Vacation Checklist Plan Your Dream Trip Now

September 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Top Vacation Destinations

Are you tired of the cold and snow?

Do you feel the need to get away…and soon?

Have your children been to your very favorite places?

You need a vacation. And the time to plan it is now!

Dreaming of a fabulous vacation and actually pulling one off are two different things. As a modern professional, you are probably an expert at scheduling, time management and project coordination in your career.

These are the same skills you need to use when it comes time to plan your dream vacation.

And the first tool you need is a vacation checklist.

A vacation checklist will get you on top of your planning immediately and keep you there right up until the day you leave on your trip. A vacation checklist will ensure

– you don’t forget anything and take exactly what you need,

– and you actually pull off the trip of your dreams.

Your vacation checklist doesn’t need to be fancy. Just thorough. You can make one yourself or find a free one by looking in the resource box following this article. Whatever checklist you use, you’ll need to customize it for your own use, of course. And if you start now, customizing your entire trip will be easy.

Using your vacation checklist to keep track of your notes, start out by vacation dreaming.

– Where do you want to go?

This is easily decided by determining what type of vacation you’re in the mood for. If you’re tired of the cold, you’ll want warm…and maybe beaches. If you need rest and recreation, you’ll look for places that can pamper you and evaporate your stress. If you want to show your kids the world, you’ll look for family-friendly and educational adventures.

– How long a trip will this be?

Mark down on your checklist the length of your vacation. Are you working around a school schedule? How many vacation days are you willing to trade for your dream vacation? Would you rather take one long vacation or several long weekend jaunts? Factor in travel days…that will tell you whether you want to drive or fly. And that will affect your next item…

– What’s your travel budget?

This part of vacation planning needn’t be a downer. By planning ahead, you can maximize your travel monies through booking the least expensive travel and hotel arrangements. Do a little upfront research and write down on your vacation checklist how much your dream vacation will cost. Divide that amount into equal monthly payments between now and your travel dates. Can you make that happen? Do you have other monies set aside you can allocate for your trip? Be wary of just putting your trip on credit. No matter how wonderful your dream vacation is, paying for it after the fact can tarnish its memories.

– What are your expectations?

We’ve all been on vacations that we had high hopes for but didn’t turn out as we envisioned. Sure, stuff happens, but you can put the odds on your side that your vacation will be what you dream of by planning as much detail as possible ahead of time. It also helps to ask yourself the simple but powerful questions of

– am I wanting to make lifetime memories with this vacation?

– am I wanting to cram in as many activities as possible on this vacation?

– are my vacation wants in conflict with my vacation realities? For example, do I want to take my spouse on a romantic getaway but I have five children under the age of ten and they must accompany us?

Bottom line…when it comes to vacations, planning is king and your vacation checklist is queen. Plan your dream trip, make sure your expectations are in line, keep track of everything on your checklist, and before you know it, you’ll be THERE…exactly where you want, with the people you want, doing what you want. Enjoying the vacation you dreamed of.

Plan Your Safe Hiking Vacation

July 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Top Vacation Destinations

Most of the outdoor survival situations that occur can be prevented with a little preparation and planning. A survival situation is something that can happen to anyone, regardless of his or her experience or expertise in hiking. Survival situations don’t always arise because someone is inexperienced or reckless. If you want to have the best time you can on your hiking vacation, while keeping yourself and your family as safe as possible, there certain steps you can take.

First and most important, be sure to leave a travel plan with someone at home. A travel plan lists the possible locations you expect to cover while on your hiking vacation. It does not have to be a detailed list. You can use a map and just mark the spots on it where you plan to be. If you leave a travel plan, then searchers will have an idea of where to look for you if you become lost.

Second, always carry a few basic items with you in case you have to spend the night on the trail. Take a garbage bag, a lighter, a whistle, a pocketknife, and a water bottle. This is the minimum number of essential items you should bring with you whether you are hiking for a day or for a week or longer. These items address the basic needs from shelter to water and heat. Depending on your outdoor activity, level of skill, and the climate you plan to hike in, you may need to carry more extensive equipment.

Third, be sure to pack something you can turn into a shelter quickly. A garbage bag is an example of such an item. It can be easily made into a shelter. Just cut a slit in the middle of the closed end and pull it over your head. This is a great solution to the problem, and a bag is easy to pack in a pocket. It only costs a few pennies, and it may save your life. Hypothermia can occur even in 50-degree weather, so it is critical that you have a way to make a quick shelter should the need arise.

Always carry a wool cap in your vehicle and your daypack. Eighty percent of your body heat leaves you if your head is exposed. You must always protect your head when you are hiking. If you don’t have a cap, use a sock or a bandanna. You can wear anything on your head as long as it keeps your head warm.

