3 Tips for Planning a Relaxing Vacation
If you read my last post, then you know I am currently working on a big project - planning my sister and her husband’s honeymoon. This project not only excites me but has been challenging me in the best way possible. After many hours of research over the last week, I have narrowed down the long list of resort options to four great ones. I originally intended to present three options, but soon found that four would be better (two in the U.S., two out of the country).
Through this process, I have had various parameters to stick to, but the two biggest ones were these - the honeymoon needs to be at a resort, and it needs to be relaxing. Therefore, in this post, I’ll go over my best tips on how to plan a relaxing vacation and the resources I found most helpful. Stay tuned for my next post as well - I’ll reveal the four destination options and itineraries that I will be presenting to my sister!
When planning a vacation, there is one big question to keep in mind before starting the planning process - “Do I want to spend the majority of my time exploring, or relaxing?”
While in some cases you can do both, I believe the best vacation is one that has a clear, main purpose. If you are going to Orlando for a week, you will most likely spend five days between Disney World and Universal Studios, and one day taking it easy by the pool. If you are going to the Carribean for a week, you will most likely spend five days lounging on the beach and at the resort, and one day going on an excursion.
Keeping these two separate types of vacations in mind, here are my top tips for planning the type of vacation where all you have to worry about is what drink to order next.
Tip #1 - All-Inclusive or Pay as You Go?
Before deciding on a destination, this is a very important question to consider. Do you want to pay (potentially) a bit more to have everything you need on site and at no extra charge? Or would you prefer to eat away from your hotel at local hot spots? For my sister’s honeymoon, all-inclusive is the way we decided to go since it seems to be less stressful in the long-run. A compromise between the two is choosing a hotel/resort that offers complimentary breakfast, so you still have the option to leave for lunch and dinner. Once you decide on this, choosing a destination will be a bit easier!
Tip #2 - Don’t Fall into Google’s Rabbit Hole
It can quickly become very stressful not knowing which websites to trust when planning your trip. No worries, I’ve done some of the heavy lifting for you. Some of these websites offer great specials and allow you to book directly through them. Of course, there are many more than what I’ve listed, but here are my personal favorites that I use frequently:
https://www.allinclusiveoutlet.com/ - While the name of this clearly states all-inclusive as the focus, I have found that there are a few “pay as you go” resorts as well. I have never booked and paid for a trip through this website, but frequently use it to compare resorts to each other as this site makes it very easy to do so. They also offer package deals which can be helpful if your travel dates are flexible.
https://www.airbnb.com/ - If a unique housing option is important to you, Airbnb may be the best way to go. I highly suggest making sure you rent from a “Superhost”, as they typically have the best reviews and are tried and true. Recently, Airbnb added new “Plus” rental options - a special selection of homes that have gone through a hundred point quality inspection. I tried out a Plus option in Redondo Beach this fall and very much enjoyed all the amenities included!
https://www.smartertravel.com/ - This site offers endless tips on anything to do with travel, which of course is helpful to any type of trip, not just a relaxing vacation!
https://thepointsguy.com/ - What’s more stress-free than saving money? I’m sure there are plenty of points and miles to be earned as you pay for your flight, hotel, and rental car. You may also appreciate The Points Guy “Hotel Review” section.
Tip #3 - Plan, but Don’t Over-plan
It’s true that having a plan when going on a relaxing vacation is important, but making an hour-by-hour agenda can hinder more than help. When deciding on how detailed a plan to make, think about how you’re feeling during the process. Does writing out what you want to do on what day stress you out, or make you feel at ease? Also, take time to consider what tools you are using to stay organized. The Notes app on my phone and Google Sheets are my personal favorites.
And that concludes my best (and short) list of tips to remember when planning a relaxing vacation. In the future, look for tips regarding fast-paced vacations and work trips.
As mentioned, next week I will release a post with the details regarding the four itinerary options for my sister’s honeymoon!
Happy stress-free planning, my friends.