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How To Plan a Successful Vacation
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by Maxwell Trdina

You see the pictures all the time, beautiful shots of the New York City skyline or breathtaking views of the wilderness from the deck of a wooden cabin. Everyone wants to visit somewhere, but once the thought of planning a trip comes along, the drive to go suddenly diminishes. Whether it be due to cost, time, or just the hassle of organizing a trip, something is just a big-turn off to traveling.

Contrary to popular belief however, planning and traveling isn’t hard at all. In fact, the single hardest aspect of traveling is usually not the trip itself, it’s finding a solid group of people who want to go with you. Other than a few small ifs, traveling isn’t hard at all.

When planning a trip, a good first step is to find an event of some kind where you want to visit. Whether it be a concert, a sporting event, a festival, or something else, an event of some kind gives you something to plan around, wherever you want to go. Look at tour dates for your favorite bands, check the schedule of sports teams you’d like to see, and keep an ear out in general — sometimes you just hear of cool things out of the blue. This isn’t a necessity by any means, but is helpful as it will keep you busy.

This is where you pitch your idea to anyone who might be interested. After this point in planning, everything requires a definite number of travelers. Take a quick look at hotels near your destination and figure out how you want to travel. Do some quick number crunching and come up with an approximate price. Make sure you can bring everyone who’s interested up to speed with what you’re currently planning, as a lead traveller you will be held with more responsibility and must be knowledgeable and worthy of trust (especially when it comes to handling money).

Now you have your core group of travelers, and it’s time to book a room. This can quickly become complicated if not handled correctly. Individual hotel policy and state/federal law come into play here and can wreak havoc if you don’t check up on them. Check to see the minimum check in age for hotels near your destination. most hotels require you to be 18, but some hotels require a check in age of 25. This is purely at the discretion of the hotel. Some may require you to place a deposit on your room. If you’re ever in doubt, don’t be afraid to contact the hotel directly and ask.

Federal law also states that a standard hotel room can have no more than four occupants. This is not hotel policy and cannot be negotiated. Generally speaking, this means that four is also the most cost effective travel size. You should also be concerned about the location of your hotel. It’s generally best to pick the option closest to where you want to spend most of your time, as even if it means a small price premium, you will save in transportation costs/hassle. Also, familiarize yourself with the hotel’s check in and check out times. If you check out too late, you will be hit with a fee.

Now you just have to figure out how to get there. If you’re visiting a large city such as New York City or something of similar size, you should consider taking either a train or a bus. Driving is a occasionally feasible option, but parking in a large city is expensive and can very quickly become very cost-ineffective when added on top of gas and tolls. Taking a train or a bus is usually your best option. Trains are usually more expensive than buses, but are generally more direct and faster than buses, and offer many of the amenities you would find on an airplane, such as food service, wall outlets, and free WiFi. Taking a bus is the most barebones method of travel, and is the slowest way to your destination, but is also the cheapest way to get there.

After traveling a few times, it becomes readily apparent that there are no hard and fast rules for traveling, but there are plenty of ways to make it easier for everyone involved.