Now that we are firmly in the new year, it is time to plan that next big holiday, and this is often more than just looking online and finding the best deals – if you plan well in advance, you can make sure you have the trip of a lifetime without too much hassle; just follow these simple steps.
When can you take the time off?
Before you choose where to go, you will want to see when you can take time off work, as this will to a certain extent also determine your final destination. This could be whether you have certain projects on at work and therefore have to tailor your trips around them or you might be restricted to national holidays. Is it even possible to add on a working holiday day onto a weekend and go away for an extended break? A handy tip is that it’s cheaper to fly Saturday morning and come back on Tuesday night, rather than Thursday morning to Sunday night.
Once you have chosen when you are going away, this should make it clearer where to go, in terms of whether it is monsoon season anywhere, if any festivals will be on, if it’s peak tourist seasons when prices are up etc.
Have you got your alerts on?
After picking your dates, you can sign up for fare alerts on a specific period of time. Great websites include FareCompare, Yapta, Kayak, TripAdvisor Flights and Airfarewatchdog; all of which will notify you if any good deals come along. This means you don’t waste your time checking every day if that flight price has gone down or up, and all the comparisons will already be done for you.
Are you going to travel or go on holiday?
Ask yourself this as they are two very different things. A holiday will be a relaxing break away ensuring you come back rejuvenated, while travelling entails jumping from city to city, ticking off a list of sites – you may come back needing a proper holiday to recover. Each of these approaches has various benefits, but whichever you pick, this again will decide where you want to travel to. For example, while you can see ruins in Tenerife and lie on white-sand beaches in India, you would have a particular ‘type’ of holiday in each of these places.
We recommend that if you have the time and your budget stretches, try and have one of each type of holiday every year – you will be richly rewarded without feeling you have exerted yourself.
Have you got a direct debit sorted?
A great way to save money for you next big trip is to set up a Direct Debit with your bank. By transferring a certain amount e.g. £20 every week into a separate account, you won’t even notice the money leaving, but after 20 weeks you will find that you have got together a nice £400.
Are your travelling at peak periods?
If you were planning to go away during the summer, at new years or at Christmas, everyone else will be too, so make sure that whatever you are planning that you do it early. This is especially the case for accommodation and the last thing you want to do is book a flight and realise you have no room at your destination.
Some destinations may be able to offer fewer crowds and lower prices during shoulder seasons – the weather will still be warm, the attractions will be open, but your trip may end up being less stressful and expensive!
Where is your currency strongest?
While we may all be slowly heading out of the recession, we’re all still clutching at our purse strings, so you will want to see how far your money will go in certain destinations. You will have an equally rewarding experience if you choose to go to Sri Lanka or China, so the next thing to ask is, which place will end up being cheaper for you? Take advantage of good exchange rates and you’ll be the one laughing at the end.
Is there a goal you want to achieve?
If you are going away just once this year, make sure it’s to somewhere you’ve never been before – well, that’s what 60 per cent of travellers would like to do, according to a recent survey by Tripadvisor. Iy may also be in line with a New Year’s resolution you have. Do you want to learn to scuba dive? Do you want to improve your golfing abilities? If so, pick somewhere that will cater well to this.
Have you asked around?
The final consideration to make early is what the opinions are of those you are planning to go away with. If you are on your own, you won’t have this problem, but if you have to pander to the needs of friends, family members or loved ones, then what they think of it all is probably the most important aspect. Have these conversations early on so that the planning can begin, or you may find yourself in the height of summer still arguing between Benidorm or Magaluf.
Regardless of what you choose to do in 2015, make sure that this is a year to remember. You don’t even need to fly across the world to feel like you have been to somewhere new and exciting. London is right on your doorstep and it boasts a wealth of attractions, bars and restaurants – there is a reason why it is still one of the most popular cities in the world for travellers. But as all the tips above suggest, plan well in advance and book into one of the many london boutique hotels as soon as possible to avoid any disappointment.