wonderful destinations

Vacation Planning, Part 1: Destinations

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Many of you are getting ready to plan vacations for this year, so I’m reposting part 1 of Wonderful Destinations: Vacation Planning.

In the past 10 years, my hubby and I have traveled to some wonderful destinations. Off the top of my head, we’ve visited 11 Caribbean islands; gone to Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico; to Maui, The Big Island, and Kauai in Hawaii; and a few cruise ports in Central America. We’ve been on 5 cruises, which account for many of the Caribbean islands, and taken multiple trips to Hawaiian resorts, and Mexican all-inclusive resorts.

I get asked all the time how I plan our trips, so today I’m going to share that with you on the blog today.

Wonderful Destinations to See

 

Perfect Vacation
Hilton Waikoloa Village, Hawaii, 2010

 

I’m the designated travel planner in my family. Just ask anyone in my family, and they’ll tell you that I take my mission seriously. Before booking a trip, I do a lot of research on the destination, the property we are staying at, and compare prices.

I’ve only used a real travel agent once, for our 30th anniversary trip to St. Lucia in 2015. I probably won’t do it again. Not that it was a bad experience, because it wasn’t. I used the travel agent to help me narrow down regions for our trip and to choose a resort based on our needs. Her expertise was really helpful in choosing and booking our destination.

 

Perfect Get-A-Way
Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos, 2011

 

What’s Your Idea of the Perfect Vacation?

Our idea of the perfect vacation is going to a warm, fun, sandy place for some R & R (rest and relaxation). Everyone’s idea of the perfect is different, so it’s important to know that when planning. Some people travel for new adventures, to experience a new culture, or to visit a particular city. Every time you travel you are going to have a new experience, so your goal is to ensure it’s the type of experience you want.

 

Sandals at St. Lucia, 2015

 

How to Plan the Perfect Vacation

The first step is determine your idea of the perfect vacation. What do you want out of this vacation experience? Is it freezing cold where you are now and you want a warm, toes in the sand vacation? Or do you want to see a lot of places, say several cities in a week? Maybe you want to go zip-lining through a jungle? Understanding this is key to having the time of your life or coming home feeling like you still need a vacation.

 

Travel
Hawaii, 2015

 

How to Choose the Best Destination for You

Once you know what kinds of experience you’re looking for, it’s time to decide where to go.

There are so many wonderful destinations out there! Deciding what you want to do comes before deciding where to go since there are more factors involved in the destination.

Say you always take your vacation in the summer because your kids are out of school then. If a tropical, toes in the sand experience is what you want then you’ll need to factor in the season and weather. For instance, it’s hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea in the summer and fall. This means lots of great deals are available during the low-season, but a hurricane or tropical storm could affect your plans.

Seasonal Destinations

In Mexico, some places are really hot in the summer. Once, we went to Cabo San Lucas in July and it was blazing hot. I knew that it would be hot, but I didn’t realize the effects of the very high humidity. It was 110 with the heat index and we spent all day in the pool just to be able to cope with the heat. Another time, we went there in mid-August and had a tropical storm. In fact, our resort flooded and we lost water and air conditioning. We still had a great time though, and have a good laugh when we talk about that trip. Include Mother Nature in your decision-making.

Planning the Perfect Get-A-Way
The Arc in Cabo San Lucas, 2010

 

So, we’ve covered what type of vacation is your ideal, and what to factor in when contemplating all those wonderful destinations. I have plenty more to share, though!

Look for part two of planning the perfect vacation. I’ll cover other topics such as where to look for deals, researching where to say, and what to look for in a resort. I’ll be sharing that over the next few weeks.

Feel free to share any of your funny vacation experiences below.

Be sure to check out my other travel articles:

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