Thursday, 5 June 2014

How to Plan a Vacation

A vacation is something that everyone looks forward to, especially in the context of the 24x7x365 wired world that we function in.
A true vacation is one that takes you away from your cacophonic, unruly lifestyle to one of calm and quietude that helps one recharge body and mind with 'the basics of life'. Where the sounds of everyday life overpower every minute of your day, the 'sounds of silence' are even more deafening because they heighten your senses to every activity around you, like the gentle breeze among the trees, the rustle of dry leaves and the gentle lapping of water.
That's why most people call a vacation 'a once a year or so spiritual retreat'; and that's what it truly should be.
But holidays and vacations needs a lot of planning and forethought to take care of essential nitty-gritty's, the lack of which may hamper your holiday and make it a non-starter before it even starts.
There is no one set manual or instruction guidelines for holiday planning but the broad thoughts can be classified and customized to individual needs.
1. Research, Prepare and Pack
a. Plan a destination keeping in mind your and family's needs
b. Prepare a travel / stay budget to help with expenses depending upon mode of travel, accommodation, food expenses; should include contingency plan measures. 
Always look for comfortable stays that offer good rates on food; places that have activities for children offer great plans for families that include food and accommodation plus sightseeing trips round the destination. Keep an eye out for discounts, special offers and off-season times to get best value for money
c. Budget should also take into account sightseeing expenses like day trips to zoos and theme parks where entrance fees, photograph charges, cost of snacks and drinks etc. will make a considerable hole in the pocket
d. Pack bags suitable for carrying; carrying smaller bags distributed evenly among your group is ideal
e. Ask around the location to see if there is a medical practitioner or doctor on hand close by or a hospital that can handle emergencies
f. Pick out clothes suitable for weather, light-weight and drip-dry so they can be washed and used again to lessen luggage weight
g. Comfortable and suitable walking shoes that can double up as slip-ons
h. Toiletries, night clothes, undergarments, towels
2. Prepare for unexpected situations to make travel smoother
a. Extra set clothes in case plans change midway for whatever reason/s
b. An umbrella or lightweight rain coat
c. Foldable mat or mattress and inflatable pillows in case of breaking journey during road trips
3. Check what each family member would like to do on way to travel destination or at location so that time can be best allocated and utilized. Of course compromises are the need of the hour if everyone's plans can't fit in.
4. If you have a pet or pets at home, find a good pet-sitter ahead of travel schedule; best is to get them to visit you and spend time with your pet so that initial hiccups are overcome.
5. Lastly, there are basic essentials that one must take on a trip.
i. Medicine kit - apart from general medications, antiseptic creams and ointment, scissors, cotton roll, gauze, bandages, medicines for migraines, upset tummies, allergies etc. any specific medication for kids and elderly must be put in.
ii. A map of the area - in case you have extra time you can always give yourself a surprise by throwing in another location to visit provided it is within your expense budget and you are absolutely sure that no unpleasant surprises await you - e.g. bumpy and unsure terrain that can cause breakdowns leaving you in the middle of nowhere, lack of eating places and toilets along the way etc.
iii. Be sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast - unexpected rains or inclement weather can throw you plans out of gear. Ensure you have at least a couple of umbrellas or light-weight raincoats.
iv. Carry along a mat or foldable mattress with inflatable cushions or pillows to add the zest of a day picnic for the family; this simple way of relaxation bonds the family
v. Board games, pack of cards, favorite coloring or story book are some essentials when travelling with children; even adults can benefit from playing a game of cards or mind games that can bring a spurt of energy and enthusiasm to both body and mind.
The other most important aspect of travel especially to overseas destinations is Travel Insurance; it's wise to choose the right pack that provides safeguards against a wide range of risks. The 2014 Best Travel Insurance Plans review ranked CSA Travel Protection as the Best Travel Insurance provider based on points gauged from a wide parameter of factors categorized under Travel Benefits, Medical Benefits, Optional Benefits and Health & Support.

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