7 Steps to Planning the Perfect Vacation

The beginning of the year can be a great time to plan for an upcoming vacation, especially if you are starting a year out. The more lead time you have, the lower the prices will be to book your travel, place of stay, and any activities you may like to do while traveling. It’s also a great way to set a plan to save up the money to afford the trip. Follow these tips to start planning your vacation now!

Choose Your Destination

Before you can begin planning or budgeting, you need to figure out what your dream destination is. Whether you want to start with your budget and go from there or look at destinations first is up to you. Start thinking about what you want to experience, and how far you want to travel. Are you going to stay in the U.S. or travel outside of the country? Determining where you travel for vacation will impact your budgeting and international travel will require additional considerations.

Figure Out Who Is Going

Before you put together your budget, it’s worth figuring out who will be going on the trip with you. If you are traveling with others, you may have the opportunity to split the cost which will open up more travel opportunities. More people may also mean you can consider a larger hotel room to split, or a larger Airbnb/VRBO.

While traveling with others has the added benefit of splitting the bill, it’s also important to consider the budget range of your fellow travelers. Make sure you a mindful of the spending limits for everyone in your party if planning a group trip.

Determine A Date

Now that you know where you are traveling and who is going, it’s time to figure out when you would like to go. If traveling with others, your first move should be to establish availability and find a date that works for everyone. Keep in mind that traveling during the off-season may save you some money depending on where you are going. Once you have your destination and date set, you can start putting together a budget.

Set Your Budget

Since you have the main components of your vacation chosen, it’s time to set your budget. Knowing where you are headed will allow you to start researching how much travel will cost. If you are going far, travel costs should be considered first, as they typically are the biggest expense. You should also investigate accommodations, which are usually more flexible than travel costs. Additional costs such as food, gas, tolls, activities, etc. are worth considering in your budget planning too.  If you are planning on any excursions, these should also be added into your budget when planning.

Search For Deals

Once you have your destination and budget all figured out, you can start to look for deals. It’s always better to establish your budget first, so you won’t be tempted to chase a deal that is out of your cost range. There are several travel sites that have deals available that are worth searching, just make sure you fully understand the terms before booking your travel or accommodations through a third-party.

If you’re a Signature or Premier account holder, you should also check the Pioneer Perks app, which has a specific travel section for deals. Just open the app, and then select Deals > Travel. Next you can enter your destination and dates, and then Pioneer Perks will populate with deals.

Research The Area & Plan

Now that you have an overall plan for your vacation, it’s time to figure out the finer details. If you are staying in the United States, you won’t have as much to consider, but there are still important decisions to make and things to consider.

  • Transportation: Even if you’ve already booked your flight, there is still the matter of transportation once you arrive. You may be content to rideshare, but it’s entirely possible that it won’t be available at your destination. Look into public transportation options, or if you can rent a car to get around. Unless you are staying in one place the entire trip, you will want to have a mode of transport planned ahead of time.
  • Off-Season Travel: If you have decided to travel during the off-season to save money, there are certain things you should consider. Since it is the off-season, you will see fewer crowds, but it is also likely that some attractions, shops, and restaurants may be closed. Additionally, if your destination may be often affected by weather, you should consider purchasing travel insurance, and realize your plans may need to be flexible.
  • Currency Conversion: If you are traveling internationally, you should have a plan in place before you leave for currency conversion, if necessary. Figure out the conversion rate and what your best option is for accessing foreign currency. Whether it’s using a credit card, withdrawing from an ATM, or through your bank, have a plan in place.
  • Foreign Language: If you are visiting a country with a language barrier, you should at least pack a dictionary or language guide in your travel bag. If you plan on learning some of the language, make sure you build out time ahead of your trip to start whether, it’s through a learning service or self-taught.

Have Your Documents in Order

Now that everything else is planned out, the last thing you should have in order is your travel documentation. This is something that can be figured out closer to your travel date but shouldn’t be left to the last minute. For traveling internationally, research what your destination requires for entrance into their country. Many destinations require registration online to make the process more convenient.

Planning a vacation is a lot of fun to do, and it also gives you something to look forward to for the rest of the year. Happy planning and enjoy your trip!

The material provided on this website is intended for informational purposes only. Links to other web sites are provided for reference and do not constitute a referral or endorsement by Pioneer or its affiliates. Please note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not be current. It is recommended that you consult with a financial professional for assistance regarding the information contained herein.