Fall is here which means the leaves are changing and the temperature is dropping. Personally, I prefer summer. I like feeling the hot sun on my skin and being able to dive into a cool pool or river.
Sure, fall is nice for bonfires and gold toned Instagram opps, but at the end of the day fall means that winter is right around the corner.
And in my book, all that winter is good for is planning your winter getaway.
I just started travelling on my own in the past few years, and when I was going on family vacations I never appreciated just how much work and planning went into your dream vacation.
Now, I’ve got a few vacations under my belt and enough experience that I wanted to pass on my best travel tips to you.
Pick your destination
This one might seem obvious, but when Chris and I were planning our anniversary trip we had about a million different locations on the list. We narrowed it down by checking flight prices, weather projections, and tourist attractions.
Neither of us are made of money, so we didn’t want to go anywhere that flights were more than $400 per person. And it was the middle of August so we didn’t want to go too far south and risk 100+ degree temperatures.
Finally, we both have a guilty pleasure in tourist attractions, so we wanted a city where we could really have the tourist experience.
Choosing the dates is another battle. If you’re going during peak tourist season you risk paying more on everything from food to accommodation. And if there is a conference or special event going on the city might be swamped.
Avoid traveling for leisure during any big holiday because that’s when prices go through the roof, and check the week before and after your ideal date. Prices on flights can vary dramatically week by week.
Budget before you go
There’s nothing like coming home from vacation to a credit card bill that’s twice as high as you expected it to be.
Creating a budget feels very intimidating, so I usually just make a list of my expected expenses that looks a little something like this:
Food and drink:
From there you can research the average prices of things like food and tourist attractions at your intended destination and roundup on pricing.
Choose an all-inclusive resort
Consider going all-inclusive when you’re planning your dream vacation. This lets you establish and stick to your budget without any wrenches being thrown into your plan.
Apple vacations all-inclusive packages include: Round-trip Airfare, Hotel Accommodations, Round-trip Airport Transfers, and the services of an in-resort Apple Representative. When your travel plans are all-inclusive, there are a lot less things you need to consider budgeting for.
Some resorts, like the Riu Republica in Punta Cana even offer free events for their guests. The Riu Republica offers activities like windsurfing, kayaking, and snorkeling. If you’re not that keen on getting up close and personal with the water, they also have free exercise classes. Plus! All meals and drinks are included. Wifi too!
If you’re a kid at heart like me, get excited because in November they are unveiling an onsite adults-only water park, called Splash Water World! Finally, a waterpark where you’re not the only person over the age of 12 in line for the slides!
Plan for things to go wrong
Murphy’s law states that what can go wrong will go wrong. That’s a rule that applies to my life more often than I’d care to admit, and something I’ve learned to plan around and always budget for when I’m thinking about planning a vacation.
Consider your game plan if your flight gets canceled or you drop your passport in the bathtub. Have backups of all your documents, and make sure that you’re ahead enough at work that an extra day of vacation should flights get messed up won’t be catastrophic.
Whenever I travel I have a list of emergency contents in my purse, a few copies of my passport in a few different places, and a few small stashes of emergency cash.
Travel somewhere new
I’m guilty of always going to the same vacation spots over and over again (hellooooo Florida and New York.) I get stuck in this cycle of wanting to go where I know, but then I end up missing out on new experiences.
My parents recently went to Punta Cana (leaving my brother and I behind, growing up is rough.) and had a blast. The pictures alone were enough to put Punta Cana at the top of my dream destination list.
The Riu Republica, in specific, looks breathtaking. There are three beachfront swimming pools, catered to different needs. There is quiet pool for relaxation and a party pool for party animals.
The party pool has energetic music, daily games, and regularly scheduled foam parties.
Punta Cana has miles and miles of white beaches and is often referred to as the Coconut Coast. Apple Vacations is the #1 tour operator in the world serving to the Dominican Republic and offer non-stop vacation flights from select cities.
Start monitoring flight costs
When I am planning a vacation, I won’t buy tickets right away. Instead, I’ll watch how the flight costs fluctuate day by day, and try to buy when they’re at their lowest.
Back when I visited my best friend in Houston, round-trip tickets were averaging close to $400 dollars each day, but then they dipped below $300 on a random Wednesday so I bought then.
If you have time to spare, definitely make sure you’re monitoring flight trends, it can save you some major money.
Plan your flights strategically
If you’ve got a short time frame for your visit, make sure you’re not wasting it in transit.
Apple Vacations’ Exclusive Vacation Flights often include non-stop options to your destination with morning departures and evening returns to maximize your time in paradise. When I visited San Francisco last year I only had five days and over two of them were spent in the sky and airplanes.
Let someone plan your next vacation for you
Now, I wasn’t going to get you all dreamy-eyed about the idea of one day visiting Punta Cana without helping you get there. I teamed up with Apple Vacations for this post, and they’re hosting a “Travel With Your Squad” sweepstakes! Head to their page and enter to win! One lucky winner can take 5 friends to this exclusive Adults-Only dream vacation to the Riu Republica in Punta Cana!