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Ten Tips for Planning Your Vacation
I hope that by sharing my personal experiences, you will avoid learning similar lessons hard way. And it goes to show that those little details in planning of a vacation can make a huge difference in outcome. You can make your next vacation relaxing and enjoyable by following these simple vacation planning tips.
1. Keep your vacation planning information in one place. Create a labeled file folder ("Hawaii Vacation") and use it to keep your airline, hotel, car rental information, as well as maps or AAA guide books, tourist information, contact information for people you know in that city, etc. To read about some programs related to travel that you can download onto a handheld organizer, check out applications mentioned on Handango Website http://www.handango.com.
2. Plan ahead for your wardrobe. Think about all of activities you might do, and imagine what you'd want to wear for each activity. For example, on beach you might want a swimsuit, cover-up, slip-on footwear or water shoes, a sun hat, sunglasses... maybe even a face mask, snorkel, and some flippers. Will kids want shovels and buckets to build a sand castle? Do you need to supply your own beach towel, or will you be staying somewhere that supplies this for you? What about waterproof sunscreen? The more you can visualize yourself on beach, better prepared you will be. One helpful tool I've found for wardrobe planning is a Website that offers historical weather averages for thousands of cities around globe. http://www.worldclimate.com/
3. Use a travel checklist. I've created a Packing List to get you started. Once you've tailored this to your needs, keep it in travel file you've created. This will help you remember to pack both basic necessities, as well as some of more obscure things you might not remember but would want to take with you. http://www.orgcoach.net/packlist.html
4. Let children pack their own travel bags, and make sure their bag is small enough that they can carry it themselves. Help them select things they can do on road or in air: Walkman and cassettes or CDs, books, handheld video games, portable crafts, card games. Talk about seating arrangements ahead of time to avoid conflict among siblings about who will sit where.
5. Pack a carry-on that is small enough to stay with you at all times. Include necessities that you must have, in event that you get separated from your other luggage for a day. If you need to take medication on a regular basis, be sure this is with you, and not in your checked luggage. If you are combining a business and vacation trip and need something for a presentation next day, take it in your carry-on rather than checking it.
6. Plan early to get best selection and to get early booking discounts. If you're really adventuresome and are not particular about where you want to go, you can also book reservations last-minute. There is some risk involved in doing this, but you can also get some great deals this way. CheapTickets ( http://www.cheaptickets.com/ ) sells surplus seats, a.k.a. "distressed inventory," at some great bargains. If you have any concerns about your safety while traveling to a particular destination, you might check out a Website that offers a report on global hot spots to avoid: http://www.airsecurity.com/hotspots/HotSpots.asp
I've recently found a wonderful Website called SideStep http://www.sidestep.com, which does a search of more than 70 travel-related Websites and finds best AVAILABLE flights, hotels, and rental cars on a given date. Many Websites will find "best deals" but when you go to site you discover that they are sold out for dates you want. This site does not waste your time if a flight is sold out. For more links to some helpful travel-related sites, visit travel section of my Links to Great Sites page.
For who insist on combining business and pleasure during your travels, I offer 10 Tips to Tame Paper Tiger When You Travel. http://www.orgcoach.net raveltips.html
7. If you're driving, you may wish to map out your trip ahead of time and make hotel reservations along way if you are traveling during peak vacation time. Mapquest http://www.mapquest.com offers a helpful Website for mapping out your route and estimating travel time under normal driving conditions.
8. If you're traveling to another country, check out Currency Converter for International Exchange Rates. http://www.x-rates.com/calculator.html
If you'd like to master a few useful phrases in a foreign language, visit Foreign Language Assistance Website. It even contains some sound clips so you can pronounce words properly. http://www.travlang.com/languages/
9. If your vacation plans include staying home rather than traveling, plan how you will spend your vacation to rejuvenate yourself. Perhaps there are some local attractions that you've been wanting to experience but have not had time to experience. Are there people you want to connect with? Get clear about what you want to do and who you want to do it with, and then plan to make it happen. If your vacation includes having a friend or relative flying in to visit you, you can check status of a flight to see if they will arrive on time. You can even get a real-time map of plane and its progress, based on radar data. http://www.flightview.com/
Visit Earthcam http://www.earthcam.com to view hundreds of images from all over world without leaving your chair. The digital images are updated regularly, and some are live.
10. This is most important tip of all: pack right attitude. Let go of "what if" and enjoy moment. Remind yourself what matters most, and focus on that. If this is a vacation to get away and relax, then focus on activities and thoughts that will be relaxing. If your goal is to reconnect with family and build memories together, that can be done regardless of circumstances (missing a flight, not getting tickets to an event you wanted to attend, etc.). If your goal is to sight-see and take in some special attractions or shows, then plan ahead and make reservations necessary to ensure that you can do what you want to do when you get there.
Kathy Paauw, President of Paauwerfully Organized, specializes in helping busy executives, professionals, and entrepreneurs declutter their schedules, spaces and minds. She is a certified business/personal coach and professional organizer. Contact her at mailto:email@example.com or visit her Website at http://www.orgcoach.net and learn how you can Find ANYTHING in 5 Seconds - Guaranteed!