If you have decided that this is the year to book somewhere extra special for your vacation and you want to have some memories that will last a lifetime then making the right destination choice is essential.
In our fast-paced lives, vacation time has never been more precious, and you definitely don’t want to make any mistakes with your hard-earned money and time. We give you our top travel tips to ensure that you not only choose the best destination and accommodation but tips to also ensure that the trip goes as smoothly as it possibly can.
- The most important first step is that you choose somewhere that is perfect for you. Begin with making a list of all the things that are important to you and the other travellers in your group. Think about what your dream vacation looks like and write your thoughts down on paper.
- The next step is to talk to a travel consultant. It is very important that you qualify your travel consultant to ensure that they are in fact experts on what they are talking about. Ask them leading questions to find out just how good their knowledge is. A person of authority will have visited the destination many times and know it like the back of their hand. Ask them have they visited the hotels or villas? What is there to do at the destination? When is the rainy season? Is there much construction? What is the beach like? Let’s face it, the last thing you want is to go on a sun holiday in the rainy season and find out the beach that looks beautiful in the pictures is in fact almost entirely a reef!
- Once you have found the expert you trust, ensure they are working for you to match your dreams to the properties they are selecting and suggesting. Say for example you have decided on Barbados, make sure they are giving you all the options possible that match your vision.
- It is always important that you get the best value possible no matter what your budget so make sure that the company you are dealing with offers you the Best Rate Guarantee. If you are booking a very high-end villa or Hotel, a lot of companies will include VIP extras such as fast track through the airport, welcome champagne, limo transfers so make sure to also look out for that. These are the things that can greatly enhance your trip and ensure your holiday goes as smoothly as possible.
- Lastly, on your choice of company, all the good travel companies will include complimentary in-house concierge service. You should not have to pay for this when you are already paying a lot of money so check this detail first.
- Based on the above, you have hopefully made the perfect choice for you and your loved ones, so the next most important choices are to select the right travel insurance. You want to ensure that the company covers you well in the event of a Force Majeure or act of god and that you are well covered in case you cannot travel. This is one place to read the small print. For example, will they cover you for lost or delayed luggage and how much do you receive if that happens?
- At this point, check that your passport is in date and that it will continue to be in date for at least 6 months after your return home date. This is something many countries insist upon.
- Now is the time to check if you need any vaccinations. The best person to ask is your local doctor as they should have a record of all your previous ones.
- A very important question to ask your travel expert if you need a visa. There is nothing worse than arriving at a destination and being asked for a visa when you don’t have one. You will most likely be allowed in but it may take many hours to resolve.
- Your vacation has arrived, and now it is time to pack! Most vacationers bring way too much stuff with them. My best tip is to select one outfit for each day. Start with shoes. These are the bulkiest items and take up the most space and weight. Choose one or two pairs and make sure everything you are bringing works with them. Then think about every day and what you might wear. Try and mix and match as much as possible. Decant your cosmetics into small bottles as these are also very bulky items.
- Buy one of the multi-purpose adaptors and chargers. They work in all countries and also allow you to charge multiple devices such as your phone, computer, watch, camera and iPad all the one time.
- Think carefully about your hand luggage. This can make a huge difference with regards to how much you enjoy the flight or not. Bring a pillow, a warm wrap, a great book, an iPad filled with your favourite movies and other things that will keep you totally entertained for the duration of the flight. Enjoy the journey and not just the destination!
- Never put your full address on our luggage labels as it alerts thieves to the fact that you are not at home. The best advice here is to just put your postal code or your telephone number on the label.
- Likewise, don’t put up all over social media that you are about to board a plane unless you have family or friends staying at your home whilst you are This is also a great giveaway that you are not at home.
- If you are crossing multiple time zones and you suffer from jet lag, one of the best pieces of advice I have come across is to run a very hot bath when you first arrive. It seems to help your body reset to the new time zone.
- The other great jet lag helper is to get to your destination before the sun goes down and spend at least 30 minutes outside. It really helps greatly.
- The last point on jet lag avoidance is to put your watch on the local time of where you are travelling to as soon as you get on board the plane. When you get to the destination, don’t keep thinking about what time is it back home. Psychologically this is really detrimental to adapting to the new time zone.
- Take a good travel guide with you so that you can read about all the top attractions at the destination. If your vacation is culturally orientated, organizing a guide for the first day or two can make a huge difference and really help you to get orientated. A good guide will bring a destination to life and should help to add a lot of colour to your trip.
- When you first arrive at your hotel or villa, put all your valuables in the safe provided. Most places are pretty safe, but it is always good to be careful.
- Lastly and the most important tip is to relax, be present and enjoy every second of your vacation with your family and loved ones. You deserve your rest and you have earned.
Author Alexandra Baradi is the owner and CEO of Exceptional Villas who are one of the worlds most trusted villa vacation rental companies. They only feature personally inspected, and 100 per cent vetted villas. Their top markets include Barbados, Turks and Caicos, Cayman Islands, St Barts, Thailand, Greece, Antigua, Italy and Greece.
Image Credits: Luxury Holiday from AnnaTamila/Shutterstock