I asked a friend who owns a travel agency to give me some quick Do’s and Don’ts when planning a trip. These tips were on the top of her list:
Travel with a trusted source. A cruise line, tour operator, hotel, etc. Whoever you do business with needs to have a proven track record. They should be financially sound so you know they will still be in business when you plan to travel.
Use a travel advisor to elevate your trip. Depending on the type of vacation there is usually a small fee attached, but you will save this in multiples due to the global connections they have that you do not. Not to mention the VIP treatment they receive that they can then pass along to you. Your advisor will serve as your advocate during the planning process, while you are on your vacation, and when you return home. If something goes wrong, they are there for you. Your advisor takes the stress off you so you can enjoy your vacation. They will also help you prioritize your interests based on your budget. Their expertise will save you time and money.
Have a plan and a backup plan as well!
Be sure you have all passports up to date. These need to be valid 6+ months past the date you plan on returning from vacation.
Be sure you have all necessary visas for your destination based on your citizenship along with any necessary vaccines required for travel.
Be sure you have considered travel insurance to cover you in the event of cancellation or medical emergencies.
Try to cram too much into a short vacation, especially international destinations. Example: you need 10-14 days just to see New Zealand, not New Zealand and Australia!
Make decisions based solely on reviews from websites and anonymous sources that you cannot verify. This is where you need to rely on your travel professional. She has vetted these places and will help you make good choices.
Select a destination based solely on lowest price during rainy season and then be disappointed when it rains every day of your vacation! As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
Pick the wrong tour operator or destination for your travel style. You want a shopping trip? Then choosing a small town in a remote state, because it fits your budget, is probably not the best fit. Partner with an advisor that will listen to your needs and desires.
Eliminate cruising as an option for your family because you do not want to sail on a big ship. There are wonderful cruise lines with smaller ships including river cruises. These can also be great vacations when traveling with multi generations.
Go to Walt Disney World or Disneyland without a plan! You will be frustrated and waste time and money! (This was a bonus for our friends with children! 😊)