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Traveling Together :: Tips for Planning Your Best Vacation Yet!

Traveling Together :: Tips for Planning Your Best Vacation Yet! | Columbia SC Moms Blog

I had a vision, growing up. I would finish high school, college, then find the man of my dreams. He would propose, we would have our wedding and enjoy our friends and family. I wouldn’t be able to contain my excitement because I knew we had an early flight to my dream destination: Rome. I remember thinking how much I wanted my new husband to whisk me away to this foreign land to feed me pasta and wine for our honeymoon!

My goodness, I’m sure the movie studios in Hollywood loved me; I fell for every corny, hopeless romantic scenario there was! Not that these things are out of reach. But my realistic experience of paying for a wedding on an average salary didn’t yield a vacation right away.

Needless to say, there was no honeymoon … my husband gave me an awesome wedding, though. Fast forward a year; we had an infant God blessed us with, making us a family of four (we already had an amazing kindergarten kid). A vacation to celebrate our first wedding anniversary on the beaches of Jamaica were chopped down to a dinner downtown.

This year will be different; I’m so excited. The time has come for my husband and me to finally have our honeymoon. Yes, it’s our second wedding anniversary, but better late than never, right?

According to a forum I read on the Wedding Wire, several couples waited months before taking the coveted postnuptial vacation. That said, I empathize with anyone who had to put off a divine vacation with your partner. How do people make vacations happen? It’s a question I asked myself over and over while scrolling through my timeline. I eventually had to cut that out; jealousy is not a good look on me. The decision came down to considering a few things. 

What do you want your vacation to look like?

When you think of your dream vacation, who is there? Where are you going? How much time do you want to spend at this place? How much money do you want to spend there? There are so many awesome places to visit, each with its own draw. We were able to narrow it down to the occasion. I’m celebrating our wedding anniversary, but maybe you’re thinking of a birthday getaway. Or a way to acknowledge the end of first grade for your kid, a new professional accomplishment, etc. Maybe, it’s just because!

Whatever, the occasion, I found it helpful to consider the reason we want to celebrate and take it from there. It’s got to be a vacation true to your personalities, also. My husband and I will bring in two years married at Harry Potter World, among other things, during our time spent in Florida. The fact that he will indulge my obsession with the young wizard is romantic enough for me! If this will be a family-friendly event, get ready to exercise compromise and patience. A vacation is supposed to be fun for everyone! So consider things you will need to accommodate the people going so it’s smooth sailing.

Get help

My anxiety flared a bit when I looked at all the things we could do. I know my strengths, and planning something to this level isn’t one of them. A lot of people like to browse and plan dream getaways or small ones from the comfort of their laptops. But I needed reinforcements.

We called on my good friend turned travel agent, Tylette Newkirk. Her business, Help Me Travel, allowed us to paint a picture of what we wanted out of our vacation and how much we wanted to spend. Within 48 hours, we had an amazing, action-packed vacation planned with an itinerary I don’t think I could have dreamed up.

There are great websites that give several reviews of various places around the world as well. It’s helpful to go to sites like Travelocity, which gives a chance for you to read about other travelers’ experiences overall. They give tips too! I always like to learn from someone who went ahead of me; it’s a huge time and money saver.

Budget, plan, then budget again

Speaking of money, do you have enough to go? Funny story: I went to my husband and said, “Babe, the bills will be paid, food will be in the house, I even have a strategy to get the new couch we want, so we can still take this trip!”. My love needs to see that there’s a plan in place before he will make a move. I suppose it’s the responsible thing to do, right? He keeps me grounded! But, it is important to alleviate stress by making sure your ducks are in a row before you leave. Are the kids going to have enough food when staying with the sitter? Are the pets OK? The idea is to come back from vacation and still hang on to the feeling of solace as long as you can, not chaos.

My favorite app is EveryDollar, which allows you to budget your funds to the cent. Every dollar has a job, hence its name; the app is based on Dave Ramsey’s concepts on managing finances. It’s highly recommended and user friendly. This way, you can plan ahead for trips. The app even allows you to start a fund to save for various line items you know are coming up. It’s been a great tool to use when making sure I can afford to buy an authentic wand at Harry Potter World!

Maybe it’s a staycation

Going away not your thing? Or not in the budget yet? Remember, we have all been there. It’s important to make sure you know are being responsible for yourself and your family. Columbia SC Moms Blog has several awesome writers with suggestions on things to do this summer right here at home. Staycations are fun too! I am a firm believer in getting our kids away from screens all as much as we can. Surely if you give your kids a kiddie pool, an ice cream sandwich, and a trip to the park, it will be an amazing day. The point is to make sure you’re spending that quality time they love. Whether it’s your significant other or the entire family, be intentional about unplugging sometimes and enjoying the company you keep.

How do you make your travel plans? What strategies do you use to help make planning a fun getaway easier and more affordable?

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