How to Plan a Holiday: 7 Easy Tips For Your Perfect Getaway

Planning a vacation can seem overwhelming, but with some expert tips and tricks, it can be stress-free and enjoyable.

Simeon Onaji
Simeon Onaji

Simeon is a Senior Editor at Tozome, an amateur wine connoisseur, and a mediocre Tennis player.

When it comes to planning a holiday, there are typically two types of people: those who enjoy meticulously planning every detail of their trip, and those who would rather go with the flow or avoid planning altogether.

Your planning style may depend on various factors such as previous experiences. Regardless of your preference, organizing a vacation can be challenging due to the potential obstacles that could derail your dream trip.

You work hard and deserve a break. So, to make life easier for you, we have compiled a mini checklist of essential things to consider when planning a vacation.

1. Make sure you have enough money

Man holding wallet with credit cards and cash

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Before you start your holiday planning, it’s important to assess your finances. While the idea of jetting off to a sun-drenched paradise may seem enticing, it is essential to have adequate funds to back it up.

You also need to take into account your budget when selecting holiday destinations – it may be necessary to postpone that round-the-world trip until you have saved enough.

Nevertheless, there are several ways to guarantee your bank account is healthy enough to shoulder the weight of a break. Opting for a destination that fits your budget is an excellent start.

For instance, countries like Thailand and Laos offer relatively cheap travel packages, with the option of a luxurious hotel equipped with a pool and other facilities starting from as low as $20 per night.

If you’re dead set on visiting more expensive countries like the UK and Spain, consider shortening your trip and take advantage of the free attractions available at these destinations. Alternatively, consider a staycation or even a domestic road trip to cut down on costs and make your money stretch further.

Whatever method you decide to employ, make sure you have enough cash in your coffers to cover the initial travel and booking costs, as well as enough to actually enjoy yourself once you’re there.

Also Read:  10 UK Tourism Attractions That Are Free To Visit

2. Choose your destination

travel destination, pin on the map

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After you’ve established your budget and saved up enough funds, it’s time to choose a destination for your vacation. While it may seem tempting to select a random location, you may regret this decision later on. Instead, have a think about the places you’ve always dreamed of visiting and use that to narrow down your ideal vacation spot.

Are you genuinely interested in visiting California, or is it a fleeting interest? It’s important to pick wisely since this may be your sole holiday for the year, if not longer.

Discuss with your loved ones and see if there’s a place they have been eyeing for some time. Chances are there’ll be a compromise somewhere that will make all of you happy. If you’re still unsure, here are some questions to help you decide:

What kind of trip do you like to plan?

Holi celebration in India

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Think about your favorite things to do or travel experiences you’ve had in the past. Do you love exploring cities, admiring the architecture, and sampling local cuisine? Or do you prefer relaxing on a beach and going on outdoor adventures?

Or maybe you want to try something completely new? Some countries might be able to accommodate more than one type of trip, while others specialize in just one or two. Your eventual destination should reflect your interests and travel style. For example:

  • Adventure – If you’re looking for action and an adrenaline rush, opt for adventure-focused countries that have plenty of outdoor activities to take part in, like hiking, mountain biking, or kayaking. Think of countries such as Peru and New Zealand, but anywhere in Asia will have plenty of options to choose from as well.
  • Relaxation – picturing yourself lying on a sand-laden beach, swinging in a hammock, and watching the sunset whilst sipping on coconuts under the breezy palm trees? Then consider countries known for their serene scenery and picture-perfect beaches like Hawaii, Greece, and Thailand.

Two people paddle a kayak on the sea

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  • Culture – If learning about new cultures, customs, and religions is something you are passionate about, consider exploring an old city like Jerusalem with its storied history dating back thousands of years, or a modern metropolis like Tokyo, both of which will have plenty to offer in the way of culture and sightseeing. Understanding a country’s culture and traditions will make your trip much more meaningful.
  • Food – If you’re a foodie and enjoy sampling new delights, then you’ll have plenty of options to choose from! From Mexican street tacos to seafood paella in Spain, there’s a world of delicious dishes to try. Yum!
  • Transport – many countries are famous specifically for beautiful journeys. For example, the Trans-Siberian Railway, which runs through the depths of Russia and Mongolia, the well-renowned train journey from Kandy to Ella in Sri Lanka, the Great Ocean Road in Australia, and the Amalfi Coast drive in Italy.

Use Instagram and Pinterest for Inspiration

Instagram travel photos

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Instagram and Pinterest are great ways of finding blogs and photo inspiration for your trip. Search for your destination using the search tab or scour the hashtags for recent photos from other travelers.

This can be a great way to come up with ideas for places to go, and identify local attractions you hadn’t considered before. You can also search for travel bloggers and accounts with similar interests to yours.

Often, they will have traveled to the same destination that you wish to visit and can, therefore, provide tips and advice. Tripadvisor and destination-specific Facebook Groups are great ways to get insider tips and advice as well, from locals and people that have previously been to the country.

