You can never have too much information when it comes to planning a vacation. Here are some tips to help you maximize the time and money you're spending on your vacation.
- Ask specific questions about what's included in an all-inclusive vacation package. Some may only offer two meals instead of three, and beverages may cost extra.
- When planning a cruise, budget extra money for day trips in the cities where the ship docks. Cruise lines usually offer charter tours and special activities on land, but most of the time, the cost for those special events is not included in the cost of your cruise. Plus, you'll need money for any meals you are not eating on the ship.
- When considering a cruise, try to choose a port within driving distance to save money on air fare.
- If flying to your destination, check the web site of your airline before you pack. Safety regulations change regularly, and nobody wants to unpack their suitcase in the middle of the airport to remove items that are no longer permitted on an airplane.
- If you plan to have carry-on luggage, check your airline's policy on how many items are allowed and what size they must be. If you carry luggage on the airplane that doesn't fit in the overhead bin or the underneath the seat in front of you, the airline will move it to the cargo area of the plane.
- If you'll need a passport for your travel destination, apply for it at least two months in advance.
- Traveling out of the country? Find a place near your home that will convert your U.S. dollars into foreign currency. While credit cards are accepted all over the world, you should have some cash on hand for tipping, small purchases, and emergencies.
- Keep weather in mind when planning a vacation. If you don't like snow or cold weather, Denver in January may not be your best choice. Hurricane season should also be considered when booking a cruise. You may get a really good deal on a cruise during hurricane season, but how valuable will that be if you have to dock and take cover?
- Consider travel insurance, especially if you are booking your trip far in advance. If something happens that keeps you from taking the trip, travel insurance will generally reimburse most of your expenses so you don't lose hundreds or thousands of dollars. Some policies also cover medical expenses outside of the country, which many U.S. healthcare policies do not.
- If traveling with a family, get everyone's input on potential activities. The more input you get in advance, the better your chances of having a peaceful vacation.