Want to plan a holiday but don’t know where to start? Read on..

I wouldn’t call myself a seasoned traveller, but I do try and go on one international and one local holiday every year.
I save for holidays and they are the only thing that get me through work. I’m all for saving for houses, cars and investments and all the other wise uses of money, but I think that travelling opens your eyes to the world, and while you’ll have the rest of your life to invest your cash, you can only travel recklessly while you are unobligated (by this I mean no kids and not too many financial obligations).

Lots of people want to travel but don’t know where to start. I hope to break it down in easy steps in this article 🙂

1) Decide when you want to travel in ADVANCE

  • If you are planning to travel over December/ Easter, remember that airlines and hotels hike up their prices over this time. Calculate the value of the leave days you won’t have to take, and see if that makes up for the premium you’ll have to pay for travelling over peak periods. Most popular holiday destinations are also crazy busy over these times and you’ll likely spend a long time queueing to see tourist attractions.
  • If you’re travelling overseas, check out http://www.weather.com/ and make sure you know what you’re in for in terms of weather. You don’t want to be freezing or boiling hot when on holiday.
  • Try to book your holiday at least 2 months in advance. Flights are expensive if you book last minute. It’s also a mission to organise visa’s in a rush

2) Decide how much you want to spend

  • Get to a figure of what you can afford in total- flights and accommodation. Add in an allowance per day for food, and also add in some spending money. When on holiday you’ll want to shop and it sucks to have to deprive yourself ‘cos you’ve exhausted your budget on your hotel.

Once you’ve determined the above 2 issues, you can start the fun part!

3) Mail all the local travel agents (Flight Centre, Harvey World, Pentravel) and ask them for a quote

Once they send the quote, go to the airline’s website that they use and check how much the flight would cost if you booked it yourself. Do the same with the hotels they recommend.
I seldom book through travel agents because I think that I can almost always book the holiday cheaper myself.
You also can choose when you want to fly and don’t have to wake up at ridiculous times to get to the airport. I like asking them anyway so I can get a good idea. Sometimes they ARE cheaper, and in this case I use them.

4) Book your hotel

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ is an excellent website to find a hotel. It has a massive collection of traveller reviews for hotels all over the world. I usually start by searching for a city, then looking at the top 10 hotels in that city. Look at things like location of the hotel, and make sure you look at traveller photo’s ‘cos pics on the hotel’s website can be deceiving.
Go to the individual hotels’ websites. Most hotels have an online booking tool, so you can see how much your stay will cost straight away.

5) Find out about Visa/ Vaccination requirements

There are lots of agencies that will organise your visa for you and charge you double the price. The process is really easy to do yourself and most countries have a website that guides you through what you need to do. You may need to take a few hours off to go to the embassy but they’re usually quite efficient.
Your GP should be able to tell you where you can get your vaccinations done. Some countries require a yellow fever injection. It’s important that you carry this around with you when you travel.

6) Organize your forex

I always like to travel with some USD, in case I struggle to find an ATM where I am. You can change USD into local currency in most countries. To avoid admin costs, try to use your credit card as much as possible. You can draw cash from the ATMs when you get to your destination.

7) Be cautious

Just ‘cos you’re in another country, it doesn’t mean that you should be careless with your belongings. Tourists stick out like a sore thumb and are perfect pickpocketing targets. Keep all your belongings close to you and don’t travel with too many valuables.

8) Buy a travel book

I love buying travel books for the places I go to ‘cos it gives you an idea of the must do’s in that specific place. Tours can be easily organised once you arrive and taxi’s are plentiful at the airport so don’t worry about doing too much of that stuff in advance.

And have fun!! Travelling is something very few of us are lucky enough to experience, so if you do get the opportunity to visit another country, embrace it and take in as much as you can!

Always happy to answer any questions 🙂