How to plan your next stress free vacation?

Travel planning made easy. Amsterdam's Vondelpark

How to make Travel Planning Easy!

Traveling is a lot of fun, but it also costs money. At Faraway Places we have done extensive research into what the average spend per vacation is for clients, on properties and on activities and here is a guide to making travel planning easy. A lot of research goes into planning good itineraries, from the hotels themselves and then the activities that one should do when you get there. There are several approaches you can employ to plan your vacation, you could go with the first deciding on a budget, or find the cheapest flight to any country,you could also first choose your destination and then work your way through that and arrive at the budget required for you to travel to that country, maybe you could also choose the one/two activities you really want to do (skydiving/scuba diving)

Budget for your travels!

The first thing I think travellers need to figure out is there budget. This is something that works on a lot of variables. I would say some of the variables are – the flight prices for those days, does the country require a visa,  what are the activities you would like to do,  the services you want at your accommodation, the number of leaves you can get from work and more importantly how much money you have in the bank. We find many people who come to us generally without a budget in mind or unrealistic expectations. I’m not saying people with a budget don’t need travel planning services but sometimes the budgets are a bit unrealistic. The general trend was that a Seychelles vacation cost around 1 lakhs per person with their flights, 6 nights budget stay & transfers whereas a high end, 6 nights Bali vacation would cost around 1 lakh per person. Sometimes even more if you include activities. A lot of you will say that it doesn’t have to be that expensive there are ways to make it cheaper etc. I agree completely and that is why one backpacks or makes the choice to go for a self catering apartment/Airbnb instead. A lot of three star hotels are never going to be as expected and when your travel advisor is suggesting a hotel he is trying to give you a hotel that balances everything – cleanliness, attentiveness by the staff and location, as opposed to just giving you a place to stay.

How to pick the best Flights for your vacation.

This is the easiest one. Go to Google Flights. Google Flights is a great way of discovering the best flight to any place around the world. Just put the dates for your trip and choose a destination. Then you will be given the world map with flights to every port from your city of origin. And voila, you can find the cheapest connection into Europe or any other place on the globe. The reason I would suggest using this method even before deciding the place is that you never know maybe you were looking at Thailand, and are getting a similar or cheaper fare to Paris, but with a nine hour halt in Jeddah. Go for the nine hour halt in Jeddah! It’s okay, you’ll be at the airport, you may spend some on food, but there are people using space to sleep all over airports, welcome to the club! Anyway, the cheaper the flight the better the place! So just go for it, see a country you wouldn’t have even thought of visiting, isnt travel an adventure?

Hotels Selection

Hotels really come under the budget category as it’s going to be a large portion of your spend. You could break down in a few categories.

  1. Hostels: Hostels are a great option for 18-28 year olds. They are normally reasonably priced, are a great place to meet fellow travellers from all over the world and expand your circle. The most trusted resource we have is hostelworld. It is a great resource to check ratings, previous comments and see pictures of the dorms and the hostel in general.
  2. Airbnb & Similar sites– Airbnb is the new kid on the block here but has made some great gains in the market in an incredibly short time. The rise of this website/platform can be attributed to the a space between hostels and 3 star hotels. 3 star hotels around the world unless they are boutique and run with a lot of care tend to never be great experiences as there is always a compromise. With Airbnb you go into it knowing it will be a compromise. There will be some issues, but hey you also get to check in at any time you want if the property is available, it is a lot more informal, you get to meet a local to show you around or guide you, and mostly you get entire apartments/villas for the same cost that you would get one room at a 3 star hotel. Airbnbs are a great stay option. Just remember to check all the reviews, speak to the host and ask him questions to gauge how friendly or helpful he/she is. And always remember, this is someone’s house not a hotel, respect that and you should be good to go.
  3. Hotels – Hotels are a dime a dozen, it all comes down to what you want? Getting points on your Hilton Honors Card, go for a Hilton property. If you like uber luxury go for an Aman or Banyan Tree. You can never go wrong with the Four Seasons. Want something you can rely on? Get a Novotel, Holiday Inn or a Marriott. Not all hotels are equal and you must read the latest TripAdvisor review page to get an idea of what the good and bad points of the hotel in detail. Look out for insider tips, great hotel rooms, interesting experiences that the hotels offer. Trust in TripAdvisor blindly!

Tip: Try local 5 star brands, or some unknown ones that have a somewhat global presence(eg. Constance hotels)

 

Activities

This is just a mixture of what you want to do and how much you are willing to pay. Our suggestion would be to look for unique activities to do in the country you plan to travel in, maybe even keep some days to explore the countryside yourself. The weird thing about the internet is that it brings to the surface the run of the mill quite easily. If you do a google search for the best things to do in a place trust me the first page will mostly be things that people suggest as the best things to do in a country/area/city, not the most unique or most interesting things. This also depends on your interests, whether it be bar hopping/island hopping or a cooking class. But being sure of the things you want to do makes all the difference. We would suggest searching for unique experiences in the countries you visit.

Click here for a list of all our vacations.

 

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Tejasvi Tandon
Chief Curator at Faraway Places

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