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Determined to take a much needed vacation? Not sure how to go about planning the trip? Follow the 10 easy steps below to help you plan your next adventure!

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1. Take a look at your schedule

Do you need to wait until school is over to take your kids away? Are you too busy with work to even consider traveling until next fall? Set up some time in advance to find a few good travel dates. Determining this ahead of time will not only help you narrow down your choices but also help you decide quicker.

2. Think about activities

Finding a destination won’t be fun if there is nothing for you to do there. So let’s assume you will be traveling during the Summer, you will most likely want to participate in water related activities. If you enjoy jet-skiing, you may want to visit the Caribbean. If you want to try something new like white-water rafting, you may choose to travel to Pennsylvania or maybe surfing in California; Consider the different types of excursions you’ll enjoy the most.

3. Pick a destination

Start looking into where these activities are available. If you’re set on surfing, there are multiple locations that offer great surfing experiences. Surf the web before the waves and research which spots cover everything you’re looking for. You don’t have to stick to American soil, try somewhere exotic like Hawaii or test out the waters bordering Australia. If you don’t have the time to do your own research, contact a travel agent. Based on your dates and interest, he or she will tell you what’s out there; which makes your search for the perfect vacation easier.

4. Decide on the length of your vacation

This one is handled a few different ways. The amount of days you plan to travel may determine the total cost of the trip; however, budgets are perfectly normal. So, give yourself a rough estimate on what you’d like to spend and that total will determine how many days are feasible for you.

5. Set money aside for the trip

Once you know where you are going and how long you will be staying there, you should be able to get subtotal price. Set that amount aside so that you may be able to book your trip. Some places only require a down payment for booking but try to pay off the total, two or three months before your departure.

6. Don’t forget about gratuities

Trips are exciting and sometimes we forget that the employees kindly serving us, deserve a little extra. Remember to include tips as a part of your budget, they tend to add up at the end of your trip.

7. Start saving up

You can’t afford to book your trip right away? Save! Save! Save! Try opening a savings account just for your traveling needs then deposit a fraction of each paycheck. After you pay off the trip, you will need money when you arrive. Meals, drinks, souvenirs, transportation - these are few things that are generally paid for once you’re there.

8. Book your vacation

You’re saved up and ready to book. How relieving, right? but wouldn’t it be even more exciting if you could save a few more bucks than anticipated? Check for bargains! Before reserving your vacation, peruse over sites like Living Social, Expedia, Groupon or Travelzoo. The have great deals all year long.

9. Insure your trip

Things happen and sometimes these unforeseen events are completely out of our control. Avoid losing the money you spent so long saving up for by purchasing travel insurance. Look into trip cancellation insurance as well. You don’t want to be stuck up a creek without a paddle when you or one of your family members become ill right before the trip. Forfeiting a vacation can be a bit upsetting but not being able to receive a refund will leave you and your bank account mildly depressed.

10. Have fun!

Check-in luggage not worries and stress; leave those at home or throw them overboard if possible. Try new things, taste new foods, learn about new cultures - Enjoy the trip, appreciate the company and most importantly, have fun! After all, what’s a vacation without it?

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