How to Plan a Vacation

By Arden Lunay

As summer is approaching fast, it’s coming with the promise of three months of no school for students to hang out with friends, work to make money, and to travel. Planning a vacation is a good way to get your mind off of the occasionally monotonous life when you are stuck in Ohio, whether you end up actually following through on the plans or not.

WHERE?

First, you need to pick a destination. This can be the hardest part, considering the world is incredibly accessible. There are countless cities, states, and countries, all with their own sites and experiences to offer. Decide whether you want to drive or fly. If you want to drive, consider how long you are willing to spend in a car, and if there are multiple cities in the same area that would make a good road trip. If you want to fly, consider whether you want to stay in the United States, or if you want to leave the country. When planning international travels, be sure make sure you have a passport or visa, and account for the exchange rate.

HOW MUCH?

Once you have a city in mind, figure out how much it will cost to get there. If you are driving, there are calculators online for how much it will approximately cost for your specific car, or it is easy to do yourself if you know your miles per gallon. If you decide to fly, check websites like kiwi.com or skyscanner.com. Sites like this search all airlines and allow you to be flexible on which airports you use or what dates you fly, showing the cheapest days and airports on maps and calendars. Make sure you keep your browser in incognito mode to avoid sites raising prices in order to rush you into buying the tickets as soon as possible. Budget airlines are great options but lookout for hidden fees, such as for baggage, that can quickly add up to as much as other airlines.

WHAT TO DO?

After you have your tickets or route planned, look at activities to do! While you shouldn’t plan out every second of your vacation, it definitely helps to have an idea of a few activities you know you don’t want to miss. Add up prices for admission tickets and budget money for shopping if you know that is something you will do. Check sites like TripAdvisor or the city’s official page for up to date events going on. Make note of where the majority of things you want to do in the city are in order to figure out where you want to stay.

WHERE TO STAY?

With the increased popularity of AirBnb’s, finding cheap lodging is super easy. AirBnbs can also be overall better experience, as sometimes the host can recommend things to do or even provide breakfast. Traditional hotels are also good options, along with resorts or rental condos–depending on where you are staying–but can often be more expensive. A cheaper option, but less desirable for many, are hostels. These beds are great for solo travelers but not ideal for families or those uncomfortable sharing a room with multiple strangers.

FINAL TIP

When creating a budget, make sure to always generously round up, and include money for emergencies and more spending money than you anticipate. Food in cities popular with tourists is often much more expensive than the food in small towns, along with things like bottled water or essentials like sunscreen or bug spray. It’s always better to have more money than you need than to not have enough.

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