I love travelling and that is no lie. But one thing I have learned over time is that one does need to plan an d be prepared for your holiday.There is actually several things one needs to do once you have booked your holiday but this post is all the other things leading up to booking your trip.Planning is very important especially when one is travelling abroad to another country several things need to be put into place to ensure you have an awesome holiday.Check out my list of Holiday Tips to help you plan an awesome holiday.
Things to consider when planning for your next holiday :
- Your budget– Planning financially for your holiday is very important so that you know how to budget yourself leading up to booking your trip and your spending while on the trip.It is useful to read up on Tripadvisor for cost of meals and attractions to give you an idea of how much to budget for. Check out this post on how to help you save for your holiday https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/cut-your-expenses/
- Leave and holiday days you have – You need to know this information to determine how long or short your holiday can be.Some package holiday deals are for a certain number of days and not having enough leave available to you means you might need to look at another destination or another deal to fit in with the days you have available. It is also important to take into consideration travel time to and fro from the destination when counting your days.
- Visa requirements – As a South African passport holder deciding on a holiday destination is also determined by the fact of whether we require a visa or not. More and more South Africans are opting for visa free destinations as it does cut down the cost factors when planning and preparing for your holiday.Applying for a visa is a long and costly process and not always is the visa guaranteed.
- Weather– picking a destination is also based on the type of weather you want to experience when you are there. For most of us South Africans we want to experience a snowy winter season and it is no surprise why the UK and Europe are popular holiday choices for us during the festive season. This will also determine packing for your trip and buying for your trip.
- Passport – it is important to also check that your passport is valid for travelling. This means that your passport has at least six months on it remaining from the time you depart and that it has 2 free pagers for visas and stamps. Applying for a passport needs to be done well in advance as the process is rather tedious and time-consuming, however a new online passport application system is in place in certain cities around South Africa.
- Travel discounts-Airlines also have loyalty programmes for frequent flyers and miles are raked up and converted into discounts and upgrades on flights. Several credit cards and loyalty cards offer discounts on specific flights for example having a Discovery Vitality membership qualifies you for a discount on your flights.
- Off season/ peak season rates– Peak season is during school and summer holidays when flights and holiday packages are much more expensive however during off-peak season bargain holidays can be found as it is the low season for tourists. However in some destinations low season means bad weather and often places are closed so be mindful of those factors when booking.be a lil flexible when booking your flights a day or two earlier and you will be surprised at the prices.
- Immunizations and vaccines required– it is not often requirement for travelling to certain countries but rather a precautionary measure. It is important to make sure you know what is need and to get an immunization passport for record keeping of what you have taken.Some vaccines last for ten years.
- Things to see and do plan a loose itinerary– it is important to have an idea of all the things you want to see and do. This will help in deciding how many days you need to spend at your destination.Do not fill your days up completely with things to do , leave some free time.Travelling can be exhausting so having some free time is a welcome to rest and lounge by the poolside with a cocktail and a book.
- Tripadvisor reviews/BlogReviews– it is important to read up on the places you visiting. the best way is to read up online reviews and blogs.Books on the shelf are often outdated so online is a safer option. One of the hot topics in Tourism is being a responsible tourist and that includes not supporting activities like elephant riding.
- Who you will be travelling with ? Many people enjoy travelling solo while others enjoy the company of joining a group tour or travelling with friends and family. If travelling with older family members and children one needs to consider that the pace of the trip will be much slower and you will need several travel breaks to ensure everyone is comfortable. Travelling with like-minded people is often the best as you have similar tastes and interests and this makes travelling much more easier.
- What type of holiday do you want ? it is important to know what type of holiday you want to experience and this is also determined by your travel companions. Some want a relaxing beach holiday , while others want a touristy holiday and other want a pilgrimage and then you get those who want to only go shopping while some want to go on a “Eat,Pray,Love” holiday.I prefer a holiday with bits of everything as I want to see and do as much as possible.
- All inclusive deal or packages? Having experienced an all inclusive holiday , I know feel that this is how I want to travel forever but in reality these can be pricey and one would need to find a holiday that suits their budget. The reason I like these kinds of holiday is that there is nothing for me to pay at the end of my trip and all I would need to budget for is my shopping and additional tours not included in my inclusive deal. Some packages are full board which means all meals , drinks, flights and transfers all included while with half board only dinner and breakfast , drinks and the rest are included .You will need to find a package to suit you. Several people do like the self catering or AirBnb experience as they can experience their destination like a local with a local.
- Festivals– many travel to experience a specific festival in that part of the world. Each country has their own festivals be it music, cultural or religious to which people from all over the globe to experience these festivities. However advance bookings will have to be done as these times it becomes a peak season and can become a tad bit expensive.
- Access to your money– will you be able to use your debit card ,or do you need a credit card to draw money. It is advisable to take some cash money on you in case there are no ATMS. Several banks now offer Travel Money cards which operate like a credit card but only difference is that the money you spend is your own money and not money you have to pay back with interest . It is also advisable to notify your bank and credit card companies that you will be travelling abroad so that you can access your money.
- Travel insurance– it is important to take travel insurance for those unforeseen accidents. Travel insurance covers flights, luggage lost/damage, hospital and doctors bills.Some medical aid schemes offer an international traveller medical benefit so best contact them and find out if you have cover.
- Luggage requirements– Having strong and reliable luggage for your trip is very important.Investing in durable luggage is an investment for life.Generally hand luggage and a larger suitcase is required.Often I carry a backpack instead of my handbag when travelling.
- Clothing requirements– packing can be a mission so you need to research your destination in terms of weather and if there are any dress codes.
- Safety – One needs to be aware of safety at all times when travelling.Beware of possible threats at destinations and plan accordingly.
- WIFI and communication accessibility – With most of the world having good internet and wifi connection so there is no need for international roaming to be activated on your mobile phone though you can activate SMS notifications for your credit card/debit payments.There are products on the market like Flexiroam.
- Language– It is important to know what language is spoken in your destination as it will make travelling much easier.I always try to learn a few simple words and phrases like in this Arabic Guide.Most places in the world English is spoken
- Natural disasters– weather and natural disasters are important to keep informed of destinations around the world.Keep abreast of the weather sometimes travel plans may need to postponed.
Now that we have done all this planning it is time to pick that destination,book that ticket,pack your bags and fly.
Be Inspired !