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Planning Your Best Vacation Responsibly

vacationMany of us may recount interesting tales of folks who choose vacation destinations in unusual fashions. For example, a person wearing a blindfold may throw a dart at a world map to choose a next vacation destination based on where it lands. Or a person may draw a travel destination out of a hat or start a social media poll to pick where to go. While indeed creative, these usual methods aren’t necessarily sound ideas as most travel requires planning and budgeting, plus the use of valuable vacation time. Though it’s worthwhile to broaden our travel horizons, it’s equally important to be a responsible traveler.

A major step in planning a vacation is knowing where one should or should not go, mainly for safety and security reasons and cost. That’s why throwing a dart and ending up with a random destination can be potentially dangerous. For example, one may hit Tajikistan where it is currently ill-advised to travel due to COVID-19 risks and terrorism. Or one may land on Antarctica which has some travel warnings due to extreme and unpredictable weather, a lack of emergency services for U.S. citizens, and COVID-19 risks related to limited medical availability. Should you choose an unconventional method to select your vacation destination, it’s a reasonable idea to check your destination to determine if it’s safe for travel. Travel.state.gov, updated daily, provides traveler information, a checklist, safety, security, and health messages, an interactive map of travel locations with advisories, and more. For travel overseas, click on international travel and narrow down the location to view updates of current conditions.

For most American couples and families, choosing a vacation destination is a fun thing to do. Since international travel can be pricey, selecting a destination within the United States may be preferable for those on a budget. Deciding whether to go someplace warm or hot based on what everyone likes to do, from swimming in the Atlantic to skiing in Montana, can deliver the vacation of a lifetime. Doing day trips from home for those on a tight budget can also create lasting memories. And with gas prices up, planning fun activities at home, such as a family picnic or movie night, can break up the monotony of day-to-day life. Even for those who can’t travel right now, it is enjoyable to create a bucket list of desirable places to visit, such as the dramatic Grand Canyon in Arizona, or the Grand Canal of Venice, Italy. It is equally entertaining to become educated on the history and culture of those and other great want-to-see travel destinations.

To save money, people are increasingly turning to the internet to look for travel deals. Some travelers turn to websites such as Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia for money-saving bundle deals. When doing so, it’s great to compare package deals vs. booking parts of the trip separately. In some cases, travelers may choose to secure their flight first, as it’s their largest expense, before booking accommodations. Being flexible about travel dates and destinations, from a summer trip to Disneyland, CA, to a fall cabin rental in the Pocono Mountains of PA, might help vacationers score the travel deal of the century. When making price comparisons, do not overlook small expenses that can add up, like the travel costs getting to and from the hotel, and food, attractions, and other related travel costs.

While a travel budget sounds like a killjoy, it is truly a friendly tool that sets parameters on vacation spending. People who overextend themselves on vacation often face a great deal of regret and may spend months trying to “pay back” their vacation debt. Planning financially for a trip can prevent a shortfall of money in the coming months. Again, going back to the principle of being sensible, the careful planning of a vacation and the consideration of cost can save a lot of aggravation and prevent vacationer’s remorse in the end. Perhaps it’s best to put the dart away and make thoughtful plans to embark on the best vacation of your future.

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