For some, planning a vacation is almost as fun as going on vacation. You get to research different areas, compare photos and do some research on the separate activities and must-see attractions.
For others, however, the planning part can be a nightmare. Running back from this site to that site and trying to finalize the dates can be an absolute headache.
To try and make the planning aspect a bit easier, check out the list of tips and tricks below. You can get through the process quickly and start looking forward to everything you’re going to do.
Useful Tips for Planning Your Next Vacation
Finding the flight can sometimes be the hardest part of your journey. You’re bouncing back and forth between websites to find the best deal before you commit a large sum of money.
For starters, you should be using a website like Kayak or Skyscanner where you can compare a whole host of websites at once. Instead of having 10 tabs open at once, jumping back and forth to compare them all, you can get them in one simple place.
The only issue is that these websites tend to bring in ALL possible flights, so you may have to scroll through deals that are too good to be true or flights that have 57 hour layovers.
It’s best to buy from reputable sites or straight from the airline itself. So if you don’t trust going through a third party, use Kayak or Skyscanner to find your flight then go to that airline’s website directly.
When Should You Buy?
Tuesday is routinely seen as the best day to buy a ticket. That makes the day doubly special, as it’s also the day with the least amount of air traffic.
As to when you should leave, the best days are Tuesdays and Sundays. These are when ticket prices tend to be the cheapest. Flying out on Friday or Saturday may be unavoidable with your plans, but expect to pay a bit more, especially for those flights that leave super early in the morning or are right after work.
Where to Fly From?
If you are fortunate enough to live in a major city, it’s a no-brainer to fly from there. Cities like New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas and Chicago offer lower-cost trips to international destinations. During the tourist off-season, you may even find an international flight for less than $300.
If you’re not near a major-major city, you’ll be paying a bit extra to make the international journey. Cities like Nashville, Memphis, Tallahassee, Detroit, and Portland may have cheap tickets for flying international but the difference may be enormous.
If you can, think about booking a separate ticket to get to a big city. The savings might be a few hundred dollars and you can use that for something on vacation.
As a warning, this is ONLY recommended if you plan on staying for a long duration at your destination. The travel time may reach into 20 hours and you’ll likely be spending en entire day traveling and sitting at the airport.
How to Buy
On travel sites, these cookies track what flights you’re looking for. The website will learn you’re interested in that week-long trip to Rome in July, so if you are constantly returning to that website looking at that flight, the prices will generally start increase.
Time to go incognito in your browser. The shortcuts may be different, but on Google Chrome press CTRL+SHIFT+N to open up an incognito window. There, the website will be unable to track your progress and you’re more likely to get better prices.
The same strategy applies when you’re booking your accommodation. Use that extra money for something fun instead.
A must for any international vacation: double checking to see if you need a visa and making sure your passport is valid.
Airlines will let you buy a ticket without double checking to see if you have a visa, so you need to search your destination country’s immigration page or your home country’s travel page. There is no blanket rule: some countries don’t require a visa, some require an electronic visa, some make you purchase a visa upon arrival and others require one.
For many countries, a tourist visa is relatively painless but others may make you apply weeks in advance.
In addition, countries have specific passport necessities. Many countries, especially those in Europe, require your passport to be valid for at least six months after your intended departure date. So that means if you’re arriving January 1st, your passport needs to be valid until July 1st at minimum. Once again, airlines will not advise you of this until you are at the airport. You don’t want to find out you’re not going somewhere after all your money and planning.