Saturday, September 29, 2012

Planning a vacation: reduce stress

There's no place like home, There's no place like home.  Well, Dorothy's vacation wasn't the relaxing one I know you are hoping for.  So how do you plan a vacation to reduce or eliminate stress without causing more stress?

First, and probably the most important is, what is your budget?  You can't have a relaxing vacation if you are worried about paying for it, right?

Okay, you have your budge in place.  Who is going with you?  Spouse for a couples get away?  Family vacation with children?  Friends get away?

What is relaxing for you?  The beach?  (My personal favorite) Skiing? Gambling?  Write down your top three ideal vacations and start your search.  Do you want all-inclusive where your meals and drinks are included?  Are you flying to your destination or driving?  How many days do you plan on being on vacation.  All this comes into play when planning a vacation and the more information you have the less stress it causes planning it.  

Are your vacation days set in stone or is there some wiggle room to them.  I will tell you this, the many vacations I have planned and gone on....I have received better deals by being flexible on my vacation days.

You know where you want to go.  Do want a package deal that includes airfare?  I always recommend that you look at both options.  There are many search engines out there that will compare prices for you.  I will tell you this...the longer they have been in business the more expensive it will be to use that site.  New "vacation" sites are offered better deals and they can pass those to you so check out the new ones.  (I found this great blog on Aruba if you are interested in going there).

If you are able to say "NO" Google "timeshare" deals.  These are usually, but not always, all-inclusive resorts and you can get some great deals if you agree to give them 90 minutes of your vacation time to hear about the "great timeshare" they have available to you.   I know, I know it never last only 90 minutes but remember you only committed to 90 minutes so no matter where you are in the presentation...when 90 minutes are up you leave.  You can get some great deals doing this but ONLY if you can find the great airline price.  Most timeshare deals are open dates so you can purchase the week, give them tentative dates (with the guarantee that you can change the dates at no cost).  

Time to check the airlines.  Yes, the internet is a wonderful tool.  BUT...I will be honest with you.  The best deals I have ever received was not on the was calling and talking to a live person.   For example:  Our last vacation to Mexico (told you I loved the beach) if I were to purchase the airline tickets on the internet they were $530.00 per person round trip, direct flight.  Not bad as the timeshare deal I got was $600.00 for both of us for the week (all-inclusive).  So total was about $1700.00 with taxes.  Not a bad deal.....UNTIL I called the airline that was offering this.  I spoke to a wonderful representative (Always ask them how they are doing...if they thank you stay with them.  If they don't, hang up and call back).  I explained what I wanted and said we are flexible in our dates by three days either way but we needed 8 days, 7 nights.  Ten minutes and...gonna love this.....later and after hearing "no, let me check something else" or "no, that isn't going to work" he comes back on and says.....How does $247.00 per person on these dates, flying direct, leaving at 8:30 am and returning at 4:00 PM sound to you.  WHAT!!!!  I couldn't book it fast enough.  Remember people have emotions, computers do not. So three phone calls; the first one was to the timeshare to buy the week, second one to the airline to book the flights and third was to the timeshare to confirm dates.  No stress because I asked the professional who knows his job better than any computer to help me.

I do STRONGLY encourage you to check out any hotel/resort BEFORE you book it.  I like  You have to remember when going to this site:  SOME PEOPLE WILL NEVER BE SATISFIED.  For example:  I called (notice I said CALLED) and told them we wanted to vacation in Cancun and gave her our budget.  Apple Vacations is an all inclusive, round trip vacation travel company.  Okay maybe we were being too "cheap" this trip because we couldn't get to Cancun on what we wanted to spend's the nice thing about talking to them: If we wanted to go to Cabo.....we could do it on our budget.  Done, booked and ready.  Didn't research our Resort because it was Secrets....5 star I'm there.  Went on and got nervous....horrible reviews.  Well, we were stuck.  Some people can never be satisfied....To date...the best resort we have ever stayed at.  Read the blog about that trip here.  I highly recommend contacting the people who wrote reviews about the resort/hotel.  They will tell you more in a personal email than they ever will on a website.

Vacations are a wonderful way to reduce stress as long as they do not cause more or additional stress going or planning one.  No matter where you want to go or what you want to do make your vacation the best.

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