Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to plan, you’re planning to fail”; and I couldn’t agree more. It’s January, we’ve recovered from the holidays and it’s time to take a look at the calendar to decide what vacations you’re going to take this year. I am all for spontaneous getaways, but for most of us, the calendar is a factor in our trip planning. So I say, create a “Dream Vacation Calendar” for the year. Why do this? Because the sooner you book, the greater the likelihood you’ll get a better deal on price. For instance, “wave season” in the cruise industry starts January 1 and runs through the end of March. This is the period of time when A LOT of cabins get booked for the year. I suggest using a printed calendar so its a visual you can look at day-to-day for motivation! So let’s get planning!
1. First, add the list of the federal holidays this year for 2020.
2. Next, add your blackout dates.
These are the days by which you CANNOT travel due to your personal circumstances. Big work functions, school commitments like parent/teacher conferences, etc.
3. Next, add any special event confirmed dates or “holds”.
A “hold” is not a confirmed event, but your hedging your bets contingent on other factors. With all this data, you are better equipped and light years ahead of most people, to take your desire to travel and make it a reality by adding it to your calendar as a “hold”.
Now, I understand everybody’s individual situation is different, but my suggestions (forthcoming) are just that. Perhaps you can shoot for one “big vacation” this year and one or two smaller “extended weekends” strategically placed for when you believe they will be most beneficial to you. It’s also worth deciding whether or not you’re are bringing the kids.
Are you planning to take a “big vacation” in 2020? If so, then can you afford it? If you can’t, then when/how will you save for it and how is that relative to the scheduling. By the way, I characterize a “big vacation” as any trip longer than three overnights usually traveled to by airplane. Any vacation three nights or less, I categorize as an “extended weekend” even if it’s taken in the middle of the week. While we’re on the subject of duration, remember to respect the travel day. A three-night “extended weekend” includes two travel days. That’s why I reserve those trips for ones I can travel to with ease by car or train.
It’s also worth remembering peak season, value, and shoulder seasons. Every place in the world typically has weeks or months which fall into one of those three basic categories. When you begin to hone in on a place or experience, find out when their peak season is by reaching out to your travel agent or by calling the place directly.
In the coming weeks, I’ll share parts 2-4 on creating your dream vacation calendar. If you have any additional thoughts or questions, then please leave them in the comments below.
About The Author
Erik Hastings, a.k.a. Erik the Travel Guy is an EMMY award-winning television personality who is rapidly emerging as “America’s Travel Expert”. He is the host and managing editor of the internationally syndicated television series "Beyond Your Backyard" for public broadcasting stations (PBS) and other networks/VOD platforms. Erik leads an incredibly talented team of industry pros as the driving force of his platform. Erik understands and believes travel makes the world a better place and the industry directly supports millions of families all over the world. He wants his viewers to experience the potentially life-changing positive power of travel.
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TV Series: Beyond Your Backyard
I am on a mission to get you traveling more often. As the host of the Emmy award- winning, nationally syndicated television television for PBS and the Create channel, "Beyond Your Backyard," I travel (on average) 25 weeks per year. I am very grateful for the opportunity to meet cool people, experience new places, eat delicious food and work with the best production crew in the world. Hopefully, through this blog, you will join me on my travels and be reminded just how exciting it is to be alive!