If you’re planning a short vacation, you’ll want to maximize the time—and the quality of the time—you spend enjoying your destination. We travel because we want to have new experiences, see inspiring sights, meet wonderful people, and explore cultures different from our own. Proper planning is your key to making sure that you get everything you want from your trip.

Let’s go over a few pointers!

Be Intentional About Your Destination

A lot of our readers are based in the US, meaning that our average vacation allotment is quite short compared to other countries—which makes it tempting to cram a lot into a short amount of time when we do get to travel. But focusing on quantity over quality can leave you reeling and frustrated, rather than relaxed and rejuvenated.

Well ahead of your vacation, and we’d even recommend doing this well ahead of choosing a destination, take a good look at your interests, preferences, budget, and available time. Mapping out where you can reasonably go and what your priorities are, based on your budget and time, can help you figure out your perfect destination and activities. For example, if you have three days off (or five, including a weekend), you’re a bit more constrained with where you can reasonably travel to and actually experience before turning around and heading home—say, if you lived in New York and dreamed of going to New Zealand, you may need to find an alternative destination for this particular trip purely because of how far away it is! But if you have five days off, for a total of nine including weekends…well then you’ll be able to see and do more without feeling like all you did on your vacation was sit on an airplane.

Embrace Technology for Your Travel Decisions

If you remember what it was like to travel with just a map and guidebook—no smartphone—then you know exactly how helpful technology can be in planning your vacation, and making things so much easier while you’re traveling. From really simple things like fillable packing checklists to more robust apps helping you find the right destination, transportation, accommodation, and more, a lot of guesswork has been eliminated from the travel planning process. And once you’ve set off on your vacation, realtime updates are a lifesaver: flight status, translation on the go, maps with route updates—all of that can be readily available on your phone, and can go a long way in helping you travel efficiently and stress-free, allowing you to maximize your vacation! In addition to the basics, your itinerary can be easy  when you use a trip planner app with local recommendations and other things of interest.

Make Efficient Transportation Choices

Transportation challenges during your trip can be the most inconvenient and frustrating part of it, and while not always avoidable, there are things you can do you minimize this annoyance. Flight delays happen, and you can’t do anything about them occurring, but you can manage what you do before and after—before your flight, check a tracker to make sure you’re still on schedule. If your flight has been delayed, look immediately at any cascading effect that’ll have on checkpoints along your journey—do you have a connecting flight? Do you need to call your hotel to let them know you’ll be checking in late?

Apart from planning your flight, getting to and from the airport is honestly an overlooked detail that a lot of vacationers save for the last minute. The time you spend commuting to and from airports can be stressful, especially when transport choices are limited. Maybe you have a car but don’t want to leave it in airport parking for a week. Or maybe you live in a city and don’t even have a car, and the public transportation in your case isn’t super convenient. In any case, you may want to try an airport car service, which is designed to help cut down your stress of getting to and from the airport. They focus on punctuality, comfort, and reliability, particularly when you have to navigate unfamiliar places. Plus, we recommend using a trusted and regulated service to get you where you need to go—taxi scams are common in touristy areas, so finding a car service can help you save money and have peace of mind.

Pack Smartly

Packing is an art, and until you get it right, you risk struggling with overflowing luggage. You want to be comfortable and have all your essentials during your vacation, and we’re not saying that you need to bring only the basics! But being mindful of what you need versus what you’ll actually use on your travels, and what makes the most sense for your destination, will go a long way toward ensuring you don’t overpack or bring things along that are totally unnecessary. A few basic tips:

  • Check the weather for your destination—if it’s sunny with no chance of rain, you probably don’t need a raincoat or umbrella
  • Consider what you can wear multiple times throughout your trip (even if it’s tempting to wear something different every day)
  • Look for compact, lightweight travel versions of things like toiletries, makeup, and so on
  • Use a suitcase or other bag with compartments that allow you to easily organize your belongings

The last thing you want on your travels is to move around with heavy luggage in tow—and you definitely don’t want to spend more time than necessary searching for something in a disorganized bag, or even forgetting something important. People who ignore smart packing report having increased stress levels and anxiety even before arriving at the destination. Packing right can help you avoid this and contribute to a stress-free trip!

Traveling is a fantastic way to make unforgettable memories and unwind from your busy schedule—and making sure that you plan properly will help you enjoy every bit of your vacation, no matter how long you’re able to stay in your destination!

What are your tips for maximizing your vacation? Share your advice and stories with the Frayed Passport community!

Featured image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash 

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