Trip Planning 101


By: Ericka Baron

Dreaming of going somewhere that has been on your travel bucket list for a while?  Making your travel dreams a reality can be exciting! However, clients often tell me that they want to start planning a trip but don’t know how to start. Here are three important questions to ask yourself when planning your next trip:

What is your budget?

Knowing your budget from the start is important. It will determine if your dream destination is a possibility if you need to think of a new place for your vacation or hold off until you can save more funds. Your budget will also determine modes of transportation, excursions, and types of accommodations to choose from. A good tip for vacationers who enjoy visiting the same location each year is to purchase a timeshare from large timeshare or vacation club companies like Westgate Timeshares.

I was approached by a couple with a $3,000 budget, and a dream to visit Costa Rica. After factoring fligscreen-shot-2016-10-17-at-11-29-26-pmhts alone, $1,500.00 was left for excursions and accommodations.  We looked at shared transportation, eliminated excursions, and chose 3-star hotels to fit their budget. In the end, they decided to wait and save more money to have the true experience they dreamed of. 

How much time do you have?

How long can you escape from your every-day life should be considered early in the planning process?  Imagine riding a bus in Amarillo?Some destinations are very far and require more than a week to explore. For instance, it takes up to 24 hours to travel to India, which has a ten hours time difference. So travelling to India often needs a few days to recover from jet lag and at least two weeks to explore India’s rich offerings.  If you have limited time and absolutely want to go to a destination that has a lot to offer, knowing what you definitely want to see and do is important, which leads to our next question.

What is your theme?

When planning an itinerary I always ask, “What enticed you to choose this destination for your next dream vacation?” The answer to this question is usually the trip’s leading theme.  Depending on the client’s response, we will plan excursions around visits to nature parks and hiking trails for an active vacation, or guided museum visits and walking tours led by locals for a cultural experience. If culinary delights have my clients dreaming we look at food tours, cooking lessons by chefs, and visits to vineyards that pair wine with local foods.  Experiences can be endless but need to be focused to fit in one’s budget, theme, and time frame. 

Once you’ve answered these important questions, the fun of crafting your unforgettable personal itinerary begins. I recommend reaching out to a travel agent who can be a resourceful guide in your planning process.  Bon Voyage!


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