Are you the travel planner in your family or circle of friends? Does everyone look to you for the next destination? “That was great Mom! Where are we going next?”; “Awesome trip Dad! Where are we going this summer?”; “That trip was fabulous sweetie! Can’t wait to see what you cook up next!”; “It’s so great to spend time with our special group of friends in these cool places! Where are we going next year?” Any of this sound familiar?
I spent years formulating new adventures for my family and friends. I loved researching to find just the right combination of activities, downtime and beautiful surroundings, and then planning every detail of the trip down to the color of the car rental. In fact, I loved it so much, I decided to do it for a living. I’ll admit though, there were times I wished I had a travel genie that would magically produce the perfect spot for that next amazing journey.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic solution, but I do have a pretty good method to help you come up with your best vacation ever. Download my Travel Inspiration Sheet (TIS) and print it off. Now, grab a pen and in less than 15 minutes, we’ll be on our way to finding that place in the world that’s just been waiting for you to experience it.
- Make a list of things you love to do. First things first. Take 5 minutes and jot down things you really love to do. Need some inspiration? How about cooking or hiking or viewing art or sitting on the beach with margarita in hand? There are no rules, other than you have to write them down.
- Have anyone going with you make a list of things they love to do as well. If you are including children in your travel plans, this is an awesome exercise to do together. Your kids will feel like they’re participating in the vacation planning, and you just might learn something you didn’t know about them.
- Make a list of things you do NOT want to experience on your vacation. This can be a tricky one. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable traveling where the people don’t speak your language very well. Maybe you don’t want to go when the weather is too hot or too cold. Maybe you don’t like lots of crowds. You get the idea. Knowing what you don’t want is an important factor in finding the perfect spot.
- Think about your favorite vacation ever. Have it in your mind? What was it about that one vacation that separates it from the rest? OK, quick! Write down why it was your favorite.
- Set your budget. Most of the time when I ask people for this, they think I only mean the money they want to spend. The monetary budget is certainly a factor, but actually, the amount of time they have to spend is a more precious commodity these days. Write down your time and money budget.
- Set the timeframe. Are you constrained by school calendars or seasonal work issues? Do you want to travel to a festival or celebration of some kind? If you answered yes to either of these questions, write down the details.
- Pull out that dream destination list. Most people have one, but many just put it away in the back of their mind thinking they’ll get to it someday. Well, today’s the day. Let’s get that list out, dust it off and write it down.
- Ask for expert advice. Now that you’ve got your Travel Inspiration Sheet (TIS) done, you have two choices. You can take the sheet and research your dream destinations to see which one matches the things you love to do and the things you don’t want to experience that’s within your budget in the right timeframe, OR you can hand that TIS to a travel expert and ask for help finding the perfect destination. Guess which one I think you should choose? 😊 In all seriousness, a travel expert will save you time and energy AND they have access to information that’s not readily available to non-travel personnel. Usually, they will have recommendations right off the bat (and many times first-hand experience) about places and activities that will fit that perfect journey you outlined in your TIS. Think of them as a treasure map to your best vacation ever!