I know what you are thinking-what on earth is she talking about Summer Vacation, we just got through Christmas! Well to no surprise, summer is my favorite time of year, and summer vacation is something I think about all year long! I love taking my family to see and do new things. We have had some pretty amazing vacations, each year we try to do something new. If I remember right we have been to 23 different states together so far! As I was thinking of warmer places today (I woke up to -11 degrees here this morning!) I started to think which one of our vacations is my favorite?! I truly have awesome memories from all our trips, but I love the beach, palm trees, and sun! If I had to choose right now-Hilton Head Island would be my winner!
I know its only January, but its definitely not too early to get planning! I usually plan most of my vacations all myself, except with our last trip to Disney, I used a Disney Vacation Planner and she was fabulous. You can check out her facebook page here (https://www.facebook.com/OUAVJorie/?ref=br_rs) Disney is wonderful and a vacation like no other, which also means there are endless tips to help you enjoy every minute of it, which is why we loved having our very own FREE vacation planner! Jorie was great and helped us make unforgettable family memories! All the rest of our trips have been planned by me-usually many many late nights of searching and planning:) The trips we take usually start out with one destination in mind, that I either read about, saw on tv, or visited when I was young. Then, how we get there is the fun part (fun once I figure it out!).
So, like I said never too early to start planning-January is actually perfect timing I think, we usually book our summer vacation in January each year. It helps give us something to look forward to as well. When planning a vacation, I think first off biggest consideration is budget, we have to stay on course with this! I try to research a couple different locations that are on my bucket list and see what we can afford this year. We usually drive for vacations and I know this isn’t for everyone, but definitely makes it more affordable for us. My favorite part of driving is not the are we there yet 100 times, but the ease in packing what I want, how I want, bringing more food, less to stop and buy (healthier and less expensive this way), and seeing things along the way! Each year it seems like I find myself saying-ok kids this is the longest vacation yet, farthest we have gone and this year will be no different! Although I love the beach-this year we will be heading to the Grand Canyon and spending some time enjoying Arizona!!!
So, where do you start?! I used Booking.com this year and last and have been happy. I feel like I get to see lots of great options this way and get great deals. I also like that you do not have to put money down or have your card charged when you book-gives you more time to save up! I also like to double check my hotel reviews on other sites before I book-like trip advisor. Like I said it has been a few years since we have flown, so driving is what I mostly search, we like to use http://www.mapquest.com when planning, especially to plan out our driving days to see how much time is between stops, etc. I recently booked my summer vacation (just last week) and that really takes a load off as far as worrying goes (I am a bit of an over thinker:)
So, now I can more leisurely search out each stop and activities and of course biggest thing of all-GET Saving! I start out by signing up my email at all the major spots we plan on going, as sometimes you get special offers via email and then can purchase tickets, etc in advance. Since I am also a coupon lady, I like to collect points, etc in my fave savings apps and collect gift cards to help out with costs along the way. We all love certain stops, like last year I brought multiple gift cards along for places like Subway and Panera!
It’s never too early to start planning your next fun vacation-I am excited to share my tips and advice too! Where will you go in 2018?! Thinking warm thoughts on this January day:)