By: Susan Sherren- for Couture Trips Published: December 6, 2022 7:21 CST
Budget Consider your budget before making any travel arrangements. Nothing stinks like coming home to debt from a vacation that broke the bank. Be realistic with your expectations and consult your travel mate(s) before heading down the road to booking. You can still have a fantastic experience without a 5-star hotel or Michelin-star restaurant. Passport Make sure you have a valid passport and one that doesn't expire within six months after your vacation return date. Check out your passport expiration date and plan on renewing one year, yes, one year before the expiration date. Put that date in your digital calendar, so it doesn't escape you. You will have plenty of time to renew without a crisis ensuing.
Photo: courtesy: Jon Tyson, Unsplash
Off the Beaten Path Yes, Paris is excellent, but so are other destinations. Don't let Instagram lure you into the crowd mentality of vacationing. Choose your destination(s) carefully and consider your vacation goals and desires. Remember, everyone can read Travel and Leisure's or Lonely Planet's best places to visit in 2023!
Off- Season Planning a trip during the off-season or shoulder season has many benefits. Primarily you will enjoy fewer crowds, cheaper accommodations, and more intimacy with the destination. Make sure your off-season doesn't involve hurricane or monsoon season, though.
Travel Consultants You can risk many unknowns and advert some disasters if you engage the services of a consultant. Travel consultants can often negotiate the price, request upgrades, and advocate for you, the traveler. A good advisor knows the pulse of places and partners with reputable suppliers. They have much more "pull" and "inside info" than the average Joe or Jane. Ensure your consultant is American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) certified and the company has decent reviews and references before engaging in their services.
Travel Insurance Make sure to leave your home with a travel insurance policy, especially if you are headed out of the country. Remember, your appendix doesn't care if you are on vacation in Bali. Call your health insurance company to verify what services they cover when you decide to hit the road.
Less Is More If you can cram everything into a carry-on, especially for domestic travel, do it! These days you can wait at the luggage carousel for what seems like an eternity. Stick with the basics unless you're traveling with a Sherpa in tow. There are better strategies than lugging your luggage around Europe.
Consider Rail Journeys These days the airports are dicey, with delays, lost luggage, and wasted time. Consider easing the strain of travel by adding a rail itinerary to your trip, especially if you're headed to Europe or some Asian destinations. Don't think of Amtrak when you think of rail! Yes, the U.S. needs to catch up in the sophisticated rail travel department.
Group and Couples Travel Make sure you discuss your travel goals with all your travel companions before making any reservations. Take a poll and get it in writing before becoming the lead planner. Also, don't plan on a girl's shopping-oriented trip if you are taking your husband along. It's quite simply not in most guys' DNA. It's also ok to plan separate outings during your travels. You can do some things together. Having some downtime from the group or your loved one is a good strategy. Kiddies Stay flexible if you are bringing your kids along. As most parents know, kids get sick, get cranky, and love routines. So make sure you are planning with them in mind first. Check that your accommodations have laundry services and you know where to receive emergency care in case of illness.
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