There’s a lot to consider when you’re planning a trip. Just like you probably did when researching Washington DC apartments to move into, planning a wedding or buying a home, you’ll want to take your time to think about them all.
Before booking that trip,ask yourself these questions to ensure it will not only be feasible, but enjoyable without breaking the bank.
Do I Have the Proper Documents?
If you’re thinking about traveling internationally, the first thing to consider is whether or not you have the proper documents, and if not, whether you’ll be able to get them in time for your trip. Keep in mind that your passport typically has to be valid for three to six months after your planned departure date from your destination country. Passports also have to have enough blank pages for both entry and exit immigration stamps.
Some countries require you to have medical coverage for the duration of your trip and if you plan to drive you might have to obtain an international driver’s license.
What is the Refund and Cancellation Policy?
To avoid a potentially big financial loss you’ll want to understand the refund/cancellation policy for everything from your flights and accommodation to rental cars and prepaid excursions. Read all of the fine print – for example, if you have to cancel will you be refunded or given a credit for future use?
With so much uncertainty these days from the pandemic to natural disasters, when there is a lot of money at stake, having a cancel-for-any-reason travel insurance policy might make sense. A survey from Bankrate.com found that more than half of U.S. adults had to cancel an activity that required an advance purchased due to COVID-19 and failed to get all their money back.
How Much Time Do I Have?
Before determining your destination you should probably figure out what the duration of your trip will be. The more time you have, the farther you can travel. You probably don’t want to hop on an eight-hour flight to another country, land exhausted and battling jet lag only to turn around in three days and do it all again. Knowing how long you’ll be gone will help you plan everything else too, like accommodation, and decide how much to bring with you on your trip. If it’s a short duration, you might be able to get away with a carry-on bag.
How Much Can I Afford?
Unless you have unlimited funds, you’ll want to think about how much you can afford and set a budget. While airfare to a Caribbean island might be doable, flying to the South Pacific could eat up all you’ve set aside for the trip. Take time to research the cost of airfare, hotels, dining out, and so on in the destinations you’re considering. Keep in mind that airfare is usually cheaper when booked well in advance and oftentimes, you’ll find better deals on accommodation too.
How Will I Get Around?
Your mode of transportation once you reach your destination is a consideration too. With car rentals shortages, the cost of renting a vehicle can be exorbitant especially if not booked well in advance. On the other hand, if you want to go exploring, it might be worth the extra cost to have the freedom to get wherever you want to go easily. Another option is to travel somewhere that’s easy to get around on foot, by public transportation or with readily available ride sharing options like Uber.