Thursday, June 25, 2009

Travel, Travel, Travel - A Guide to the Basics

My passion is travel. I love to talk about it, dream about it and do it. But with the economy how it is, you would think that it would be the last thing on my list. Well it's not. We all need an escape from reality, and now more than ever travel is important to our sanity and family unity.

It's time to rethink the traditional rules about travel. You don't need to have a 4 or 5 star hotel to enjoy your hard earned vacation. It is not better to stay home if you can't afford to travel in luxury. The goal of a vacation should be to get in touch with yourself, your family and your sanity. That can be done from whatever star hotel or ship's cabin.

So what is my suggestion to start? Write down what makes you happy. Do you enjoy the beach, mountains, wilderness, or city? Where do you feel the most relaxed? If vacationing is new to you then take it slow. Do you need to get away? When you think about that what first pops into your mind? Start there and KISS, yes, Keep It Simple Silly. How will you get there? Do you have a car to drive and can you get there in 6 hours or less? Do you have limited time or can you afford the 6 hours to and from your destination?

Driving can be a fun experience if and only if it is relaxed. Enjoy the scenery, stop along the way and arrive at your destination within 6 hours. If your vacation includes several stops then driving will allow you the versitility of stopping when you want and as long as you want. Do not drive everyday of your vacation. You will arrive home more tired then you left. If you are concerned about your vehicle then rent a car. Many rental agencies have special rates for weekends or if you reserve your car in advance. Take advantage of this, along with coupons that you can get at your auto club, Entertainment Book or other reward programs. Now is the time to use what you can to stretch your dollar.

The next thing you need to keep in mind is that you cannot see everything so don't try. In my years as a travel agent I found that most people planned their vacation as if they had a terminal illness and would never be able to return to that destination. They tried to cram as much stuff as they could in a 1 week vacation. Then they wondered why their kids were cranky and not appreciative for the week in a tropical paradise. Here is a rule of thumb. If you come home from vacation and cannot remember everything you did, not just list it but remember the details of it, you did too much. It's true that none of us are guaranteed tomorrow but I guarantee that your regrets will not be that you missed the 15th museum or beach on your vacation. So how do you avoid this mistake? Buy a guidebook for your destination or do some research on it on the internet. Then make a list of your top five stops and the top five of all the people in your household. Come together and chose 3 to 5 of those and you will be ready to go. Now here is where many people go astray, you are not going to jail if you don't see all 3 to 5 of those things. If you get to your destination and find there is something else that you or the family wants to do, like sit at the pool or spa then do that! Your list is just a guide.

You are probably asking where do we stay and what if I don't want to drive? Well stay tuned....

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