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7 Tips to Plan Your Dream Vacation

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7 Tips to Plan Your Dream Vacation

Vacation season is almost upon us, and chances are you’re already looking forward to your family’s trip this year. Even though vacations are supposed to be relaxing, sometimes it’s so difficult to balance scheduling, accommodations, financing and more, that your dream vacation can turn into a real downer.

Don’t let that happen to you! With a little preparation, you can have the perfect vacation you’ve always wanted. Read these 7 tips to get started planning your relaxation destination today!

Tip #1: Location

Okay, the first step is choosing the location of your family vacation. To do this, take the following into consideration:

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  • Budget: How far you can go and how long you can stay all depend on your budget. Long, extravagant trips are great, but it’s better to be financially responsible! More than this, if you’re traveling internationally, research the exchange rates between countries. Smart travelers stretch their dollar by going to international destinations where the exchange rates favor them.
  • Weather: Not all paradise locations have ideal weather all year long. Be sure to check the weather patterns of your chosen destination, making sure there aren’t expected natural disasters like droughts or hurricanes.
  • Language Barriers: Going off the beaten path for an adventurous vacation in an exotic location sounds amazing, but make sure you can communicate with the locals before you go, whether it be in broken phrases you learn yourself (better than nothing) or through a translator (best option).

Tip #2: Occupy the Kids

Everyone adores their children, but they can be a tricky challenge on vacation. Many parents have found themselves babysitting their child’s vacation experience instead of having their own. To avoid this, plan ahead to include plenty of child-friendly activities and especially anything supervised that you may be able to leave them for a few hours.

One of the worst mistakes you can make is showing up to the hotel room without an exciting schedule already planned for the kids, with some alone-time written in for you.

Tip #3: Skip the Season

If you’re anything like us, crowded beaches and streets flooded with tourists are a real turn off on vacation. As hypocritical as it sounds, it’s just easier to enjoy your time without so many other travelers in the way. To avoid tourist traffic and even snag better prices on travel and accommodations, consider traveling in the off-season.

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The off-season is based on the country you’re going to, not your own, though travel prices differ on both sides. Be sure to research why that area is in an off-season, as it can sometimes be an indication of poor weather or some other deterrent.

Tip #4: Pack Smart

The less you bring, the less likely you are to lose something in transit. Plus, nothing is worse than having to lug around huge suitcases and tote bags everywhere they go. Smart packing includes preparing for the local weather at your vacation destination, as well as bringing emergency items like extra cell-phone batteries. Don’t bring anything disposable that you can get where you’re going

Tip #5: Unplug. Seriously.

Vacations are a chance for you to forget everything about daily life, including your responsibilities and current events. Make a strong appeal to yourself and your family to unplug from mobile devices and computers on the trip. Any time you feel the urge to post a picture from the beach or check your email, remember the reason you planned this trip to begin with and put the phone back down.

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Tip #6: Set a Goal

This may seem to cross the line of relaxing vacation with militancy, but hear us out. Setting a goal for your vacation is the perfect way to give you and your family wants as a collective unit, without depending on rigid schedules or tour-by-number experiences. With a goal in mind beforehand, you’ll find yourself more open to spontaneous adventures, and your family working together to achieve a common bond.

A problem families often face, where everyone has their own idea about what the vacation should be, results from not setting goals. You end up going in different directions or some people not being able to enjoy vacation. Discussing everyone’s expectations beforehand will go a long way.

Tip #7: Double-Check Everything!

There’s a lot of paperwork involved with planning a vacation, even if you do it all online. Double-check everything, including:

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  • Passports, licenses and registrations. You want all personal documentation in a safe, dry place that’s not accessible to thieves.
  • Call to check on your reservations before you go, including those to events.
  • Double- and triple-check with those who are taking care of your home or pets while you’re gone. Leave a detailed schedule and list for them to help things run smoothly.

Have an awesome vacation!

Whether your vacation is to the next county over, or all the way across the world, we’re sure you’re going to have a great time. Make sure you’re well prepared now so you can enjoy some real relaxation when you’re finally there!

Featured photo credit: Take Vacations via lifehack.org

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Last Updated on January 13, 2022

10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

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10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

A honeymoon is important.  The wedding is over.  The months, or even years, of stress and planning are finally over.  It’s time for the two of you to relax, settle in, and start enjoying your time together as you embark on your first journey as a family.

