Although spontaneity might be considered, by some, the spice of life, for practical purposes, travel planning must never be undervalued or underestimated. Often, the well-thought-out travel plan is the one in which everything generally comes together like a finely-tuned instrument. To ensure the least amount of unexpected or unforeseen obstacles or challenges, the planning of any trip, abroad or stateside, should begin at least three to six months prior to the departure date. Utilize the following suggestions as a checklist to ensure the best opportunity for a joyous and memorable traveling experience.
Traveling Companion(s) – This consideration may dictate the best time to travel (i.e., school breaks for students, seasonal work breaks for adults, pilgrimage with a group). Also take into account how easily the companions (e.g., young or small children, the elderly) can adapt to the travel destination.
Monetary Resources – How much will be needed to ensure a quality and satisfying travel experience? Consider consulting a travel agency for the best and most current information on deals and discounts on transportation, (i.e., plane, train, bus, car rental, ship) hotel, and ticket information to shows and all forms of entertainment. Individual research can also be done through travel guides (i.e., books and videos from the local public library) and the internet. However, keep in mind that books and videos can become quickly outdated. Although these, as well as a travel channel (on television), can give a solid and historical overview of a travel destination, visiting a travel destination’s website to seek out current entertainment, lodging, food, societal issues and weather information is highly suggested.
Time Factor – Can the travel destination be adequately visited and enjoyed within an allotted timeframe of one/two/three weeks, a month, or six months? Within this timeframe, the weather/climate should also be taken into consideration. For example, does the objective of the trip dictate a specific type of climate or season (i.e., scuba diving, snow skiing, hiking, surfing, sky diving)? Also consider that many other pursuits and interests such as theatre plays or fishing and hunting will also have a specified season. Researching and planning will help avoid disappointment.
Foreseen and Unforeseen Circumstances – Become educated on the various types of religious or secular holidays and natural disasters (i.e., earthquakes, hurricanes, floods) that could take place or are already taking place at your planned destination. Also be aware of any local situations that currently exist (i.e., civil unrest, famine). It would also be prudent to be aware of any type of local, national or international conferences that are taking place that could hamper easy accessibility to hotels, restaurants, streets, or certain attractions in the area.