Do you live the busy life of a metropolitan office bug who is always looking forward to the next opportunity to get away and fast-charge his batteries? If you are a notorious perfectionist but you have limited time and budget to organize your perfect getaway then maybe this article can serve you well.
First of all I am not another travel blogger who is living the dream and gets paid for being on holiday all the time. I indeed have a real career, working long hours in an office year round. I am a person who has a usual, rushing life and a family, so whenever I travel I do everything to make the most wonderful memories to see the most amazing things and to experience the most of the local culture and customs.
The world is too big to return to the same place twice so you need to make the most out of your travel that single occasion you get.
So getting to the point of this article, what does it take for a holiday to be perfect? Like always success comes with hard work and perseverance 🙂 but I can offer you a few tips on the most important components.
Chose the perfect destination
That is the key factor of all holidays. I can recommend you to travel at least once to all continents and experience different cultures. If you don’t have a bucket list of travel destinations you can start defining the next perfect one by narrowing down the options according to the list below.
- Think of the most important things that you enjoy in a holiday. You can be a fan of mountains, or turquoise waters , fancy metropolis’, wildlife or many many other things. Think of countries where you have most things from your list of favorites. It is ok to chose more, the following steps will clear your way to the perfect destination.
- Define a budget. At this point you probably have a few countries in your mind. If you are not the backpacker traveler you can get an idea upon the costs by taking a look at some travel agent’s online offers. If you ignore hostels and last minute prices you will have an estimate on your destinations. In my experience 90% of the time you can organize the same trip for less money and higher quality, I will detail this in other stories.
- Define holiday length. The previous step probably meant a painful farewell from some of your favorites. If there are still a number of options left think about the number of days you can afford to travel. If you are continent-hopping you should never stay less then 10 nights. Adding the travel time you will probably need 12–14 days off from your busy office life. If you cannot do that, just cross out the destinations that are too far away.
- You still in doubts which destination to chose? Think about activities that you can do at each place. You may be an architecture fan, or a diver, a hiker or a foodie. Chose the best fit.
It is important to chose your destination as a whole. Do not make the mistake to travel to a place only for a single attraction or a lovely beach, you can have bad weather or your favorite attraction can just go under renovation and then your holiday loses it’s point. Chose the wisely 😉 chose a whole package, then nothing can go wrong.
How to get there
Who has already traveled across continents or long distance knows that flight options are important things to consider as well. Long distance flights can define the biggest part of your holiday costs so chose wisely.
If you are not lucky enough to live in a city having one of the worlds largest airports with direct flights to everywhere you need to search for optimal connections. For this I usually start by a few searches on engines like skyscanner or momondo. What I search for is dependent on the chosen destinations. For example from Europe you can find good flight rates to Africa from Milano/Rome; to Asia Helsinki or Istambul. You can as well consider stopovers in Dubai and Doha. There are many articles on this topic so I will not details this further now.
There are some key factors to consider when choosing a long haul flights besides the cost:
- Travel time/number of stops. The golden rule of long distance traveling is to minimize the number of stops. This reduces the risks and almost every time it reduces the costs. The inconvenience of baggage loss is exponentially increased with the number of stops you make. It may be cheaper to chose a connecting flight with a long wait in the airport, but think about the money you spend at the airport waiting for the next flight. Last but not least you must have some self respect so do not put yourself through a terrible experience of sleeping in a terminal after a 12 hour flight just to spare a dime. Don’t forget that you are on a holiday to rest.
- Beware that low cost doesn’t mean cheap. These appear as the cheapest on the search engine’s list but keep in mind that low cost airlines do not include checked-in baggage nor meal in this price. After you add all these additional taxes it is not sure that it will be so low cost after all.
- I recommend booking directly on the airline’s website. That is the safest and almost every time the cheapest. Always read carefully the list of inclusions to avoid unpleasant and expensive confusions.
Where to stay
Most say that it is not important where you stay, if you are in a beautiful place the rest does not matter. It is so untrue. Most tourists spend most of their holiday in the limits of their hotel/resort, so it does make a difference.
I have been to a beach in Riviera Maya, Mexico that was as beautiful as in my wildest dreams, but two hotels away the beach was shallow, rocky and ugly, even if the destination was the same. This is why you need to chose wisely.
Usually I am trying to avoid accommodations that the travel agencies are desperately pushing. These tend to be overcrowded and touristy. I developed a routine which helped me identify some great hidden gems over the years. I will walk your though this process in a later story but here are the high level steps you might want to follow:
- Chose a beach, or a main attraction you want to be close to. Decide if you prefer highly touristic areas, party zones or secluded private beaches/forests etc. Use google, tripadvisor etc. to identify these. Read reviews, search for real photos from fellow travelers to avoid scams.
- Use the map to find accommodations in your favorite area. Just open google maps or tripadvisor location map or any other booking platform that you like and search for accomodation.
- Chose comfort and facilities according to needs and budget.
This method enabled me to have a glance on the hotel area, how crowded it is how many other hotels are in the area, how close it is to public transportation or any other important factors. Don’t forget that a lot of hotels are advertised as “right on the beach” or as in a “secluded area”and they often aren’t so give yourself a favor and check it out on the maps and chose the perfect one. Again the golden rule: before booking always read reviews and look at travelers’ photos. always.
What to do
When you are traveling to a new place there is so much to see, taste and do. I highly recommend to search for the main attractions before you travel, but also leave 1–2 travel spots empty to have some flexibility.
Tourists areas have tons of activities so it is hard to chose, but trust your heart and nothing can go wrong. How many activities should you plan? I think it is optimal if you go on a tour every second day, to make sure that you visit the most important parts of your destination, but you are able to still relax and sleep in the other days.
Try to see, to taste and to do things that are specific to your destination, that cannot be experienced in other countries and I am sure that you will return with some great memories.
Once in a lifetime experiences are the one that keep you together and keep to going for the rest of the year.
If you liked this story follow me for more tricks and tips for a perfect holiday.
Enjoy your stay ! 🙂