I’m hoping, since you’re reading my blog, that you just love thinking about holidays as much as me! Are you a planner? Do you have everything all scheduled out? Destinations plotted and activities arranged beforehand?
Or are you a last minute.com type person? Loving your flights being booked at the 11th hour and thriving on the spontaneity? Whichever camp you are in, I think a bit of planning can never go amiss (you don’t want to end up with holiday days going spare at the end of the year!)
So without further ado, here are some ideas on how to plan your 2018 holidays like a boss.
When to plan?
In my honest opinion, you need to have a bit of a rolling plan. And some flexibility in case someone has to work during half a trip back to the UK (naming no names of course). We always have the slight anxiety that an international move will be sprung on us and things will have to be rescheduled. Post Christmas and New Year sales often (not always!) have the best prices that you will see all year. Knowing when the best prices are likely to come up is a great way to make your pennies go further.
So…what do you want to do?
First things first… lets write down all the things you want to do. Don’t worry at this point if it’s totally pie in the sky unrealistic or if you’re going to get fired if you take so much time off work. This is just a starting point and it is great to look at the year as a whole.
When Mr Wanderlust and I sat down to talk about our holidays, our starting point included four 14 night breaks! That wasn’t even including the week-long holidays that we wanted to take… Or that we would like to go away together at some point (No kids! shock! Horror!)… He also wants to take a golf holiday and I would love to go on a girls holiday… Clearly we don’t have enough time or money to accommodate all of those plans but at least we knew what an ideal world might look like.
You might not be as insane as us so maybe you don’t have such unrealistic aspirations haha. But you still probably need to scale back on the wish list. So where do you start?
What is already scheduled?
Weddings, big birthday celebrations, annual family holidays… what ever it is, lock it in!
This year we already have a ski holiday booked for February so that can’t be moved. A very dear friend of mine is getting married (hello bridesmaid duties!) so that has formed the basis of our annual trip back to the UK.
It has also helped us decide on a date for taking a week off with Mr Wanderlust’s family (and my bestie – I still can’t believe it will have been a year since I saw her!).
It’s crazy to think about Christmas already but…. Maybe it’s an expat thing. Since we rarely spend Christmas where we live, it always involves travel. Given where we live relative to our family, we are planning for 2 weeks of travel to be on the safe side! Last year we took a relatively moderate trip to Jordan (more on that coming soon) but in 2016 we took such a long trip to Bali that it took me 3 posts to write all about it (find them here, here and here).
Look at the timings!
It’s so nice to have something planned, something in the pipeline to look forward to. Personally we like to have holidays well spaced so we avoid burn out at other times of the year. Where we can’t get a week in we will look at a staycation for a long weekend just to get the R and R in.
When Mr Wanderlust and I were discussing this, we realised we had lots of things we wanted to do by mid-August and then had no holiday left to take until Christmas which seemed like a long stretch. This was where the sad part had to come in and we had to make some hard decisions. Expat life means you can’t make all the special occasions you want to and we will be missing another wedding in April 🙁
Another factor will be other commitments at home. Are there conferences for work? Is there a busy time of year or month that needs to be avoided? When are other people in the office taking holidays?
Other people might have a massive holiday planned at a specific time meaning sacrifices for the rest of the year need to be made.
Whatever the constraints, you can guarantee that there will be some and its good to be able to plan accordingly.
Where to go?
So you’ve got your holiday schedule all mapped out… Now where are you going to go?
Obviously certain trips will dictate the destination – a wedding last year in St Petersburg meant an absolutely insane long weekend away (48 hours of travel for 60 hours of fun – totally worth it!). But there’s still loads of time for us to be creative. I love having a blank sheet of paper in front of me just waiting for us to decide where we are going.
We tend to review our bucket list for ideas at this point. Invariably it has got longer rather than shorter despite us taking more trips and going to new locations haha! Is there anywhere that you desperately want to go? Are you planning a trip of a lifetime? Have you just heard about anew place that has got you really excited? Do you want to go and learn a new skill like cooking or painting? The possibilities are literally endless but it is SO fun to write a wish list!
Again, then real life kicks in and you realise you can’t go to ALL these places. Do your research and find the best times to go. You might want to go in the off season to avoid the crowds and risk the rain. Or you might want to chase the sunshine (or show!) and take the pain of the higher prices and crowded places. Have you heard of shoulder season? Definitely one to think about! Whatever your requirements, know your options!
So there you have it! 5 ways on how to plan your 2018 holidays like a boss. Want to know my holiday plans for 2018? Stand by – a new post is coming soon! If you want some inspiration while you wait, feel free to check out my 2017 planning post and the review of our incredible year. In the meantime, tell me… where are you going this year?