“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”~Jawaharial Nehru
While barbecue simmers on the grill, summer evening conversations with neighbors and friends inevitably drift to holiday plans. Whether you’re still choosing between a Caribbean Christmas or Thanksgiving in Thailand, here are 10 considerations to get you moving from small talk to reality:
10. Know thyself (and thy family)
If your crew is active and adventuresome, keep in mind that Latin America is closer – and cheaper – than many other tropical destinations. Why not try surfing in Costa Rica or ziplining in Belize? If you’re not really into the beach thing, opt for a winter trip to Yellowstone National Park instead for snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and snowball fights!
9. To fly or not to fly?
With gas prices so low, perhaps you’re tempted to keep the festivities domestic this year. Consider a trip to the Southwest US for off-season travel in some of America’s most stunning national parks. Fewer crowds, cheaper hotel prices, and cooler temperatures make Grand Canyon and Zion chilly but way more secluded experiences.
8. Take a family survey
Not sure what everyone would like? Spend an evening over pizza dreaming big about the endless possibilities. A safari in Africa? Boating around the Galapagos? Hiking in Patagonia? Gather round the globe, pull out the laptops, pour over travel books and get excited to piece together the perfect trip for your clan.
7. Be flexible with travel dates
If your schedule isn’t too set-in-stone, then book tickets smartly: don’t travel when everyone else is! Maybe you fly a week before the holiday or leave a week after. Even better, fly on the actual holiday. Cold turkey sandwiches aren’t the worst thing in the world.
6. Remember: not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving…
While your friends are navigating domestic airports to get to loved ones, maybe this is the year you and the crew go abroad. Airline tickets to Europe, South America and beyond can be relatively affordable over the holidays, so get those passports updated and fill ’em up! Cruise in Australia? Why not?
5. Set your budget, then pull the trigger
As you’re perusing flight options, be ready to pull the trigger on a good-enough deal. And, for crying out loud, don’t wait till October to book those tickets. According to travel experts, by mid-October, holiday airfares increase up to 50 percent.
4. Speaking of booking tickets…
If you have to connect flights, set yourself up for success and book the earliest option on your travel day in order to give yourself a buffer zone for delays.
3. Wrap it up
Keep the stress-levels low in security lines and don’t make the TSA personnel unwrap those beautiful gifts you’re bringing to surprise the kids. Rather, pack wrapping paper and work your magic later or get creative upon arrival at your destination.
2. Or not…
The greatest gifts don’t come with batteries or warranties. For the holidays this year, consider giving your family the gift of an unforgettable adventure – one they’ll talk about way longer than last years’ gizmo. Manage expectations with your kids and have a discussion about the value of spending time together – and tell them they can drink all the hot chocolate they want by that roaring fireplace in Yellowstone!
1. Don’t wait!
There’s no better time than the present, so stop wasting precious moments talking about the future, book your holiday trip, and then get back to enjoying your summer. Happy plotting!