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5 tips for planning an overseas holiday

Updated on March 30, 2011

You have to do some planning before getting on that big jet plane.

You have been watching the annual leave clocking up on your pay slip and you are going to put it to good use, an overseas holiday! It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of traveling to an unexplored destination.  However there is some preparation to do before you step onto that big jet plane. The 5 holiday planning tips below will help you to make sure that your hard earned break will go as smoothly as possible.

1. Decide what sort of holiday you want to go on.

You are picturing a swim up bar, day spa and dinners out that require frocking up. Your travel companion, be it your partner, a friend or a family member is planning treks through the untamed wilderness where the toilets are suspiciously absent. Neither of you will have a good time. Make sure you have discussed your trip ideas with your travel companion or companions. Research independently and come together when everyone has an idea of the things that they would like to do. Let every person have a non negotiable item on their list, something that is the reason they want to travel to this particular destination. Then be prepared to negotiate on other things.

2. Work out how much you can, or want to spend.

No matter how easy going everyone is at home finances can be an issue when people travel together. One person’s idea of luxury can be another’s idea of slumming it. Coming together with research on different places to stay can be a great way to work out what level everyone is on. A holiday kitty is another way to save arguments over money when on the road, where everyone contributes to a communal pool of cash that is then used to pay all joint expenses like taxis and meals.



3. Check the details

This step is never going to be as fun as checking out hotel pool pics on the net but there are some important things that you need to know before you leave the country and these things can’t be left to the last minute.  For starters there are vaccinations.  These might be needed months before you leave to be effective when overseas.  Other medications might be recommended as preventatives, for example to protect against malaria.  Having your passport ready to be stamped at immigration might not be enough to get you in.  Visas are needed to enter many countries.  These might need to be organized in advance or you might need to provide a passport photo and local currency at the border.  Travel advice issued by your government on your destination should also be checked out.  While a country itself might not be considered risky to travel to certain areas within a country might be no go zones.


4. Take out travel insurance

And do it early.  If you have bought flights in advance and something goes wrong in the time between the purchase and the flight your travel insurance could cover you for this. Falling down the stairs and breaking your leg before you leave might not be something that you plan to do but it; along with countless other scenarios is a possibility.  No one would have expected that a pesky volcano in Iceland would cause so much trouble but it did in 2010, putting out air traffic over half the globe.  Check the details of your insurance before you buy, called the product discloser statement, to ensure that the policy will cover you for this sort of event. While reading the PDS check out what it won’t cover when you are away as well.  Common exclusions are motorcycle accidents, adventure sports and terrorist attacks. Travel insurance will be a minuscule drop in the overall cost of a holiday so don’t think about scrimping on it.


5. Don’t over plan.

The excitement of an upcoming holiday does encourage planning.  Hours spent of the internet working out the best places to see, eat and sleep are part of the pleasure of going on a holiday, particularly if this can be done on work time.  However it is important to leave space in your itinerary if you are having a multi-city holiday and to not book everything before you leave home.  Once in a city or town you might find that you like it and want to spend a few more days.  Or a fellow traveler might recommend a guesthouse not in your trusty guidebook.  If you are only traveling to one destination don’t overfill your days before you even get there with ‘must sees’ and day trips.  Leave some time for unstructured exploring.  It’s the best way to stumble across some gems of your own.


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