Travel - Planning Where and When To Go

12:43 PM AirplaneFoodCritic 0 Comments




Planning a trip is a hobby of mine. If done correctly, it can be a prequel to the trip....a mini trip in itself. Looking up the location, reading the menus of the local restaurants, looking at the attractions, choosing which things you would like to do in that area. It is a great way to spend your lunch hours or evenings at home. It is sort of like daydreaming. This blog is about the most important steps of planning but not really the most fun part...but still sorta fun because you are thinking about your vacation at least.

The first step is to decide where you are going. In my recent case, Maui. I chose Maui because we love Hawaii and knew we wanted to go there this Spring as we always do. My bf and I have been to Kauai multiple times already and I thought it would be nice to show him a new island. I, personally, have been to Maui more times than I can count but I keep going back because it is my favorite of the four Hawaiian islands I have visited.

Once the destination is chosen you need to choose dates. Usually the general timing is already decided and often has a factor on your destination. My job is such that I only get time off in the Spring and Winter and I already have plans this Winter. Often your job will dictate when you can go and how long you can go for. I chose a time to go when there is also a paid holiday. This is a fantastic way to extend your trip without burning vacation hours. The downside to that idea is that you will not be the only person who had the bright idea so your destination may be more crowded at that time. If you can, be flexible with the dates you can go. I will explain why below.
Once you have your destination and time frame you need to find the best deal. I have about four places I look to find a good deal to Hawaii. I search each one at least twice a day. This particular trip I found a super fantastic deal but it took me a lot of time, searching, checking, changing the dates and worrying. In the end it was all worth it because it is the best deal I have ever seen for this type of trip. You have to know what things you are steadfast about and what things you are willing to compromise. In my case, I was flexible with the date I left and came back and, to a lesser degree, with the flight times. If you are flexible with your departure day you usually can save money. A flight that leaves on a Thursday or Wednesday is much cheaper than a flight that leaves Saturday or Friday. The same for returning. The most expensive return flights are on the weekends. As far as the time of the flight goes, it is cheaper to take a "red-eye" flight but it is so exhausting that you need another day to recover just from the traveling. If you choose to save money by using an overnight flight, do it when you are coming home. You and those you are traveling with will be much easier to get along with if you arrive to your destination rested. I was lucky to get a direct flight at very decent times. You have to think about the times as well. If you take an afternoon flight from the West Coast to Hawaii you are going to land in the late evening. This is a day you took off work and are paying for a hotel room but are not going to be spending any time at the actual destination. I think of it as cutting the arms off of your trip. Taking an overnight flight on the way home can give you a longer last day of your trip so it does have some upside.
Check your favorite travel websites and airlines for different schedules. Play around with the dates and times you leave and come back until you find something that works for you. You need to check often too. An airline may offer a certain price for a certain seat on a certain flight one morning and change that price for the exact seat later that very day. When you see a travel plan you like...BOOK IT.
This is the little door opening to the REAL fun of travel planning. Now you know your destination and the dates you will be there so you can start looking up what is going on there at that time.

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