Sites like Viator and Get Your Guide are also a great source of inspiration on activities to do in your chosen destination, you can also  book tours, attractions and entry tickets directly on these two platforms ahead of your trip.

3. What time of the year are you traveling?

Heavy rain in Oharaimachi, Ise, Japan

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Chances are you have a date in mind for your getaway, or you may even be restricted by when you can take time off work. It’s important to remember that many places experience different climates and temperatures throughout the year.

If you’re looking for a sunny beach vacation, make sure to go in the summer months when it will be warm enough to swim in the sea. On the other hand, if you’re planning a ski trip then winter is definitely the best time of year to visit the Alps. As part of your vocation planning:

  • Research high-season and low-season dates in the countries on your shortlist, as this could affect the availability and cost of flights and accommodation.
  • Research weather patterns. For instance, Japan has a rainy season that could affect your holiday plans, while the Caribbean is subject to hurricanes from June through to November most years.
  • Think about why you are visiting the country. If you want to catch the Diwali festival in India,  for instance, then make sure you plan your trip around the dates of this event.

Also Read:  Diwali is Celebrated Worldwide

Make your flight work for you

A young woman at an airport

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If you’re traveling far, there’s likely to be a significant time difference from your home country, It’s a good idea to book your flight on a day and time that reflect this.

Suppose you have booked a 7-day holiday, it’s not ideal to waste the first day due to a long-haul flight that lands at an inconvenient time, like 3 am in Spain. Try to plan your flight times around your travel itinerary to ensure it complements your intended holiday plans.

For instance, if you have a full day of high-intensity activities or lots of walking scheduled for your first day in Beijing, avoid booking an early flight from Heathrow since you may be too jet-lagged and tired from the long flight to enjoy the experience. Remember that your flight is just a means to an end, and your travel should fit around with your holiday experience.

What are the Visa requirements?

UK visa and immigration application formPhoto: MD_Photography/Shutterstock

Before booking your flight, it’s important to research any visa requirements that may be applicable to your chosen destination. Different countries have different Visa rules, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the relevant laws for your destination.

You may also need to provide evidence of accommodation or travel insurance in order to apply for a Visa. The required documents can vary, so be sure to check the official website of your chosen country’s embassy or consulate in advance.

Easily check your visa requirements here

4. Plan Your Itinerary

Travel Itinerary - Vacation plan

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Now that you have completed your research, it’s time to create a day-to-day itinerary to ensure that you have a well-planned holiday. Many Tozome writers have expressed regret for not being able to do everything they wanted to during their vacation. This issue can be prevented by creating an itinerary that structures where you want to go and what activities you engage in at each stage of your trip.

Having a schedule will not only provide peace of mind but also prevent you from spending your time lounging in your hotel room. Remember why you chose to take a holiday in the first place; it won’t be worth it if you end up substituting your daily life with a similar routine on vacation.

With that being said, start by pinning the locations from your research on Google Maps so you can easily identify what attractions are in close proximity to each other, and plan your route accordingly. Don’t forget to also factor in any flight times, visa requirements, and other logistics like check-in times.

You can also use apps like TripIt and Wanderlog to create an itinerary based on your research and any bookings you’ve made. These apps will also show you where the main attractions and landmarks are in the city, as well as suggested restaurants and nearby things to do.

When putting your vacation plan together, keep an eye on the following things:

How to Plan a Holiday - Google maps - Vacation plan

  • Distance – Use Google Maps to research distances between locations so you don’t spend too long traveling and not enough time seeing the sights. This will also help you decide how many tourist attractions you can realistically see each day.
  • Opening hours – Some places, such as museums and galleries, may have set opening hours. Make sure to check the official website of each place you plan to visit, to ensure it’s open for your intended visit date.
  • Relaxation – Travelling continuously is tiring, so remember to build in some relaxing downtime away from the tourist attractions and busy city centers into your vacation plan. You can take a leisurely stroll around a park or visit a quiet beach.
  • Transport – Where possible, it is helpful to book your transport in advance. This could be trains, buses, or ferries. Not only will you save money with pre-booked tickets, but it also negates the need to panic-book when you’re running low on time. We book our transport online here.

Don’t be afraid to deviate

Couples on country road looking for directions on map - Vacation plan

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It’s true that no trip ever goes exactly as planned, even with an itinerary. So, don’t be anxious about making changes to it, especially if you come across something that you must try.

For instance, if your itinerary doesn’t include visiting the local markets, but you come across one during your travel or you stumble upon an appetizing food, why not spend some time exploring instead of the planned activity?

Or if you happen upon a local festival or celebration that wasn’t part of your plan, embracing the moment may leave you grateful later on for not sticking rigidly to your checklist.

After all, holidays should be moments to cherish, and you’ll likely have more stories to tell when you allow yourself to go with the flow every once in a while.

