Planning a Vacation Abroad: Tips for Your Next Trip

Plane approaching ZRH

Image by Adnan Yahya via Flickr

A vacation abroad is something many people believe they cannot afford. A one week getaway to another part of the world is so much more exciting and educational than time spent at resorts or one of the usual haunts you’ve visited year after year. Traveling to a new country can refresh your perspective and will show you what life looks like through an entirely different set of eyes, as well as provide you with a much needed break from your stressful routine. And the good news is, it’s possible for you to afford to go on such a trip!

There are a few key lessons that most experienced travelers have learned, which are helpful when planning a holiday abroad. A common novice mistake is to spend hours poring over maps and flight schedules, obsessing over every detail and trying to fit every possible expense into the budget. The most obvious result of this is a lot of unnecessary stress. Even with such meticulous planning, many are still unhappy with their choices. This can ruin a vacation before it even gets started. Here are a few simple tips to help you make the most of your holiday, while avoiding the tension.

Do Some Planning Ahead

Don’t get too bogged down in the details, and beware of becoming a slave to a travel itinerary, which can drain the fun and excitement out of a visit to the most exotic destination. But do some sensible advance planning in order to take advantage of the many economical options the travel industry offers to travelers.

First, decide what kind of vacation you want. This is essential to defining your needs and determining which options you can take advantage of. Are you after sun and sand? Or is a cozy mountain retreat just what the doctor ordered? Do you want a vacation that includes scuba lessons or international cuisine? Or are you feeling adventurous, eager to explore the night life of some far-off foreign city?

Establish the general parameters of your trip then start your research. The internet is an excellent tool for finding flights. An entire industry has grown up in the last decade or so devoted to providing vacationers with discount travel options. Visit fare comparison sites to find the best deal.

This is a good stage to visit your doctor and ensure all your necessary vaccines are up-to-date. Each country has a unique set of rules, so be sure you are in full compliance before you take off.

Stay Flexible

Choose a few potential destinations, rather than sticking with one. When you factor in the cost of accommodations, the trip to the country with the cheapest flight might turn out to be more expensive than you can afford. By keeping a flexible list of possible vacation spots, you can find the best combination of costs for your flight and your stay.

Just as with air fares, there are websites that allow you to compare prices and let you book for the best and cheapest hotel accommodations. Visit independent sites that offer customer reviews and ratings on the hotels you might be staying at. Factor in the distance from the points of attraction. Why spend your money on a trip to the beach if you’ll have to spend most of your time riding there in a dusty bus?

Make sure you have met your basic requirements before finalizing your reservations. If your budget is tight, consider staying in a hostel. Pack as light as possible and count on purchasing toiletries when you reach your destination. Don’t forget to bring clothes that suit the climate of the place to which you’re traveling. Check out online weather guides to monitor the climate.

To both save money and create a more enjoyable trip, stay away from the resorts and take in the local color. Partake of the culinary delights of our destination, visit local sites of interest. Leave some days of your trip wide open for exploring.

Factor in Time to Rest

Remember to leave yourself some down time. You’re on vacation, don’t forget. It’s okay to relax! Seeing the sights is great fun, but don’t spend your week abroad running yourself ragged. Take a more balanced approach.

Finally, and most importantly, enjoy your holiday! Don’t take a trip that will add to the stress in your life; take one that will relax and invigorate you! See the world, learn and experience new things. Make it the best vacation it can be!


Nina Montez works as a marketing blogger for Thunderbird Resorts and a contributing writer for a local travel website.

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