Plan Hard, Play Hard – Planning for Vacation Success

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Today’s endless collection of flight-booking websites, hotel review boards, and other online travel tools suggest that the days of lengthy vacation planning are over. Unfortunately, the process can still seem difficult, even for Royal Holiday members, who can rely on the club to take some of the worry out of vacation planning. Luckily, decades of effort by travel writers and experts have resulted in numerous ways to make this process go smoothly, allowing vacationers to finish planning and get started on a fabulous trip.

For many people, the vacation-planning process is about finding a way to have the most fun for the least amount of money, a goal made much easier with ticket-finding web applications. However, remember that saving money almost always involves a trade-off; spending a little extra to avoid a red-eye flight, for example, will help most people feel better rested and more able to enjoy their vacation. Trying to cram too much into a vacation can often be a recipe for disaster as well, so be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to manage jet lag and navigate unfamiliar locales.

When planning your vacation, remember to consider the hidden costs behind the big numbers. When traveling abroad, for example, ATM machines will often offer the best exchange rates, but you will need to let your bank know ahead of time that you’ll be abroad, lest you find yourself stranded with a canceled debit card. Of all the things you do before you leave home, however, packing might have the greatest effect on the quality of your trip. Over-packing results in stress and fatigue and limits your mobility; consult a website like onebag.com for tips on packing light and only bringing those items you’ll actually need. Finally, look closely at the fine print for your airline, hotel, or tour guide company, so that you can be prepared if something goes wrong. Airlines, in particular, often cause major vacation mishaps when flights are canceled or delayed, and your best defense in these situations will be a printed-out copy of your airline’s “Rule 240” documentation, which are the rules the airline follows for compensating customers.

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