Planning a vacation can get stressful. Between finding cheap flights and triple-checking your luggage to make sure you’ve got everything, it can get difficult — especially if you already hate planning with a passion.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to prevent this. Below are a few essential hacks that will make planning your holiday a breeze, even if planning really isn’t your thing. Read on to learn more.
Rank your desired attractions in order of preference
For many travelers, creating a list of places to visit before you head to a destination is standard practice, even if you hate traveling. It saves time trawling through leaflets when you’re there, plus it gives you time to pre-book tickets for museums and tours in advance (which are often cheaper).
But that list can be taken even further too. Assign a value to each place from 1-10, numbering them according to how essential they are to your vacation. For instance, let’s say you’re visiting New York: If you particularly want to check out Times Square, it’s a one; If you can take or leave Governor’s Island, it’s a ten.
If you find yourself strapped for time and you’re struggling to decide which venue or attraction to visit, go for your highest ranked ones first. You can chop and change according to your routine, confident in the knowledge that you’re doing what you want to do.
Dedicate an hour of your journey to research
Don’t feel like you have to plan your entire holiday from start to finish before you leave. Depending on the type of holiday you’re planning, you might find yourself with a great deal of spare time in-between activities or places.
Take advantage of those night buses in Cambodia or long-haul flights around the US to do a little ideation for your next destination or activity. Sure, you could spend the time reading or catching some shut-eye. But trying to do either of those things in a bumpy mountain road in Laos is all but impossible, so why not be productive?
This is especially useful for spontaneous trips with last-minute deals. If you’ve suddenly decided a mini-break in Paris is for you, don’t waste time planning it at home — take advantage of the flight over and plan your trip then.
Learn the benefits of traveling here
Lean on tech and tools to plan your vacation for you
In this day and age, there’s an app or piece of tech for virtually everything. And the travel industry is no stranger to this. There are countless companies that
If you’re hopeless at planning, why not let technology do the hard work for you?
Take a trip to Costa Rica, for instance. This diverse country has a great deal to offer travelers: adventure, nature, luxury, all-inclusive, eco-friendly experiences… The list is endless. Choosing what kind of vacation can be a challenge.
So why not let someone else do the hard work for you? There are lots of companies available that are dedicated solely to planning your trip for you. As well as travel agencies (which, despite the rise of the internet, are still around), there are lots of online
And even if you decide to plan your vacation yourself, it’s worth looking for apps to help streamline your process too. Hostelworld is a strong choice, giving you access to millions of hostel reviews to help you find the right one for you.
And Skyscanner is another useful app. It lets you compare flight prices, find deals on hotels, and even hire a car, all in one place. Downloading a few apps before you go will save you time, money, and stress, and all you need is a smartphone and an internet connection — something well worth doing.
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Set a goal for your vacation
At first glance, the idea of setting a goal for your trip sounds dull, stifling, and even downright draconian. But deciding on a specific purpose for your trip can actually reduce stress by cutting down on decision fatigue.
For example, do you want your holiday to be about rest and relaxation? Or an adventure full of new experiences? Whatever goal you decide, this will help inform your planning decisions made later on. Use your goal as a benchmark to measure every decision you have to make about your vacation.
For instance, your goal is to soak up some culture and learn more about the country you’re visiting. When you arrive, if you have the choice of visiting a museum or heading to a local beach, you’ll choose the first option — simple.
Learn more about setting goals.
Don’t pack for your vacation — pack for traveling
And while this certainly works for them, it’s not essential. If you hate planning then you can just do this one thing: pack for your journey, not for your vacation.
You know already that customs control wants to see your liquids, electronics, and other restricted items. Sifting through your suitcase at customs is stressful enough, so make life easier for yourself and keep them all at the top of your bag.
And this goes beyond customs too. Keep your book, headphones, travel pillow, and everything else you’ll need during your flight at the top of your suitcase, ready to hand.
See my summer packing list not to forget anything!
Set flight alerts to get the best prices possible
Arguably one of the most stressful parts of planning a vacation is booking the flight. Spending hours trawling the web for the best deal (even with the aid of price comparison sites) only for it to disappear within minutes is a Sisyphean task.
Thankfully, many travel websites offer a free price-tracking service to keep you up to date with the latest price deals. Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Momondo offer this service, and it’s easy to set up too.
Hate planning? That’s okay. You can still enjoy traveling without the hassle of organizing your trip. The travel hacks listed above will help alleviate the stress of planning so you can focus on the important things. Got a travel hack of your own? Share it in the comments below!
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Author: Hollie Jones is an expert lifestyle blogger who lives for writing. Hollie’s drive, passion, and background come from the arts and media sectors. You can read her latest blog posts on Hollie and the Ivy, where she shares tips and advice about her passions while having a lot of fun along the way.