5. Booking your trip

Traveler booking his holiday online

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It is that exciting time; you are ready to book your trip now that you have a better understanding of what you’re looking for, and when the best time to travel is.

Booking flights or trains

Book flights using search engines like Skyscanner or Kiwi to find the cheapest flight deals with the least amount of layovers. It’s also worth comparing the price directly with the airline as they may be offering promotions not shown on flight search engines, which could make your flight cost considerably lower.

Stopovers are also a great way to make your flight cheaper, while also giving you the opportunity to explore another city. For example, if you’re flying from London to Singapore, try a stopover in Dubai. Kiwi allows you to add in stopovers to see if that increase or decreases your price.

A train in Cinque Terre, Italy

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Transportation resources:

Booking Accommodation

Use your itinerary to decide where you need to book accommodation and do some quick research to find out the best area to stay in the city. For example, you might want to find accommodation close to the beach if plan on spending a good portion of your time in the water or sunbathing, or a hotel in the city center to be near tourist sights and attractions. Use sites like to find excellent deals and safe reviews.

6. Plan out your arrival

Currency exchange in South Korea

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Arriving at your destination after a long flight or train ride can be daunting if you’re not sure where you’re going. When planning a vacation make sure to:

  • Buy yourself a local sim card so you can use Google Maps to navigate your way around, request taxi services like Uber, or download a translation app. If you would much rather use a sim card that operates in multiple countries, then purchase Drimsim instead ahead of your travel. Drimsim is a universal sim card that works in over 190 countries and offers stable communication, fast internet, and competitive pricing that in many cases is cheaper than those of local operators.
  • Pre-plan how you will get to your accommodation from the airport or station, and make sure you have an emergency contact number in case you get lost. For example, research in advance how much it costs to take a taxi from the airport or work out which metro or underground line you’ll need to take. Make sure you have the address of your accommodation written down as well.
  • Download a map of your first destination on Google Maps, so you can pinpoint all the places you want to visit in advance even if you have no internet service. This will help you get your bearings quickly and orient yourself as you explore.

Hello in Different Languages

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  • Currency exchange – Most places abroad will accept credit cards, but you should always have some cash on hand too. Take time to research the currency exchange rates ahead of time and decide where the best place is to get your money exchanged.Some banks will offer competitive rates, or you can always use an ATM machine when you arrive at your destination. Remember to alert your bank/credit card provider that you are traveling as well so that they don’t block your account for any suspicious activity.
  • Learn some basic phrases in the local language – If you’re traveling to a country where English is not the main language, learn a few phrases that will come in handy such as ‘How much does that cost?’ or ‘Please and thank you’ Babbel is a great app to learn a language!

7. Organize Important Paperwork

Travel Insurance - planning a vacation

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Organizing important paperwork is a key part of the planning process. Make sure to have all your important documents such as travel visas, passports and flight tickets ready. Also, look into the country you’re visiting to see if they require any other documents or paperwork. Don’t forget to:

  • Apply for a Visa online, or at the local embassy if traveling from a country that requires one. Some countries require you to apply for a visa on arrival, whilst others require you to obtain one before leaving.Check the necessary paperwork for both scenarios and make sure to have the correct amount in the right currency if it is the former scenario. Finally, check the expiration date of your passport and verify it’s valid at least six months after the date you plan to leave. Find out which type of visa is suitable for your trip.
  • Book travel insurance – It’s always better to be safe than sorry! We use SafetyWing for our travel insurance.
  • Get vaccinations – Check with your doctor and research what vaccinations you need for the country you are visiting and make sure to get them two months prior to your trip.

safari in Africa

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  • Buy medication that you may need during your trip. For example, malaria tablets if you are traveling to some parts of Africa.
  • Backup your documents – Print out a hard copy and save an electronic copy of all your important documents, like passports and visas. You can also store them in cloud-based applications, USBs, or hard drives.  For long-term travelers: Take extra passport photos!
  • Order a travel card, for instance, a Wise travel card which won’t charge you any fees to withdraw money or use it to pay for goods abroad.You can also use the card to access local currencies at a competitive rate, with no markup.Your money is also safer this way because you won’t have to carry large amounts of cash with you, and if your card gets stolen the thief won’t be able to access your main bank account.

Pack your bags

Family packing their bags for holiday - planning a vacation

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Finally, it’s time to start packing your bags. Start by making a list of all the items you need and go through the list one by one. This will help you keep track of what you have and what you still need to buy, this is especially important if you are traveling with kids.

It’s also good to plan your style ahead and make sure all of your clothes can be mixed and matched, as this will help reduce the number of items you need to pack. Most importantly, don’t forget to pack your sun cream and any other essentials that you may need for your trip.

Now you know how to plan a holiday!

Following these tips on how to plan a holiday will help you stay organized and stress-free during your travel.

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