Transportation,  Travel,  Travel Planning,  Travel Tips,  Weekend Getaways

How to Plan the Ultimate Getaway in 5 Easy Steps

The wandering jet setter’s lifestyle falls into a cycle of planning, scheduling, and enjoying each new trip. Unfortunately, for many, there are only so many days per year that even the avid traveler is able to actually hit the road (so to speak). Therefore, it is vital to plan efficiently, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. Fortunately, we figured out some great ways to speed up the planning process. You can even do each of the steps as you read, using the links to guide you, and you will have a trip planned by the article’s end! Here is how to plan the ultimate getaway in 5 easy steps.

1) Choose a Destination from Your Bucket List – How to Plan the Ultimate Getaway in 5 Easy Steps

Photo by Pietro De Grandi

Needless to say, the world is a big place, time is limited, and traveling can be an expensive adventure, so it is essential to choose a destination you really want to go to for your ultimate getaway. Regardless of how short or long your bucket list of travel destinations is, the location you pick for each travel adventure, depends on many factors. To select the best-suited destination, consider the following:

  • How much time you have to travel—do you have the time to travel far or is it best to stay near, in order to maximize your exploration time?
  • Which dates best fit your schedule?
  • What kind of weather do you prefer, and what time of year best aligns with it at your chosen destination? Does it align with your travel dates?
  • Which type of travel fits your mood? Are you looking for a relaxing beach vacation, a golfing holiday, a trip constantly on the move, a cultural tour, or something more unique?

When you have the answers to the above questions, you can narrow down your bucket list destinations to the one that best suits all of your criteria.

See also Jenny in Wanderland article How to Choose a Travel Destination

2) Compare Airfare, Train, or Car Rates – How to Plan the Ultimate Getaway in 5 Easy Steps

Photo by Artturi Jalli

Booking Transportation by Flight, Train, Camper, or Car

Assuming you plan to travel by air, finding the best airfare and most direct, comfortable flight, is the next objective in how to plan the ultimate getaway in 5 easy steps. I prefer this site to compare airfare because it allows you to filter by airline or air reward group, travel distance, the connection city, class of service, and multiple other factors to find the best available rates the way you want to travel.

If you plan on train travel, this site helps to build your trip and displays all the connections, routes, times, distance, seats, classes of service, and whether you need reservations.

If nearby locations work best, take a road trip. Be sure to include stops for rest, food and gas if you are driving. Renting an RV is a great way to take advantage of nearby attractions and this company rents both in the US and worldwide. Additionally, consider a unique rental car like a convertible, plus avoid putting long distance mileage on your own vehicle. Compare rental cars now because they tend to run out fast, especially in Summer or during holidays.

RV Camping Blue Ridge Parkway Fall
Photo by Jennifer Barbaro

Transportation Flexibility and Considerations

Allow some flexibility in your schedule when possible, so when you enter your ideal dates into the flight calculator, you can also see options for flights a day or two earlier or later than planned. Using a Flight website comparison provides options for a variety of airlines, some of which you may not have known about or thought to check. Also, you will be able to compare prices for various airlines. You can also factor in round trips, direct trips, and non-stop versus layover flights.

While it can be tempting to book the cheapest options, remember to evaluate cost versus time. For example, an airline might be cheaper, but could also take much longer to arrive or require several connections. It could also arrive at, or depart from, airports unnecessarily far from your hotel or home, which would cause you to spend the money you saved on airfare, on taxis or the like.In addition to price and time, comfort is a big factor for me. By comparing airlines, you may find a first, business, or comfort class seat for not much more than a coach one on a competitive airline.

3) Determine the Main Area(s) Where You Want to Stay – How to Plan the Ultimate Getaway in 5 Easy Steps

Photo by visualsofdana

Next, choose the most suitable place to stay for your getaway. Before you start booking hotels or other accommodations, first make sure you are searching for them in the right area. Consider the total amount of time you have at your destination and which attractions or activities are most important to you.

Important Considerations When Booking Accommodations

Depending on how many nights you plan to stay, you may prioritize nightly comfort and amenities, even if the hotel is a bit further from the attractions. For example, if you have plenty of time, you may want a down day to relax. In this case, a pool or spa may be an important feature. On the contrary, if you have many things to see in a short visit, a clean, safe place to lay your head may be just perfect.

Are you willing to spend more time traveling to and from attractions so that you can stay at a more luxurious hotel? Or do you prefer being close to the attractions while staying somewhere with less amenities?

Consider how much time you are willing to spend traveling to and from each attraction? Do you prioritize the attractions or your hotel accommodations more? Would you mind staying closer to a central area for a higher price or prefer farther for a cheaper one? Do you need to be close to places such as restaurants, markets, or bars?