Finally, make a habit of carrying at least three fire-making resources with you. Having a lighter is always a good idea, but having only one source of fire making while hiking is inadequate. Lighters may get wet, and then they won’t light anymore. Also carry a spark rod and windproof matches in your pocket or pack. You are like to make a fire in rainy or otherwise bad weather. While this can be tricky, it can be done. Just collect dead twigs from evergreens like pines, firs, or spruces. These trees have a lot of resin so they will catch fire faster than other types of wood.

Plan Your Disneyland Vacation

July 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Top Vacation Destinations

For a hug number of people, planning a Disneyland Vacation may be a lot of fun, for some others, however, this job could be such a headache. Thus, before starting planning your Disneyland vacation, don’t forget to determine if you want to plan it yourself, or let someone professional and experienced decide it for you!

In case that you don’t want to determine the plan by yourself, here are a few alternative plans you can have. Certainly, you can arrange a travel agent to do it all for you, or it would be even better if you choose to have the Disney Vacation Planning service plan the trip for you. If so, you can just let the Disney Vacation Planning service do everything for you, concerning every aspect of your trip. All you need to do when you get there, just to follow your Itinerary.

But, if you decide to have fun planning your Disneyland vacation on your own, there are a few things you need to concern when planning your trip. First of all, before you can decide the activities you will be doing at Disneyland, you must decide which dates you want to go. This is because, the park offer the customer different activities at different period of the year where different theme and entertainment are offered.

One you know the date you will be going, the next thing to do is to determine the activities you will be doing on that specific dates. Once you have already arranged your trip and reserved a hotel, there are several things you need to think about.

One thing you need to consider and arrange is food because Disneyland is such a popular place, thus reservation for popular restaurant are highly recommended. And the reservation could be much done in advance-before you leave home.

While determine which attractions at Disneyland you want to go, it is a smart way to use a Disneyland Map to guide you and make things much easy. For example, you can schedule your time and choose the attractions which are located near each other, as this allows you to see and do things as many as possible, as much as walking and having some more travel time.

Don’t forget to think about your budget. Arranging your trip through travel agents or through the Disneyland Vacation Planning service would benefit you more because you will be offered better deals and this will help you save money, either on your hotel or food. And if you have kids, joining the trip with you, keep their priorities in mind. However, it seems to be that they won’t care where to sleep and what to eat, the more interesting for them is what they will ‘see’ and ‘do’!

Planning A Trip How To Plan For The Unexpected

June 28, 2013 by  
Filed under Travel information

Have you ever taken a trip where it seemed that everything went wrong? What should have been a care free, relaxing vacation or an efficient business trip quickly turns into a stress-filled nightmare. No one likes to dwell on the negative, but the old saying “hope for the best, and plan for the worst” has a lot of truth to it. Many things can go wrong and planning ahead will help you avoid unwanted drama, stress and hassles. Travel delays or accidents, hidden fees and costs, lost or delayed luggage, medical or dental emergencies, travel accidents, rental car damage, potential terrorist attack alerts, emergency assistance problems, identity theft and more are common problems that can, and most likely, will occur on some occasion during trip taking. In hindsight could most of the hassles on that trip have been prevented or made more bearable by planning for the unexpected? Here are some tips for doing just that.

1. Start planning your trip early. Four to six weeks before you depart is not too early to start planning. If you are purchasing a comprehensive or all-inclusive package, make sure you research the agency you are dealing with. Some offer packages that guarantee no surprise up-charges or add-ons. If you don’t understand their policies or package rates, make them explain it to you until you do understand it. Asking the right questions beforehand can eliminate disappointment over unrealized expectations. Know what you are getting for your money. Never assume that what you think you are hearing is factual until it is fully explained and you see it guaranteed in writing. If you are planning a business trip on short notice, use an agency that you trust, or one that you consider reputable. If short notice trips are normal for you, or if you know that travel could be required on short notice due to an emergency situation, keep a bag packed in your closet with the things you consider basic necessities. Include at least one complete change of clothes, and necessary toiletries. Also include a small amount of your regular medication, if applicable, and important account numbers and phone numbers. If packing space is at a premium, purchase sample size toiletries to keep in your “short notice” bag. Make sure it is of carry-on size for airline travel. This will take some stress off in the event that plans must be made quickly. If your luggage is lost or delayed, you will be glad you took the time to pack your carry-on bag in this manner.

2. Research your trip thoroughly. The Internet is a good choice for doing this. To get the best deals and the best accommodations to suit your preferences, there is no substitute for being informed and fully aware of what is available. In the information age, there are huge amounts of travel information available on the World Wide Web. Tickets, and even permits, in some cases, can be printed on your home computer printer from the Internet. Rental car reservations, hotel reservations are made easy for convenient prices and quality comparisons on-line.

3. Plan for the unexpected: Troubles can occur when you least anticipate them, so take along some peace of mind and protect your trip investment by purchasing travel insurance. Make sure the travel insurance you purchase covers job loss or transfers, uninhabitable accommodations, emergency assistance, travel accidents, delays, lost or delayed luggage, weather-affected cancellation, medical and dental expenses, terrorism, and identity theft. In addition, plans should offer flexible coverage periods for pre-existing medical conditions. Choose a company that answers all calls with a live person, not an automated attendant. Confirm all your purchases and reservations at a later time either on the Web or by phone to ensure no glitches have occurred.

