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How To Save For A Vacation -- Planning Tips, Checklist


By Elizabeth Buxton, Refinery29

The vacation of our dreams takes place on a faraway tropical beach; the cobblestone streets of an ancient city; a bed and breakfast in a neighboring state. We close our eyes and there we are: drinks in hand, tours mapped, and dinner reservations booked. But real escapes — no matter how big or small — take actual work to pull off. And as much as our wanderlust-hearts want to wing an upcoming excursion to Portugal or two week stay in Italy, it literally pays off to honor our hard-saved vacation cash with pre-planning. But when life gets in the way, it's tough to figure out exactly when, where, and how to successfully plan ahead.

Instead of allowing our busy schedules to foil future trips with haphazard planning, we asked Melissa Biggs Bradley, former travel editor of Town & Country and founder of Indagare — a boutique travel company that offers modern, membership-based travel services — for help. Something that many of us tend to overlook is that, "planning and booking a 7-day trip can take up to 30-40 hours [of] researching," the Indagare CEO told Refinery29. To help get us on the right track, Bradley shared some of her wayfaring wisdom — outlining exactly what steps to take in planning your next escape. Regardless of personal travel style or budget, the six tips ahead can help shape your wildest travel whims into achievable realities.



1

Know Your Travel Style

What sort of traveler are you?

"In addition to the basic ‘skeleton’ of your trip (airfare, hotels), it's important to determine ahead of time what sort of traveler you are: Are you seeking adventure activities? Are you craving cultural exploration? Rosé-filled lunches by the beach? Your choice will help you narrow down your list of potential destinations and from there you can select the one that suits your budget, season of travel, and allotted time frame."



2

Establish A Budget

Budgeting for less leaves room for more:

It's easy to get carried away and end up overspending while on vacation, so establishing a budget ahead of time is key. John Cantrell, one of Indagare's trip-planning experts, suggests determining, "a comfortable budget for the trip overall (or per day), and then cut the number by 20-25%. As your itinerary develops, you will have a little left over to add in a splurge or two, but you can afford it and you won’t feel like you're overdoing it."



3

Determine Where To Splurge

What is worth saving or splurging on?

"If you want to sink your teeth into a destination, it’s better to splurge and hire a private guide for museums and/or historical sites and to save on a slightly cheaper hotel. Touring the Berlin Wall with a historian or doing a foodie tour in Barcelona can truly bring those destinations to life."



4

Leave The Right Things To Chance

Prioritize your activities:

"If one of the reasons you are going to Amsterdam is to see the Van Gogh museum or to take a canal ride, make sure that you know the opening times or have reserved a spot. If you only have four dinners in Paris, make sure that you have booked the kinds of restaurants that will deliver what you are looking for and that you don't "waste" a meal because you don't have a plan and cannot find a great spot on the fly."

Don't over-schedule:

"Building in free-time to your itinerary helps you discover new things and savor the destination instead of rushing from place to place. You have time to just chill when you find a beautiful spot or linger over lunch or take a walk around a cool neighborhood; often the unscripted moments will be your favorites.”



5

Find Inspiration

Get active on social media:

At their worst, travel photos on Instagram give us serious cases of FOMO — and at their best, some major wanderlust inspiration. Turn your envious feels into actionable planning by following Bradley's social media advice. Indagare follows, "hundreds of hotels, restaurants, and our local network of insiders," on Instagram in order to stay ahead of the travel trends. She additionally recommends Pinterest as, "great for planning," and YouTube as having, "thousands of destination specific videos to get you dreaming."



6

Pack Like A Pro

Carry it on:

"I don’t want to risk losing luggage, and traveling lighter is less stressful than having to keep track of lots of belongings on the road. It also gives you flexibility to change to earlier or later flights. The secret is choosing one neutral color to build your wardrobe around; it can be black, navy, gray or khaki, and then you can limit shoes and bags and add color and personality with blouses, jewelry and scarves. Comfort is key too. Great flat shoes, blazers, pants and blouses that don’t wrinkle and can go from day into night."


See more at: Refinery29

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U.S. Daily News: How To Save For A Vacation -- Planning Tips, Checklist
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