The Dos and Don’ts of Planning Your Summer Trip

Summer is right around the corner! I’m an elementary teacher, so I might be counting down the days until our school break and our first summer trip. While finalizing some of our vacation details today, I thought sharing my list of dos and don’ts could come in handy for some of you!

The Dos for Planning Your Trip:

Do: Start planning your summer trip right now! I just finished reserving our hotels for our summer trip and some options that I had saved to come back to were already completely sold out in just under a week. So, if you have a destination in mind, I suggest you get busy with your travel plans sooner rather than later.

Do: Set a budget and stick to it! Talk with your partner and set a reasonable budget and then begin researching your accommodations and flights. Don’t sway and pay more for airfare or lodging than you planned for. That might mean rethinking your destination, but you’ll be much happier if you stay under budget and have more funds for activities on your vacation!

Do: Choose a destination! This is always the fun part. Decide what activities you want to do and what you’d like to see this summer and go from there.

Do: Set your dates. You should do this fairly quickly so that you can take off work if that’s needed and make arrangements for your pets or plants!

Do: Check travel advisories. Make sure that the destination you plan to visit is safe and if there are serious advisories, then you should plan a new destination. Click here for all current travel advisories.

Do: Book flights and hotels right away. I recommend booking your arrangements as quickly as you can before rates go up or hotels become sold out. I usually start with Google Flights when booking our airfare to compare rates across all airlines. If you have flexible dates, this is also a great website to use because it provides different rates for various dates.

Do: Ensure your passport or identification card is valid. Know passport rules, most destinations will not allow entry to their country unless the passport is set to expire at least six months from the last travel day. This means that you will need to get your passport renewed if it will expire within 6 months of your vacation just to be on the safe side!

Do: Research the destination you settle on. I spend tons of time learning more about the places we’ll be traveling to. I typically visit travel blogs, like mine, and google search for ideas and images. Don’t forget to request free travel brochures or magazines about your destination, too. I am happy to help if you have any questions or need some ideas for a destination!

Do: Look for deals. While you’re researching, check to see if there are any deals or special offers for your destination. We love the CityPASS when we’re traveling to a city destination. Often times, museums will have free days or entrance times. If you set aside some time for planning, you will find some good deals!

Do: Start saving up for your trip. This might mean less stops for coffee, or in my case, less Door Dash deliveries for lunch. But, it’s so worth it in the end and makes spending money on special activities and excursions less stressful!

Do: Create an itinerary. We like to have a plan for how we will spend our days on vacation. Plus, it’s always a good idea to book activities and make reservations ahead of time. I do like to be flexible, so that we can have some downtime and change plans based on weather. But, we always have a list of things we want to do and we usually know what days will be best to do each activity!

Do: Create a Pinterest board for your trip. I love to create boards and add pins so I have an easy place to refer back to when we finally arrive at the destination. I pin things to help us plan activities, to know where to park, for various tips and recommendations, and for suggestions on where to eat!

The Don’ts for Planning Your Summer Trip:

Don’t procrastinate. If you wait too late, rates will likely increase and you risk hotels or activities being unavailable or sold out.

Don’t book with a budget airline. In my personal experience, it’s never ended well. The last time we booked with a budget airline we had to cancel and rebook with a major airline. After booking a nonstop, early morning flight with the budget airline, our flight time kept changing until the departure time was 1:oo am and a layover was added. Honestly, the prices were not that different with the major airline because we didn’t have to pay for seats and baggage prices were much lower.

Don’t skip the travel insurance. Airlines and hotels are not as easy to cancel or change plans as they were during the most extreme times of the pandemic. You never can be too prepared for an emergency, whether that be from illness or bad weather.

Don’t over plan too many activities. I know I have a hard time with this because I want to see and do it all. But the truth is, nobody is having fun if the day is too jam-packed and everyone is tired. I have learned in all my travels that well fed and well rested kids make all the difference!

Don’t travel to dangerous locations. It’s always best to err on the side of caution. Be smart and stay safe.

With the right planning, I have no doubt that your summer vacation will be a blast! Don’t forget to pack your patience, summer is the busiest travel months of the year. Stick to your budget, have an itinerary in mind, keep a positive attitude, and have fun making memories with your loved ones!