This is the perfect time of year to treat yourself to a well-planned vacation. Take a look at your budget and calendar to see what you can afford and when you can leave.
Make sure it’s the best time of year to visit the destination you desire, recommends Eleanor Dath, Travel Agent for Vision Travel Solutions in Barrie. Choose what kind of vacation you want. Do you want to go on an adventure, relax, experience culinary excellence, visit family, or indulge in a romantic get-away?
“If you don’t have time to do these things, or research isn’t your favourite thing to do, I recommend reaching out to a travel agent who you trust or has been referred to you. They can cut the time in half, offer a variety of options, and suggest unique experiences customized to your needs,” says Dath.
Sustainable travel is becoming more popular because of our increasing environmental concerns and eco-friendly awareness.
“When you travel with care for the people and places you visit, you can make a meaningful contribution to both protecting the natural environment as well as reducing poverty. Start by staying in locally owned hotels, buying souvenirs from local artisans, and eating in locally owned restaurants – ones that are striving to be environmentally responsible through conservation and recycling. This way your money will go directly to the community,” educates Alison Braun, Founder of EarthTreks in Orillia.
Many of us are working hard to decrease our carbon footprint. Pack your own water bottle and avoid buying products made from threatened natural resources, says Braun. “When travelling through fragile ecosystems such as the Amazon jungle, the Galapagos Islands, or anywhere else for that matter, using only Earth-friendly products is strongly encouraged.”
Overtourism is also a growing concern that is affecting some popular destinations such as Maya Bay in Thailand and Venice, informs Dath. “Visit during shoulder, or off-season. This not only helps reduce the number of visitors, but availability and price points are much more favourable. Or, go to a place that’s not as popular, but just as exciting.”
When planning your vacation, make sure you have sufficient travel insurance, ensure your passport is up to date, and check the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisory webpage for specific travel information and warnings.
“Anything can happen, so it’s best to be protected and know exactly what your coverage includes and how you go about processing a claim. There’s nothing worse than finding out your travel insurance doesn’t cover your unexpected situation,” advises Dath.
Braun also recommends making scanned copies of all your documents and credit cards, send them to yourself, or someone you trust, and carry a set during travel. Also, be cell phone savvy to avoid international roaming charges.
“Enable airplane mode for the duration of your trip, set up international data roaming, take your SIM card out and only use free WiFi connections, or unlock your phone before you leave and purchase a SIM card in your destination country. This is particularly effective if you’ll be in one spot for an extended period of time,” says Braun.
Packing for your vacation can always be tricky. Dath says always leave space in your luggage to bring home souvenirs, and roll your clothes instead of folding them to create more space. Follow the 80/20 rule: “20% of what you pack will be 80% of what you’ll actually wear.”
“Leave some key items out of your checked luggage such as your toothbrush, deodorant, and a change of clothes. Try to pack things that don’t wrinkle easily,” says Braun.
You also might want to bring basic first aid items, sunblock, insect repellant, a camera, and snacks. A good book can come in handy, and learning to speak the local language would allow you to communicate with people who know the area and culture best, mentions Braun.
Get planning, get packing, and leave the stress of your everyday routine behind! Travel safe!
Eleanor Dath – Travel Agent, Barrie