4. Make sure you will have all the arrangements and paperwork you’ll need- airline tickets, passports, visas, maps, rental car and hotel reservations, permits as well as health and travel insurance documentation. Some travel insurance companies like http://www.csatravelprotection.com provide a confirmation letter and “traveler hotline cards” to policy holders with critical phone numbers and contact information. Carry enough cash for emergencies, phone calls or unexpected fees. Don’t carry large amounts of cash. Traveler’s checks and credit cards are a better alternative. Make a list of all the pertinent numbers of your credit card, driver’s license, visas, passport, ticket, reservation, prescriptions and any other important documentation. Include any emergency phone numbers to call if any of these items are lost or stolen. Put a copy of this list in your carry-on, and carry the other one on your person. Have someone you trust watch your home or apartment, or house-sit while you are away. Think about the things that need to be done in your absence- watching and feeding your pets, watering your plants, etc. If you don’t have a house/pet-sitter, have a light left on inside your residence so it would appear that someone is home at night. If you have someone checking up on things periodically, have them rotate the lighting and retrieve your mail and your newspapers. Another option to this is to have your newspaper and mail delivery temporarily suspended. You can also put your lighting on inexpensive timers, which can closely imitate your normal lighting routines.

5. Write out an itinerary- before you head out the door, give someone you know and trust a written copy of your trip plans. This should include: Your estimated time of departure, mode of transportation (flight numbers and/or make, model and license plate numbers), the names, addresses and phone numbers (especially cell phone numbers) of all group members traveling, any relevant medical conditions that may affect you or your travelling companions. Also include your travel insurance policy names, numbers and beneficiary information, your hotels’ phone number and address and expected time of arrival, time of return, and all pertinent return travel information. Make arrangements to contact the person holding your itinerary at specific intervals during the trip, and then again when your trip is over. Agree with your contact person on a procedure for contacting the authorities if you do not report in by a certain time. This can be especially important when traveling in high-risk areas of the world, or even anywhere outside the United States. In some cases, if you have a pet and choose to hire a reputable pet-sitter or house-sitter, this can be your contact person.

In short, the quality of your trip depends largely on proper planning for the unexpected. Most of us like to think that things will come off without a hitch, but the truth is that even with the best of planning, things can, and will go wrong from time to time. Planning early, thorough research, double checking arrangements, coverage and documentation, and writing out an itinerary may not completely dispel unexpected problems, but it does produce a peace of mind and assurance knowing that there is a plan in place to deal with the unexpected if it does come about.

Plan Your Return Before You Go

June 23, 2013 by  
Filed under Travel information

Return Transportation

You should confirm your return reservation at least twice, and at least 72 hours before your scheduled departure. Whenever possible, obtain a written confirmation. If you confirm your return reservation by phone, record the time, day, and the name of the agent who took your call. If your name does not appear on the reservations list, you have no recourse and may find yourself stranded.

Departure Tax

Some countries levy an airport departure tax on travelers, which can be as high as $50. Please ask the airline or a travel agent about this tax. Make certain to have enough money at the end of your trip so that you will be able to get on the plane.

Immigration and Customs

If a passport was required for your trip, have it ready when you go through Immigration and Customs. If you took other documents with you, such as an International Certificate of Vaccination, a medical letter, or a Customs certificate of registration for foreign-made personal articles, have them ready, also. Have your receipts handy, in case you need to support your customs declaration. When returning to the United States by car from Mexico or Canada, have your certificate of vehicle registration available. It is a good idea to pack your baggage in a way to make inspection easier. For example, pack the articles you acquired abroad separately, if possible.
Articles acquired abroad and brought back with you are subject to duty and Internal Revenue tax. U.S. Customs currently allows each U.S. citizen to bring back $400 worth of merchandise duty free, provided the traveler has been outside the United States for at least 48 hours, has not already used this exemption within the preceding 30 day period, and provided the traveler can present the purchases upon his or her arrival at the port of entry. The next $1,000 worth of items brought back for personal use or gifts are subject to duty at a flat 10% rate. (Your duty-free exemption may include 100 cigars, 200 cigarettes, and one liter of wine, beer or liquor.) Make sure you check for the latest information as this changes periodically.

There are two groups of destinations from which the duty-free exemption is higher. These are a group of 24 countries and dependencies in the Caribbean and Central America from which the exemption is $600, and a group of U.S. insular possessions (the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam), from which the exemption is $1,200.

Ensure you declare all that you purchased or received as gifts overseas. If you are selected to have your baggage checked upon arrival, cooperate with the U.S. Customs agent and, unless you have something to hide, this should only take a few minutes. If you are caught with undeclared items, be prepared to pay stiff penalties.

Plan ahead – save time and money.

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