Ready to start planning your next dream holiday but don’t know where to start? From travel insurance to flight prices to car hire, the endless choice and FOMO can wreak havoc when trying to sort out your next adventure. Thankfully, we’ve rounded up the top seven things to consider when planning a trip. Even better? Our friendly Travel Consultants can help with where to travel next and more…
What time of year do you want to go?
Each destination has an ideal time to visit so this is something really important to consider when planning for a holiday. If your heart is set on a particular destination and you’re flexible as to when you can travel, we can advise you on the best time of year to visit. If you’re set on travelling at certain time of year – e.g. the school holidays – we can advise on multiple destinations and where is best to travel to. If you don’t mind extreme heat, humidity or rainy weather, this can mean you avoid the crowds, so this is also worth bearing in mind.
How much time do you have?
Determining how long you’d like to escape everyday life for is a key part of the planning process, and can filter out certain destinations depending on the distance. If you have two+ weeks, the world really is your oyster, but if you’re planning to be away for just 4-5 nights, you need to consider destinations that are between 1-7 hours flying time at the most.
What are you looking to experience?
What's your holiday type; what do you enjoy most about travelling? Is it the mouth-watering local cuisine or historic landmarks that float your boat? Or perhaps it’s sipping on a cocktail gazing out to the crystal-clear sea? Determining this will help you pick somewhere that aligns with what you want to see and do. If history and rich culture is your bag then somewhere like Dubai might not suit your taste, whereas group tours may be just the ticket. If sun, sand, and sea is your ideal holiday then Miami is much more likely to be your vibe than New York or Boston.
How do you want to get around?
This is immensely important. Roadtripping your thing? Then hiring a rental car for a self-drive trip around the USA could be the perfect holiday. Or perhaps you prefer to get around by foot? European city breaks are ideal. Want to see a lot but don’t want the stress of driving? Then cross-country rail is a great way to travel. Short on time? Domestic flights between destinations could be the answer.
What style of accommodation do you like?
Villas, apartments, sprawling hotels, boutique hotels, eco lodges… the list goes on and the choice is endless which can make trip planning quite stressful. If you prefer quirky details and more of an intimate vibe then we would recommend boutique-style properties when you book accommodation. If you want the ease of everything on your doorstep then a large, all-inclusive style property would be ideal. Different properties cater to different tastes and budget levels, so it’s important you determine what your priorities are, for example: is it saving money or splashing out? In any case, it's key to compare hotel prices when you plan a holiday.
What are the entry requirements?
A lot of popular destinations now require some form of visa to be arranged pre-departure, ranging from filling out a simple online form, to complex processes with the embassy; be sure to always double check the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office. It’s also important to consider if there are any jabs or vaccinations you need as many have to be done eight weeks prior to travel. We always recommend that you book early to cover this, but, if you’re going on a last-minute trip, always check this first.
How much are you planning to spend?
The cost of living can vary massively from country to country, with some places being extremely good value for money and others being eye-wateringly expensive - so how much you’re looking to spend can determine where you go. It’s important to have a degree of flexibility when holiday planning and to be realistic with what you can afford. If you’re set on travelling to somewhere like the Maldives, hoping to stay in an overwater villa, as a rough idea you may be looking at around £4,000 per person. So, if your budget is more like £2,000 per person, you may need to aim for a lower room category, travel to somewhere similar that meets your budget, or look at deals with saving money in mind.
Other great tips include changing your board basis to get better value for money, i.e. from half board to all inclusive, considering alternative travel dates (such as in the shoulder seasons), looking for promo codes where you can, and booking ahead – as far as a year in advance – for the best deals. We want your hard-earned money to get you the very trip possible, so always speak to a Flight Centre Travel Expert for help and advice.