Travel,  Vacation

Holiday Vacation: 5 Step Pre-Planning

Are you due for a Holiday Getaway? I know what you are thinking “Holiday Vacation? We haven’t gotten through Halloween!” Trust me when I say the sooner you get planning the better. Your planning revolves around where you want to go. Last year I had the opportunity to encounter New Year’s Eve at the place where dreams come true, Disney World. In addition, we visited the Harry Potter portions of Universal Studios and Island of Adventures. It was a jammed packed excursion and worth every penny. If you are still debating I highly recommend this trip.

Here is a 5 step pre-planning process for your Holiday Vacation

“I’ll just charge it.”

No! Do not just charge it and then owe a crazy amount of money later; it’s not worth it! Take a good look at your finances before you decide on a location. If you can only afford a weekend getaway to Chicago, Detroit or Nashville that is ok. Do something both you and your wallet will enjoy.

Tip: I had been saving since May to go to Disney for NYE! You can always start small now and then go big for the following year.


“Uhg, the prices change every day!”

Now that you know where you are going you have to decide on transportation. If you are choosing a road trip than you only have to worry about gas, YAY! If you opted out of using your car then a train or plane may be your ride. According to booking 7 ½ weeks before your departure date is the best and cheapest time to purchase your flight. If you are planning to take the Amtrak be sure to check out their hot deals before committing to a set price. Check out USA Today on ways to get deals using Amtrak.

Tip: For road tips check out this awesome site to map out your route: I personally love using this app!

Tip: When booking flights be sure to read all pricing. Spirit and Frontier airlines are some of the cheapest but they charge for every little thing possible (luggage, seat, ect.). Keep this in mind when purchasing your ticket.

Tip: Sometimes booking from the airline site is cheaper than using a 3rd party site like Expedia. Be sure to research all of your purchasing options.

“I’ll just book a hotel and Uber everywhere”

First of all remember to book accommodations according to your wallet. Even though the hotel room is $99 a night is it really worth racking up over $500 in Uber charges during the holiday weekend? Be smart about the location of your hotel. For example: If you are going to Universal Studios and your accommodations is 20 minutes away from your destination cab/Uber costs will be through the roof and all the money you save will be dumped back into that. If you decide to rent a car be conscientious of those costs as well (gas, insurance, tolls ect.). If you have chosen a road trip option, you don’t have to worry about this much since you will have your vehicle with you.

Tip: Pick an option that makes sense to you. When we did Florida last year it made more sense to rent a car since we were traveling to Disney World and Universal Studios. If you anticipate staying in and near the same area a rental car may not be the best option.

“I’m not so sure about that place.”

Apprehensive on your accommodations? I completely understand. We hear horror stories about hotels and bed bugs but staying in a stranger’s home via Airbnb is unsettling. As discussed before, be mindful of your wallet. Yes, the 5 star villa resort will be a beautiful stay but is it worth dropping the money on your bed versus your activates? Again, this all depends on the kind of trip you are taking. If you are staying for 5 days consider your cheapest option but if you are staying for a weekend and have the money, splurging a little more on accommodations won’t hurt. This is your time to get away so don’t be afraid to treat yourself how you see fit. Just be mindful of where to allocate your funds.

Tip: Booking through Airbnb is an easy process. Depending on the kind of trip and size of your group this can be a great option for you. There is a host out in Pittsburgh who has a top floor penthouse accommodation; it is beautiful and an experience unlike any other. Check out my review of Airbnb here.

Tip: If you are worried about all the negative media coverage about hotels be sure to do your research. Read recent reviews, any cases of bed bugs ect. It is worth putting your mind at ease.

“I have dotted my T’s and crossed my I’s.”

Ok, a little backwards. My point is planning a vacation is hard especially during the holidays. Aside from the stress, it is all worth it once you get there. Remember, through all this booking, number crunching and chaos that you are getting away for a short time and allowing yourself a breather after the hustle and bustle; you deserve it.

Tip: To ensure everything is accounted for (flights, hotel reservations, tickets, ect.) consider putting everything in a folder and taking it with you. That way you don’t have that “Oh, SH*T!” moment when you arrive at the gates.

Planning for a holiday vacation is stressful and can be expensive. We enjoyed bringing in the New Year at Disney’s Epcot so much we plan to book holiday vacations every other year. The sooner you book the less stressed you will be. Comment below with where you plan to be for New Year’s Eve.

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