from different airline companies and select the best offer available. Skyscanner (above), Expedia, and Webjet are to name a few. You can also book directly through the airline of your choice. Some examples of those that fly within Australia are: Virgin Australia, Qantas Airways, Jetstar, Tiger Air.
- Accommodation | The following are some of the leading websites and Hotel chains to reserve accommodation through. Airbnb, Booking.com, Wotif, Expedia, Mantra group, Accorhotels and Hotels.com
Tip 1. I know I did say the best deals are normally found online. However, don’t be afraid to ring the Hotel/Resort and ask them if they have any additional specials on offer or make requests. It never hurts to ask the question!
Tip 2. When booking your accommodation, think about the bedding configuration. It’s easy to book a one-room apartment or Hotel to save money but will you all be comfortable sharing that accommodation for the duration of your stay?
- Rental cars | Rental cars compare some of the biggest hire company brands, so you find the right car for the best price
Tip. If you are an Auto Club Member (e.g. RACQ, NRMA, RACV and more), Thrifty car rental offers a members discount when hiring cars.
- Travel insurance | It can be a long discussion as to why you need travel insurance but to sum it up it covers you against any unforeseen circumstances that may occur before or during your travels. Many of your banks and private health insurance companies now offer travel insurance. Cover-More is a company we have purchased through in the past as it is one of Australia’s leading travel insurance and medical assistance providers.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: What is Airbnb Accommodation: How to book, tips and review. Includes a 15% off credit for your first stay.
Step 3. Travel Planning
You have now booked the major foundations for your holiday. Brilliant job, the hard part is done! The below are some travel planning elements, tips, and advice that you may need depending on your destination.
- If travelling overseas, check the validity date of your passports. They need to be up to date and valid for at least 6months from departure and valid for the duration of your trip.
- VisaCentral can assist to confirm if you require a visa for any countries you are visiting, and applications can be made Application and processing fees apply.
- Check for accurate up to date details on health requirements. The IATA Travel Centre can assist with this information.
- The Department of Foreign Affairs website will give you the latest and most up to date information if you are travelling to a different country.
- Will you require transfers to the airport or from the airport to your place of accommodation? Con-X-ion specialises in the door to door airport transfers along with other transportation needs of passengers around Australia.
- When using the parking facilities at the airports, always research online as you may be able to pre-purchase a car parking space for a lower price than you would pay when you arrive.
- Are you hiring a car for your holiday? Ensure you have your paperwork convenient for your arrival. The rental car companies are normally located within the airport terminals.
TIP. Many rental companies have the option of hiring a GPS if you are in an unfamiliar place and maps are not your style.
- Will you require a car seat and booster during your travels? You can hire these from the car company though they are not cheap and sometimes not well looked after. Depending on how long you are travelling for it may be worth taking your own.
- Research activities to do while you are away. You may discover discounted tickets by shopping online and booking before you arrive ensures you don’t miss out on something you want to see or do.
- There are many blogs, websites that offer reviews on the best places to eat. I find TripAdvisor to be a valuable resource when it comes to eating out.
Step 4 – Pre-Vacation Checklist: What to Do and not Forget
Some helpful tips and advice to make the lead up to your holiday as stress-free and relaxing as possible. I included the checklist as with all the excitement and day to day life things can be forgotten; I hope this helps you!
Would you like a free printable version of this checklist? First, fill in the form at the bottom of the page to subscribe. You will then receive access to a resource library to download your copy to print off and help with your travel planning. Once you have access to the library, you can visit & download as many times as you like!
Three months before
- Arrange someone to look after your pets. The RSPCA can assist with finding a boarding facility for your loved ones that won’t be joining you on the trip.
- If you are travelling overseas what type of payment system will you be using? Will you be able to use your credit cards, do you need to arrange travel cards, will you require foreign currency, do you need to increase your credit limit on your credit cards? All questions to discuss with your financial
- Are you travelling to a foreign country where you will need travel vaccinations?
- Prepare your children in advance for their trip away. As much as some of us enjoy holidays, for children being away from their familiar environment and routine can cause distress. Prepare them for the new experiences they may undertake, new people they may meet and new adventures they may go on.
One month before
- Leave a copy of your passport, travel documents, itinerary with a family member or close friend at home.
- Check the carry-on and checked baggage allowances for your flight so you can prepare the number of suitcases and items you can take with you.
- Make a list of items not to forget.
- Re-direct or stop the mail, junk mail and newspaper
- Advise the bank, so they know you will be making transactions away from home.
- Schedule any hair and beauty appointments as there is nothing worse than wanting to be ready for your holiday and you are unable to arrange an appointment before leaving.
- Do you need to buy anything new for your trip; travel accessories, luggage?
- Will your phone work if travelling overseas? Discuss global roaming with your telephone provider.
- If travelling to a country with a foreign currency, you may want to know currency rates. XE Currency App is a free, easy tool to use and has live currency rates for every world currency.
One week before
- Clean and wash; coming home to a house that is clean means one less job to do on your return and fewer clothes to be washed.
- Ensure bills are up to date and paid
- Use a list for *pre-packing.
- Check the weather forecast so you can pack for the elements.
- Advise your neighbour that you will be going away and ask them to put the bins out if necessary.
- Make a copy of important documents that you may be carrying in your hand luggage and place in your suitcase.
- Fill your medication prescriptions that you will need to take.
- Ensure you have enough memory on your electronic devices.
- When cooking a meal, cook an extra-large batch, and freeze this to have as the meal when you arrive home. At the time this may not be high on your priority list, but when you arrive home from your holiday, you will be extremely thankful you did this.
- Complete an online grocery shop for your return. Having groceries delivered will save you going out to get them when you arrive home and will be helpful if you have to go back to work straight away.
Day before Vacation
- Check fridge and pantry for any perishable food and give them away or dispose of them.
- Charge all electronic devices you will be taking.
- Check flight details online to see if there has been changes or delays.
- Water the plants and garden.
- Print out your e-ticket and travel itinerary and have all personal identification with you to be produced at check-in.
- Set out everyone’s clothing for the travel day.
Day of Vacation
- Check the flight online again to see if there has been changes or delays
- Empty bins and remove rubbish from the house.
- Unplug appliances in the house as this saves money while you are away.
- Ensure all doors and windows are locked, and curtains or blinds are closed.
- Wash the dishes.
- Re-direct home phone to your mobile for safety.
Tip. If you are using toiletry bag items or electronic devices right up to leaving or need to take something from the fridge, write a note and put it somewhere, you will see. This will remind you not to leave the item/s
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