I think it’s safe to say that right now, we could all use something to look forward to, and what’s better than a trip? Although we can’t travel anywhere right now, we’ll be able to leave our homes and visit new places once the COVID-19 pandemic finally ends. In fact, many hotels and travel companies currently offer deals to encourage people to book future vacations now. Here are six tips to consider if you want to book a trip that’s a year (or more) away:
1. Choose your dream vacation.
This probably goes without saying, but the first step for any trip is picking your destination. Depending on where you want to go, you may need to take extra preparatory steps, too. For example, if you want to travel abroad, you’ll need to make sure that you have a valid passport or visa.
You also need to decide what type of trip you want to go on. Are you eager to set sail on a luxurious cruise, or do you prefer to fly to an exotic location? If you like to travel by car, road trips can be packed with fun, too!
2. Use a visual planner.
Using a visual planning system to help you remember important deadlines and schedule excursions or tours is a great tool for remembering vacation logistics. Personally, I need to see information directly in front of me in order to make sense of it. Therefore, when I planned my last trip, I used a whiteboard to make a trip-planning calendar. If you prefer something more technological, you can also make your own planner on Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, or Excel. Include the dates of your trip so that there’s no confusion, and write in your activities for each day to avoid double-booking. Also, you should include notes with key dates and information that you don’t want to forget, like payments and booking times.
3. Consider your budget.
Even though most airfare and hotel prices dropped with the current travel restrictions, you should still make sure that you spend within your means. Many trips require a deposit up front or allow you to book now and pay later, but make sure that you can pay the remaining balance when the time comes. Consider when your payments will be due, save accordingly, and ask if any payment plans are available, too.
4. Read the “fine print” details.
A lot can change in a year, so be sure to read up on your vacation airline and hotel’s cancellation policies before you finalize your booking. Some people opt to purchase trip insurance, but if you consider that option, know what your policy covers and think about whether you really need it. Many plans don’t cover pandemics like the one we’re in now, so you might want to make sure that the world is safer before you book. Plus, some credit card providers automatically supply trip insurance when you use their cards to book your vacation.
5. Decide how hands-on you want to be in trip planning.
Do you want to handle all of the trip planning by yourself, or would you prefer to have someone keep track of the little details for you? If it’s hard for you to balance day-to-day life, you might want to delegate tasks among your travel party or work with a travel-planning specialist. Also, remember that some types of trips have pre-planned vacation packages which will require less effort on your end.
6. Seek advice from the people who know the area best.
If you are vacationing somewhere that’s new to you, talk to a friend who’s been to your destination before or a travel professional who can advise you on hotel deals and local activities that you shouldn’t miss. These “experts” can also give insight on locations or activities to avoid at your destination.
If you don’t have anyone who you can ask for tips, check out what other travellers have to say about your destination on the Internet. Lots of people post travel vlogs on Youtube for you to check out. Also, TripAdvisor has thousands of reviews on specific destinations, tours, and excursions.
Although we’re struggling right now, now is the perfect time to plan a future vacation for when life returns to normal. Although your trip might be a year or more away, making your dream vacation into a reality can help you get through the day in these uncertain times.