In our family, we have our travel itinerary planning down to a science. We wanted to share some of these tips with you, too.
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Do Arrive a Day Early for Tours or Cruises
If you are planning a scheduled tour or cruise, arrive to the destination a day early. I have heard so many horror stories over the years of customers missing their cruise, due to a flight delay or cancellation. You spend a lot of money on your vacation. Arrive a day early to give you a little wiggle room, just in case you have any flight or transportation delays.
Don’t Over Plan
When you start planning your itinerary, it is easy to plan every second of every day. When you plan every minute of your vacation; you may miss out on the unexpected activities, restaurants, or experiences. These are some of the experiences that truly make your vacation special.
I see this “don’t” a lot at the theme parks. You will see families at the theme parks with the kids crying and the parents stressed out. At this point, your vacation is not fun. Take a break and head back to your hotel. Let the kids take a nap or relax by the pool. Then head back to the parks in the evening, when everyone is refreshed.
Do Allow for Plenty of Transportation Time
Other destinations may have different transportation times. For example, NYC can take more time driving from one spot to another than walking. Always allow plenty of transportation time to get from one spot to another.
Within the United States, we love using the free app called Waze. You can actually put in the address of where you want to go. Waze will tell you when to leave to make sure you arrive on time. This is a great resource when visiting other destinations within the US.
Don’t Forget to Consider Your Budget
When you start planning your itinerary, don’t forget to consider your budget. Every city around the world has activities that are free or nominal expense. These are usually the more local experiences, too. We always leave open time in our itinerary to explore the destination. We even ask the locals about spots that are more local and less touristy. This is when you find the true gems in a destination and save a little money.
Do Make Key Reservations
Our family does love the unexpected during our travels. However, we do still make key reservations, before we leave for our vacation. One of those key reservations we always pre-book is accommodations.
With travel, you always pay the highest price on accommodations when you walk into a hotel. In the industry, we call that rack rate. Booking your accommodations, before your vacation will ensure you have a place to stay. Plus, you will be able to take advantage of any discounts.
Another key reservation is your transportation. This can be your transfer from the airport or car rental. For car rentals, you will also guarantee your car and take advantage of deals.
If you are taking advantage of an Uber/Lift or taxi, be sure you download the app to your smartphone; before you arrive. This will save you some time and stress, once you arrive to your destination.
Don’t Book Your Connecting Flights Close Together
Most flights will have connecting flights. Be sure you pay close attention to your connecting flight times. This is why a travel professional is important to your vacation planning. We know how to avoid any travel issues during your vacation. For domestic flights, we like 1-2 hours between flights. For international flights, we like three hours between flights.
For domestic flights, 1-2 hours is the perfect amount of time to get between flights in any US terminal. This usually allows you some time for restroom and snack breaks. This also gives you some wiggle room in case your flight is delayed.
For international flights, we like 3 hours between flights. Since you may have to go through customs or a checkpoint on connecting flights, we like the extra time. We know these custom lines can sometimes be up to 2 hours, just waiting in the line.
Do Go With the Flow
Traveling is about experiences and capturing moments with your family. Things will never be perfect on a vacation. If you miss your restaurant reservation or it rains or something unexpected happens; it is okay. Just go with the flow! It is these moments that you will laugh about in 5 years.
We hope these do’s and don’ts help you plan your travel itinerary for your next vacation. If you need help planning your next family vacation, contact me at 804-585-3143 or firstname.lastname@example.org.