5 steps to planning a perfect holiday

Jen Lee22 Oct 2020
HomeBlogTravel tips advice and guides5 steps to planning a perfect holiday

Hurray! It’s time to make your holiday dreams a reality. But there’s so much research to do, things to book and bits and pieces to organise. 

So, what is the best way to plan a holiday? Here are our top tips on how to plan the perfect holiday without the stress.

1 - Choose your destination and timeframe

First things first - you need to decide where and when you want to go.  

Whatever your travel jam, the first step is deciding on the destination.  

Where do you want to go?

Do you want to plan an international vacation? Perhaps you dream of fanciful fun at Disneyland in Paris? Maybe you want to shop till you drop in New York? Or, relax in style in Dubai? For these destinations and travel styles, all-inclusive holidays can be a great way to go as you’ll know exactly how much it’ll cost ahead of time.

If you prefer the idea of holidaying in your own backyard or designing a custom adventure, choosing your destinations and booking in each element may be a better option for you. 

Something else to consider is who you’re planning to travel with - many families prefer to go to safe holidays destinations, while solo travellers may be seeking a bit more of an edgy destination. You may also have budget constraints and want to look for a destination where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck. 

Whichever destination you choose, make sure it’s one that'll make you smile. 

Wherever you go, do something you’ll never forget.

When do you want to go?

Once you’ve locked in the destination, think about when you’d like to go.

If you have the flexibility to take your holiday when you choose – consider the following:

  • What’s your favourite season – summer, spring, autumn or winter?
  • Do you want to enjoy peak or off-peak times? Off-peak can present better deals, but peak season is often when exciting events are happening, or the weather is optimal.
  • Consider if there’s an annual event you would love to experience at your dream destination.

2 - Set your budget

Whatever travel dream you desire, the whole point of a holiday is to have fun, relax and create happy memories. That’s exactly why you need to make sure you can afford it before locking it in.  

It’s all well and good to create your dream holiday, but reality (unfortunately) does come into play here. Is this something you can realistically afford? A great place to start is to figure out how much wiggle room you have in your weekly budget - then search our deals via weekly instalment amount to see where it could take you. 

Our budgeting search tool allows you to search your holiday by total or weekly budget. And it also allows you to see how much your weekly instalments will be prior to departure.

Know how much your holiday will cost? It’s time to start saving. 

Not sure how much to save for your holiday? Easy peasy. Start by writing down where every dollar goes - even those coffees before work. Then look for ways you could cut back!  

Stand by your savings. Transfer it into a separate bank account for ‘holiday savings’. Alternatively, find the perfect layby holiday and stay paying for it now. 

Of course, it’s tempting to jump in feet first, but there are plenty of deals out there. Make sure you find one that’s the right fit for you.

3 - Book it in

It’s time for the best bit, booking your trip!

Not so fast! Before you get carried away, particularly if you’re booking your holiday online, take your time to check, and double-check, all the details: 

Before you book, check:

  • Your passports are valid for more than six months after you plan to return. 
  • Visa entry requirements for your destination.
  • Vaccine requirements for your destination and their timeframes (some need to be administered two months before departure). 
  • Accommodation options within your budget to match with your travel or flight dates.

Once you’ve booked:

  • Organise travel insurance straight away. (Live link to insurance one live)  
  • Keep all booking documents safe and in one place. (Your personal Play Travel account will hold all of your travel details in one, easy-to-access place.)
  • Lock the dates in your calendar.
  • Celebrate - you’re going on holidays soon!

4 - Plan the detail

Now you know where and when you’re going, you can start planning the finer points.

Decide what you want to do

Do you want an action-packed holiday? Think lots of activities, cultural experiences and amazing food adventures? Or would you rather have absolutely nothing booked in? Just a daily meander along the beach with perhaps a massage before sunset? Or maybe a combination of both?

There are oodles of ways to find out what to do at your destination. We suggest perusing travel blogs and tourist websites to start. Then doing a call-out to family and friends on social media for unique ideas from those who’ve travelled there before.

Decide how you’re going to get around

You’ll probably want to get out and about while you’re away. Will you need to book a rental car or buy transport passes for buses, trains or ferries? Are you happy walking to places, or hiring bikes or catching a cab? 

Whichever option you go for, book it in advance to save yourself time and money.  

Decide how you’re going to keep track of it all

Planning your itinerary is super exciting, but it can be a little overwhelming. Thankfully there are plenty of trip planner apps to help you stay organised. Have a dig around and find the best one that works for you. Then, start keeping track of all your holiday plans in that one, central place.

5 - Enjoy your trip!