Couple planning ahead for their vacation, sitting on couch researching the destination on their laptop

Having experienced years of travel to various destinations in the world, I’ve discovered that planning ahead is imperative to the success of a memorable vacation. There have been several times when I’ve traveled to a faraway place, only to discover afterward that I missed some great experiences. From that moment on, I made it my goal to not put myself in this situation again. To help make your travel planning a bit easier, here are some helpful tips and tricks:

Plan According to Your Wish List

Before starting the actual travel planning, think about what your dream vacation might look like. Do you want to just lie around a pool, read a book and relax and not think about anything? Or, is it possible that you’re adventurous and want to see as much as you possibly can? Once you’ve determined the type of trip you want, you can commence the search for the perfect vacation.

Weather Conditions

Research the weather conditions in the area you are visiting. This helps plan with the packing process. If you don’t need to bring a coat and gloves, then your luggage will be that much lighter. Conversely, if you need it and don’t have it, this can put a huge damper on things.

Check-In for Your Flight Early

This is something I always do and I set a personal calendar invitation to it. If you check in right at the 24-hour mark prior to the flight, you can avoid paying the flight seat fees at booking. One of the best tricks I’ve used, and it works almost 90% of the time, is to select an aisle seat for my companion and a window seat for myself in the same row at the back of the plane. In most cases, no one will choose a middle seat at the back and we will have the luxury of having no one between us and plenty of room to stretch. If the plane is full and there is someone between us, I will simply offer them the window seat (they are always grateful for this) and then I will move over to sit beside my companion.

Research Common Attractions for your Destination

Don’t miss out on things that are a ‘must see’ in the location you are going to without researching all of the attractions in that area. Look at reviews for those attractions and select those that you think you will have time to do. This will also allow you to plan your budget beforehand so that you are maximizing your experience, but not your wallet.

Ensure You Have a Good Idea of Distance to Your Attractions

I’ve been caught in this dilemma before, especially when traveling to Europe or Canada. These are countries that are spread far and wide and it sometimes takes quite a bit of time to get from one destination to another. Plan your excursions according to the distance between locations so that you don’t spend too much downtime in vehicles or other modes of transportation.

Trip Essentials

Research the hotel or resort you are going to so that you can determine what you need to bring and what you can leave behind. Most hotels and resorts have toiletries, blow dryers, robes, and also laundry services on site. This means you can pack less and bring back more of those souvenirs without having overweight luggage you have to pay for on the trip home.

Create a Travel Itinerary

Ensure that you maximize your experience by creating an itinerary ahead of time. This will ensure that you have plenty of time to do everything you want while you’re there. Again, this helps with budgeting as well.

Know the Culture Ahead of Time

If you are traveling to a country you have never been to before, it’s important that you research the culture ahead of time. What seems fine in the country you reside in may not necessarily be acceptable in other countries. In certain places for instance, it is forbidden to chew gum on the streets and those that do not abide by the rules could be fined or even arrested. This is an extremely important piece that you must absolutely research before going. My best advice would be to reach out to an expert who could tell you all about the country/place you are visiting and all it has to offer.


When you think ahead and do a little travel planning, you will feel much of the eagerness which the experience itself will bring. When you plan in advance, the anticipation and joy of looking forward to something is half the fun as the trip itself!

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