Sooo sorry I have been MIA for awhile. I was on vacation, which I will be posting about soon. Just know it was somewhere warm, and I spent the majority of my time on a beach with a pina colada or stuffing my face at one of the many resort restaurants (more details to come).
I love travel but I got to thinking, booking a vacation, which is something I do often, is not always the easiest thing to do, especially if you’re not someone who travels often. Because I enjoy traveling so much and I even enjoy the research that goes into it, I figured I would share with you my tips on booking a vacation. For me, it happens to be part of the fun and I’ve taken some pretty amazing vacations in my 25 years of life. So, here’s what I do – my so called “tips” for booking a fabulous vacation:
1. Decide what type of vacation you want. Do you like to sight see and visit museums? Are you a beach person? Are you someone who likes to explore or someone who would rather just hang out at a resort and relax? Is food important to you? You need to figure out what type of vacation you are looking for before you can move forward. There is something out there for everyone.
2. Research, research, research. The internet makes this so easy. Don’t settle on the first place you find! Make sure you check out multiple websites. Don’t just pick a place because it looks pretty on the hotel’s website. I’ve made that mistake before…the reality never matches up to the pictures.
3. Tripadvisor is your best friend. Read about what other people have to stay. Stick to the recent/current ones, but make sure you read both negative and positive reviews. That makes it a lot easier to weigh your options. Also, check out the number of reviews as well. There is nothing wrong with going somewhere remote, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. You can usually tell how remote a place is by looking at the number of reviews. AND look at traveler pictures and not just the professional ones. As, I’m sure you know, photoshop can work wonders.
4. Book through a reputable site. I generally use sites like Expedia. They are pretty user-friendly and you can get discounts when you book travel packages (like your flight and hotel together). Look around at a couple different sites and see what the best way is. Sometimes it makes more sense to book directly through the hotel. This is why research is so important.
5. Always call the hotel before you book. How they handle your call, how informative they are and how friendly they are can foretell a great deal about how spending a week at their facility will actually be.
6. Flights. As far as flights go, check out the prices departing from all airports in your area before you decide to book a flight. I’ve found that booking a flight out of an airport an hour away can actually wind up saving me hundreds of dollars. There have been countless times I’ve flown out of New York or Philly even though I live in New Jersey. It’s worth the drive, if it’s going to save me a bundle on the flight.
7. Sign up for Groupon Getaways. I recently booked a trip to the Cayman Islands through a groupon that was sent to me via email. Sites like Jetsetter.com are also helpful. Even if you don’t wind up booking through them, or purchasing a groupon, it can still give you ideas as far as places to go.
8. Once you’ve decided on a destination, before you book, check out things to do and restaurants in the area. You can use tripadvisor for this as well. Unless you are booking an all inclusive, it’s wise to know how much the average restaurant costs, if there is shopping or other activities to do, if it’s easy to get into the town, etc.
So, there you have it. Seems pretty basic, but it works for me. It’s worth it to put the time in and do your research before you book a vacation. It ensures that you’ll get the most out of your money, and it’s always good to be prepared and know what you’re getting yourself into. After all, it’s your money and your vacation time.
I’m curious, what tips do you have for booking the ultimate vacation?