Planning your next vacation.

Is  DIY vacation planning for you?

For me, planning a vacation is almost as much fun as the actual travelling part. Perhaps even more enjoyable. It’s the time when I can have my fantasy vacation. Where money and time are limitless. When I can use the “Beam me up Scotty” machine to get instantly and effortlessly from one place to another. Where there is an easy route anywhere and no barriers or problems. Then, (noise or a vinyl record being scratched to a halt) I need to think about what is really possible.

When I am working on my “next big adventure” I pile all the ideas in and work through the scenarios of where to go and what I can afford to do both in terms of time and money.  My goal is to distill it down to the actual itinerary and a detailed plan. (as an Excel document of course! See my post New York: Here I come!)

Screenshot 2018-03-10 16.44.44
An except from one of my planning spreadsheets. I have attached a template

Just on the quiet, I have heard,  there are some folk that don’t actually like this planning stage! That’s hard for me to comprehend 🙂 This post is for those of you who like DIY travel.

If the idea is too daunting for you, use a travel agent or book through a small tour group operator.

Work out the why before you decide on the where.

In my mind, the first thing you need to work out is not WHERE you want to go but rather WHY. Once you have the why, the where seems to fit more easily into place.

If you just want to sit around and relax and unwind, you could do that almost anywhere.  You could even stay in your own town and be next to a pool, ordering a cocktail within a few hours! Thus saving money and greenhouse gases. If, on the other hand,  your goal is to learn about a new culture, or set a physical challenge to climb every peak over 5000 metres, then you will need to put in a bit more work.

A blue swimming pool on a cruise ship
Go cruising if you want an “all-inclusive-do-nothing-sort” of holiday

There are a lot of decisions to make. I have attached a document that gives you some ideas of the type of travel that might suit you (Page 3)  and the questions (page 2) you should ask before you start planning in earnest. See here:  Planning your trip. I have also included a “thinking points” checklist you might like to work through. (Page 4)

I have spoken about my travel values in a previous post.  My type of holiday is:

  1. Active
  2. Immersive
  3. Deep rather than broad
  4. Offers plenty of opportunity for photography.

I use these values as a starting point for all my plans. For instance, my next big adventure is to Scotland in July 2019. I have already booked a walking tour and will build the rest of the trip around that. Incidentally, giving me a few goals to tick on my 60 for 60 plan.

I have attached an example of my itinerary/planning document which you can use as a template.  I print this out and keep it in my Dropbox as well as in Tripit, so I have all my details in an easily accessible format both  on-line and off-line.

Example planning document

I DO NOT have any affiliate links with the companies listed. There are plenty of other places you could look for information as well. You can even do some fun quizzes to work out your travel style.

Always keep in mind, your vacation should fill some sort of positive purpose. It doesn’t have to be “fun” but it does need to be fulfilling on some level, even if it’s just winding down.

Australian Translation: In Australia, we generally call vacations, holidays. It is not limited to those official gazetted days like Christmas/ Easter etc.  For instance, you might say: “Where are you going these holidays” and  “I am going to Bali for my holiday”

PS Don’t forget to check out my shop!