• S. Parris

How I Plan My Vacations

If you've been reading my blog since 2019, you know that is the year I took my first abroad trip EVER. I went to Paris, France for my (20-something) birthday and I planned the trip without the help of travel advisors or agents. Since then I've developed an appreciation for travel and try to plan out destinations I'd like to go to in advance for financial purposes (I'm all about living within my means). I figured I'd share my process as it's been working well for me. Since France, I've traveled to 4 additional countries and planned each trip using pretty much the same methods.

Choosing Dates
Picking when to go on a trip (whether in your home country or abroad) requires research! Cannot stress this enough. I've heard horror stories from friends & even have my own to share, about arriving at your dream destination only to be met with consistent rain and grey skies. Research the best time of year to go to that destination, the average weather for that month, etc. Of course your dates have to make sense to you and your reason for traveling also. For example, I have a November birthday and like to travel abroad for my birthday. However, certain places I want to go (like Europe) are super chilly in November and may prevent me from having the type of experience I'm looking for.

Flights

Once I land on a destination & dates I always start looking for flights as soon as possible because of how often they fluctuate. I personally use the Hopper app, and it hasn't failed me yet. I put in my dates and the app lets me know if the prices are good (which means buy now) or if they're likely to decrease (wait to buy). I get notifications when a flight goes down which gets me a better price. When traveling long distance I usually try to find a nonstop or 1 stop option, but to each is own. Keep in mind though, that certain airlines like JetBlue are not featured on the Hopper app and it may be worth tracking separately on the airline(s) of your choice.

Hotels

If you're someone who likes to stay in Air BnB's on vacation, I don't have much information to offer you as I always go the hotel route. There's something about 24hr front desks & cleaning services that just prevent me from booking anything otherwise. When choosing hotels I always first consider the distance from the airport, accessibility to main attractions, newness, reviews etc. I personally love newer hotels because I hate staying anywhere that just reminds me that hundreds of people have slept in that room before me; so lately I've been frequenting newer hotels. Service is always a top priority to me when I'm spending my hard-earned coins; a no-brainer!

Activities

This really depends on your personality, but I'm not much of an excursion girl. Normally if I'm taking a vacation it's because I want to slow down and relax. This means good food, a nice view, and poolside vibes. My idea of an excursion is taking a cab into the local town and getting authentic food from wherever I am (LOL). I love researching beaches, restaurants and possible shopping areas in the destination I'm going to. 1. For Instagram purposes (I love a good photo op) & 2. So I'm not scrambling for ideas upon arrival.

COVID-19 Restrictions

Traveling abroad requires being vigilant about the covid restrictions of that location. In the 3 places I've been to this year, each location had different requirements before we could arrive. Things to keep in mind are:
Do they require vaccination proof?
Is PCR or antigen testing required? (If so, how many days in advance)
Does your hotel provide testing & if so, how much?

Planning trips can be somewhat overwhelming, but if done right it can be very easy and even fun to do. I'm definitely not the travel guru, but as I start to travel more these were just some things I noticed I've adopted along the way that make bookings a breeze. I'm hoping this helps you too in some way or another! <3

Let me know what your next destination is in the comments