Photo by Jennifer Barbaro

Using your answers to these questions, you can determine which area suits your needs best. From there, compare hotels with the amenities, distance, and rates that agree with your needs most using this travel tool.

Are you traveling with a group of family or friends, if so, compare prices and amenities on these lovely apartments or villas.

See also Jenny in Wanderland article How to Choose the Best Accommodation

4) Plan and Reserve Ahead of Time – How to Plan the Ultimate Getaway in 5 Easy Steps

Photo by Ricardo Jimenez

Knowing how to plan the ultimate getaway in 5 easy steps also means making sure you are able to make the most of your time away from home. While you may not want to plan so much that you leave no room for surprise finds, you also want to do anything you can to create the best possible getaway for yourself. So the 4th step is reserving your place for popular activities, festivals, concerts, attractions (museums, galleries, theaters, parks, etc.), and restaurants at your destination. Even casual all-inclusive spots and spa relaxation locations can fill up fast in terms of massage appointments, restaurant bookings, and so on.

The more popular these events and venues are, the faster they fill up, so it is best to make reservations to avoid disappointment. The earlier you book tickets, seats, or tables, the more likely you are to make successful reservations and find better prices.

Reserving Activities in Advance

Fast Track Tour to Accademia and David in Florence Italy

You can often find great ideas and discounts here; you can also use this site for great locally guided tours in many unique locales. What I really like about these 2 attraction and experience companies is that I have used them both extensively and have had all positive experiences. Also, they allow for a 24 hour cancellation on most all of their experiences, which gives you tons of flexibility. They also offer a good combination of guided tours and self-guided entrance tickets.

My strategy is to reserve right away if it is something I know that I don’t want to miss because many of the experiences tend to sell out. If you later need to change the date, or cannot make it, you can cancel, but it really stinks to have an attraction fill up, especially if you have traveled to see it.

5) Pre-book Transfers and Know How to Get Around – How to Plan the Ultimate Getaway in 5 Easy Steps

Photo by Khamkéo Vilaysing

Especially in a city or country that is new to you, you will inevitably spend time searching for transportation to get around. The final step of planning the ultimate getaway is knowing your options and booking your transportation ahead of time when possible. This leaves you more time to explore without the hassle of flagging down cabs, squeezing into unfamiliar buses, or waiting for ride share apps to function on the spot. Many transportation services allow you to book rides or tickets ahead of time. Doing this early (Ex. before your trip) almost always guarantees you a seat on busy trains, ferries, or transfers to take you to your hotel.

Rental cars, train seats, and ferries on popular routes can sell out quickly, especially in high season or during holiday periods. In addition to selling out, lines can be extremely long at ticket kiosks. So if you plan to travel soon, you can book your rental cars, train seats, or ferry routes right this second. Then you can just hop aboard your train, boat, or slide behind the wheel of your rental car, and start exploring your getaway destination.

Photo by Jennifer Barbaro

Taking a Hop On/Hop Off bus with an open air top is a great way to get acquainted with a city. It also provides an easy way to get to most popular attractions around a city. Often they even have an audio guide to share interesting facts and history. You can book this ahead for many major cities.

Pro-Tip: Almost all rental cars can be put on hold. There is almost never a cancellation fee, even if you decide to cancel your rental at the very last minute.

Airport Transfers

I think the worse thing is to arrive at a foreign airport after a long flight, with no one to greet you and possibly no ride. So I almost always reserve an airport transfer. That way, my travel starts off, stress free. Reserve an airport transfer now, and be greeted upon arrival and whisked away to your accommodation.

Pro-Tip: Travel Insurance is a really important aspect of travel. To me, the most important coverage is medical. You never know when an accident may happen and you certainly do not want to be stuck paying piles of cash, even if your home insurance may cover the costs later. This Medical Insurance is relatively inexpensive and you will not be sorry if you end up needing it. If you don’t end up using it, then that is even better! You can also purchase trip insurance here too.

Share Where You are Headed with Us!

If you have completed these 5 simple steps, using your bucket list and the links, then Congratulations! You are headed off to travel! Leave a message in the comments of the article, sharing your upcoming plans with your fellow travelers! Because what fun is travel if you don’t share your experiences… right? And be sure to share on the Jenny in Wanderland Travel Community Facebook what you booked using these 5 steps! Let us know how this article helped your travel planning. Safe Travels; We can’t wait to hear about it!

Also See Jenny in Wanderland, How to Spend 3 Perfect Days in Zurich

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