To make the most of this time for the least amount of money, it’s important to focus on what you want out of a honeymoon.  This isn’t your typical list of touristy honeymoon locations everyone goes to.  Rather, it’s a list of cheap honeymoon experiences a couple can enjoy together, regardless of where it’s at.

1. Camping

A week long camping trip is a fantastic way to see how you mesh together as a couple.  You’re put in a low impact “survival” situation where it’s just the 2 of you and nature.  You have a chance to see how your new spouse handles themselves when left with the basics of life.  There are amazing national parks all over the United States where you can camp for a week for $20-30, disconnect from technology, and enjoy some of the natural wonders our nation has to offer.

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2. Staycation

You don’t have to go anywhere for a honeymoon.  In fact, the tradition of taking a honeymoon vacation is a relatively new one.  Prior to the 19th century, a honeymoon involved staying home together for a month to get to know each other physically.  Think of how blissful it could be to take a full month off work, disconnect from the outside world, and focus entirely on projects together.  You may not be wowing your friends and family with pictures of some exotic location, but they’ll be envious of your escape from the rat race nonetheless.

3. Island Getaway

People tend to overspend on their honeymoon vacations to Hawaii, Tahiti, etc.  Going to these places doesn’t have to be expensive.  You don’t need to stay in a 5 star resort when you’re on a Best Western budget.  You’re there to be in the atmosphere of the island, not a hotel room. Book a cheap flight and sleep in a hotel alternative, on the beach or in your car.  It’s the view in paradise that really matters.

4. Fancy Resort

Book an expensive resort, spa, or retreat in the city you live in.  While this may seem counterintuitive as a cheap destination, when you consider your savings on airfare and other travel costs, you can afford to be treated like royalty within your own city limits.  If you book a honeymoon package, you’ll end up with a lot of free amenities and extra attention.  There’s no need to fly halfway across the world to live the good life.

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5. Road Trip

The journey is often more fulfilling than the actual destination.  If you fly out to some exotic locale, you’ll be stuck on a plane for 8-30 hours.  Rent a luxury car, pick a handful of places you each have always wanted to visit, and go on an adventure.  You can keep food costs down by packing your own snacks, but it’s always a good idea to sample the local delicacies wherever you go, even if it’s only a few states over.

6. Charter a Boat

If the ocean is your thing, a week-long cruise can cost you $1500-$3000 per person, depending on the destination.  You also have to factor in travel costs to and from the cruise, alcohol, souvenirs, and on-shore excursions.  You’ll also be surrounded by people.  For the same price (and often much cheaper), you can charter your own boat and enjoy the experience in private.

7. Las Vegas/Atlantic City

If gambling is your thing, these are the places to do it.  Which one you choose depends on your preference, budget, and proximity.  The way to make this vacation cheaper is to gamble smart.  Stay away from low odd tables (i.e craps, roulette) and read up on the MIT blackjack strategies to beat the house.  If you do it right, you can win enough for a free trip (and gain a valuable team skill in the process).

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8. Themed Retreats

There are weeklong retreats all over the world where you can fully immerse yourselves as a couple into a hobby you’re both passionate about.  Go on a yoga/meditation retreat, a ranch, a vineyard/farm, a backpacking adventure, treasure hunt, or whatever you’re into.

9. Working Honeymoon

Your honeymoon doesn’t have to be a vacation.  For a truly memorable experience, dedicate a week to a charity or volunteer organization.  You can drive out to a campground to help restore it in the offseason.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to volunteer to help out your local animal shelter, plant trees, help the homeless, etc.  Use the time to do something together as a couple that will fulfill you spiritually while contributing to the community.  Just because you’re on a honeymoon doesn’t mean you can’t be productive.

10. Festivals, Fairs & Special Events

Every city, state, and country has festivals, fairs, and special events.  Find one you’re interested in.  If you time your wedding right, your honeymoon can be a trip to one of these festivals.  Burning Man, SXSW, Bonnaroo, the Renaissance Fair, regional harvest festivals, Mardi Gras, New Years Eve in Times Square, a movie premiere, or whatever you’re into.  If you plan your honeymoon at the right time in the right place, the possibilities are endless.

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Featured photo credit: Josue Michel via unsplash.com

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