December is approaching with the speed of a high-speed bullet train. Before it hits you, take a few minutes to think about your end-of-year travel plans before you get stuck with FOMO and Facebook stalking. Here are the five big things you’ll need to consider before packing your bags…
1) How much are you willing to spend?
Credit card re-entry burns notwithstanding, first and foremost, your question should be what you are willing to spend. Take care to consider the expenses that you possibly wouldn’t think of, but really should, upfront.
These include visas, travel insurance, transfers, souvenirs, and spending money. Guided holidays, some cruises and all-inclusive package holidays provide a good idea of upfront costs for travellers on a budget and these are available all over the world. Many tour operators also offer Early Bird Discounts so keep a look out at least six to eight months in advance to grab these great deals.
2) What’s your vibe?
Country bumpkin or city slicker? Ask yourself the ‘why’ of travel, not just the what. Are you travelling for a special occasion, is it a quick break, are you seeking adventure, or in search of new and interesting cultures?
Sometimes a destination may appeal to you in a magazine or on TV. While price is obviously a considerable factor in your decision to visit it, take some time to consider why you would want to travel there, or in fact, why you are travelling at all to ensure it’s the right match for you.
3) Hot or not
For many, December would not be complete without blankets of beautiful snow. For some, however, the perfect December getaway may be spent lounging in the beautiful beach paradise of the Seychelles. Your travel dates and destination selection are highly dependent on how the weather behaves. And while, like the weatherman, you may not always get it right, it is certainly a key consideration before booking. The ski season in the Alps, for instance, is highly dependent on the first snowfalls in December and if you’ve booked too early, you may miss out.
4) Celebrating the Festive Season
Embrace the spirit of the Festive Season in destinations that go all out. Forget the poolside braais and salads and bring out the turkey and eggnog. Cities like London and New York put on a fantastic Festive Season show, getting all dressed up for the holidays.
A favourite are the annual Christmas markets throughout Europe where visitors can delight in delicious gluhwein, warm pastries and beautifully crafted Christmas decorations, among other great buys.
5) Travel with Peace of Mind
Forewarned is forearmed and in a world where security concerns have become the norm, not the exception, travellers can sometimes find themselves on the back foot. First, speak to an expert like an accredited travel agent about your travel plans.
They can advise you whether it is safe to travel to a destination and what precautions to take. Also ensure that you have purchased travel insurance – that you are properly covered for your travel. And finally, take responsibility for your own safety by travelling sensibly, ensuring you have quick access to electronic copies of your documents and advising friends and family about where you are at all times.