Getting the Most Out of Any Trip

As a former travel agent, I’m alwaysgoing to tell you that the best vacations start when you visit a travel office. Instead of spending your time making reservations and planning itineraries, let someone else worry about all the details. This is especially good when you’re going overseas—you’ll always have someone to call for help if something doesn’t go right.

Before you talk to your local travel agent, there are some things to consider. Figure out who you’re going with on this trip. Make a realistic determination regarding your budget for your holiday, and figure out how many days you want your trip to be. You should also have an idea of what type of vacation you want. How far are you willing to go: do you want to fly, take a train, or drive? What sort of things are you looking for when you’re away? Something busy and fun? Sporty? Relaxing? Full of culture? A culinary extravaganza? Figuring out simple questions like these will help the travel agent narrow down potential destinations to find a trip that’s perfect for you.

Once you’ve got a destination in mind, tell the agent any preferences you have for things like plane tickets or hotels before they are booked. For example, if you want an aisle seat or need a room with a refrigerator. Ask for recommendations on hotels and look online or ask the agent to show you pictures of the rooms. Be honest if it isn’t what you’re looking for.

After your arrangements are made, do some research on your destination. Your travel agent will let you know if you need a passport/visa/shots or anything like that, but there are other things to consider. If you’re going overseas, you might want to buy a translation app or learn some important phrases. You might need outlet adapters or weather gear that you don’t typically need like snow boots or SPF clothing.

The next thing is packing for your trip. I always recommend bringing tops and bottoms that coordinate with more than one thing to give yourself options. Pack as little as you can to get through your trip—luggage can be expensive to bring on a plane and why lug things you don’t need everywhere with you? I find it’s very helpful to make a checklist so that I have everything I need.

Lastly, and this is a hard one, when you’re on your trip, try to relax. While I always encourage people to try new things, who you are is not going to change. If going to museums makes you want to scream, don’t spend your whole trip staring at paintings just because you’re there. Set limits on what you’re going to do and how long you’re willing to do it each day. Realistic expectations are the key to actually enjoying your trip. Be sure to drink plenty of water and schedule meals and rest breaks into your day so that it isn’t too overwhelming.

And, if you run into any trouble, call your travel agent! It’s our job to make sure you have the best vacation possible.