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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to plan a vacation

Advance planning for family vacations saves money, stress and time.  Plus, you avoid the regrets of missing out on something amazing.

Although I'm the organized one in our household, my husband is the vacation planner.  I think he's got a great retirement side job in planning and organizing vacations for people.  Here are some of the ways he plans our vacations:

1)  Guide books.   First, check out what's available at the library.  There are so many brand names of travel books, that you'll want to see what you like.  The ones we use most are Frommers and Fodors.  Then, we recommend purchasing one or two so you can take them with you.

2) Trip Advisor.  Once we've got an idea of what activities sound interesting, we'll often check it out on Trip Advisor to see what others have to say.  The Internet is a wealth of travel information.

3)  Create a daily schedule.  We just pencil in the highlights we want to do or see.  This saves us the heartache of showing up at a museum only to discover it's closed on Mondays.

4)  Make reservations in advance. Because we plan far in advance, we will often purchase entry tickets months before we leave.  This way we've spread out the expense of our trip.  The downside is if you have to cancel.  But that  hasn't happened yet that we haven't been able to get our money back. 

One of the best planning investments we every made was buying The Unofficial Guide to Disney World.  It bypassed the standard tourist information, and told you all the little details that would make our trip easier.  Like what weeks attendance is lowest and what rides to go on in the morning.  We had a magnificent time based on that advice.

What's your best planning advice?  I'd love to hear it.

Grace & Peace,



  1. These are great tips. I'm not a fan of theme parks like Disney World, but if we did go, it's good to know about the unofficial guide to make it a better experience. I've found from past vacation experiences that it's always good to plan and be organized, but always with a spirit of flexibility! lol

  2. Last summer I kept a vacation notebook with a summer calendar. I included page protectors for copies of hotel reservations; plane tickets; schedules; addresses, phone numbers, and hours for places to visit; supplies needed; and packing lists. It was great to have it all in one notebook. We could take the whole notebook or just one page protector.