Working 9 - 5, raising a family, worrying about the mortgage and trying to make time for all the people, pressures and demands in your life can take its toll. You need a break from time to time and because it is so essential that you use your holiday time for completely unwinding and de-stressing it is absolutely critical that you pick out the best holiday destination each time and avoid wasting your days away, your hard earned cash and your quality time with loved ones.
This guide to choosing the best holiday destination for you covers the top ten points you should consider when planning that next getaway.
1) The Time Of The Year - when are you planning on taking your next holiday? Certain destinations are only attractive to holidaymakers at a given time of the year because of climatic conditions. Think carefully about when you'll be travelling and then examine the rainfall and temperature charts for your shortlist of destinations and make sure it will be neither extremely too hot or cold or wet or windy when you plan to holiday.
2) Your Budget - your budget will have a major bearing on where you travel to and also when you can travel. Travelling out of season on a last minute package holiday will of course save you lots of money, but there are other ways to make your money go further. Travel agents nowadays offer early bird booking discounts for example, alternatively you could book each stage of the holiday separately and possibly save more by calling airlines, hotels and hire car companies direct and asking about any special offers or discounts they offer and maybe you could even consider a house swap to save on accommodation costs.
3) Distance - long haul flights are no fun unless you can travel business class! And what's more, having to travel to your ideal destination over a 12 or even 24 hour period and then suffering jetlag when you arrive and upon your return will maybe eat up as much as half of your holiday in real terms. Think about the distance you would like to travel in terms of hours sat on a plane, in departures, on a bus, in the car or even on a train…and then research destinations accordingly.
4) Travelling Parents - if you have children and you're planning a family holiday a whole load of new criteria come into the planning. If you have young pre-school children you may be able to travel out of the peak school holiday times and thus save yourself thousands…but you will have the added hassle of having to travel with half a tonne of baby paraphernalia! Research your airline and resort in terms of the facilities they offer parents. Also, you must consider the heat, sun and humidity factors when travelling as children suffer more and also tend to vocalise more than us when uncomfortable for long periods of time!
5) Facilities - what facilities are in or around the resorts you're considering and what facilities to you require? If you can't be more than a day away from the internet make sure there's access from your hotel, if you're travelling with children is there a laundry service offered - or better still if you're on a budget, do they have a laundry room in the hotel that you can access? Do you need to carry an iron, a hair dryer, a carry cot or even a child's car seat with you or will your hotel and hire car company be able to supply you with all the bulky items you need? Ask, don't assume!
6) Amenities - if you want to keep fit when away is there a hotel gym, what about a spa so that you can make the most of your time away? Is there an onsite bar and restaurant, what about gift shops and a mini market? Think about all the amenities you would like to have access to before you begin your research and then when you find an attractive destination tick off your list of desirable amenities against what it offers.
7) Entertainment - when it comes to your idea of a good time does that include wild night life or easy access to sites of historic or cultural interest? Are you after pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants for a 24 hour party or would you like to be able to drive to a stunning castle, take a boat trip out to sea, wander away from the crowds and find entertainment in tranquillity? You will have a good idea of the entertainment requirements you and travelling companions require - just make sure you pick a resort that fits in with those requirements!
8) Beach Flop Or Activity Holiday - are you happy to flop on the sand and soak up the sun or would you be happier hiking in the Himalayas? Think carefully about what exactly would bring you the most pleasure from your time away. Don't go with the flow and copy the crowds if your idea of a nice time is simply relaxing in your garden at home for two weeks then do that! Your holiday time is your own so make of it what you can and what you want.
9) Health Requirements - if you or your family have any particular health issues from asthma to diabetes, from a physical handicap to even a fear of flying you should take all of these factors into the planning. Certain destinations are less sophisticated in terms of medical facilities available and even in terms of access to prescription drugs, some are more inaccessible in terms of travelling to or even getting around than others. Also, some destinations carry disease warnings and require you to have inoculations before you travel or to take malaria drugs when on the ground for example. Consider your preferred destination in terms of the health aspects for your whole family.
10) Take Recommendations - listen to family, friends and colleagues when they tell you about where they've been that was good and where they've been that was terrible; learn from their experiences and disaster stories and take any recommendations from trusted and like minded sources. Such recommendations can be a great place to begin your research and if you find that the destination likely suits you to a tee you will be able to find out about the best places to eat, the must see sights and the friendliest staff before you head out which will give you an extra confidence boost and get your holiday off to a flying start.
Above all - make sure you have fun!
About the author
Rhiannon Williamson is a freelance writer whose articles about traveling and living abroad have appeared in many major travel and expatriate publications throughout the world.
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Author: Rhiannon Williamson