A vacation is having nothing to do, and all day to do it in! Robert Orben
Yet often, I see family and friends struggling to find a destination which fits well in all parameters. For most of us, the biggest challenge is to answer “where to go”! We look at photos on social media and want to go everywhere. This just adds to the confusion. Even after taking a virtual cruise from Maldives to Indonesia, to Orlando and Mexico, Switzerland to New Zealand and Sri Lanka to China, we finally end up nowhere because we don’t know where to stop and what to choose!
Finalising a destination is not easy, but is no rocket science either!
Here’s a basic low-down on how I choose the perfect destination which suits all my requirements:
Check the calendar
The first and the most basic step to start with:
The holiday lists of my husband and kids are the topmost star marked images in my photo gallery. I ear mark the long weekends and holidays so we do not have to take too many additional leaves from work and from school. Despite going on vacations almost 5-6 times a year, my kids hardly miss a day or two at school in the entire year.
Yes, proper and timely planning makes it doable!
Plan the duration
Another important thing to note is to look for mid week holidays, and not just focus on long weekends.
A holiday on a Tuesday or Thursday gives you the chance to plan a longer vacation within approximately the same budget. Midweek flights are often cheaper than those on the weekend or on holidays.
The right place at the right time
Once I have a tentative number of days in place, I look at the season and accordingly google destinations (in India and abroad).
For example, best places to visit in India during monsoons, or if it is summer vacations, I look up top destinations in Europe to visit this year. Depending on my budget and the number of days, I short list at least 4-5 destinations (this is where a li’l research helps in). Here I also make a note of the dates, keeping in mind that I may have to add or delete a day or two.
Surprisingly, many a times, foreign destinations are more budget friendly compared to touristy Indian hotspots. A lot of south East Asian countries, for instance, have cheaper flights and visa on arrival for Indian nationals, making for a more viable option.
Plan starts taking off
Now that I have 4-5 places shortlisted, the next step is to check the most convenient mode of transport, which most often, is flights. Flights contribute a major chunk of the holiday expense, so I do put in flexible dates and check in on a couple of websites.
This helps me narrow down my list to 2 or maximum 3 places. I drop down the discarded places in a bucket list to be revisited at an apt time later. It makes planning the next holiday easier. 🙂
Get, set, vote
The most significant part is building the consensus — laying the options out to my kids and asking them to vote.
I give them a general overview of the place, intended holiday duration and show them a couple of pictures. Here, I have to confess that I do canvas for my choice a li’l harder.
This step is, by far,the most important one for me.
I can’t stress enough on the fact that kids’ opinions DO matter ! Including your child in decision making when you are selecting the destination is VERY important. It enhances their decision making skills, thereby also giving them something to look forward to and makes them less complaining, if things don’t go their way.
(For those wondering, husband has been on board all along) 😉
The last mile
After a lot of debate, cajoling and persuasion, we reach a conclusion – the final destination!
Without further ado, we check a couple of websites for the best deals and discounts, and book our tickets (after always cross checking on the airline site).
*It always makes more sense to invest in the refundable ones (just in case)!
All set? No! This is just the beginning!
Hotel bookings, planning the itinerary and other nitty gritties on another blog post soon!