Here are some of the tools we use to make these truly 'once-in-a-lifetime trips', without breaking the bank:
I have three approaches/strategies (depending on time/money) that determine the trip type and planning method:
Wandering: Sometimes, we are not as constrained by specific dates, places, or types of travel, making the planning more flexible, cheaper, and often much more enjoyable.
Specific Block: Often, we need to be at a specific place and time, restricting our options, but still with some 'wiggle room' on routes in/out or while there.
Last Minute: OOPS! Gotta go. NOW! Of course, these are the most expensive, with many planes/hotels fully booked out already. But if you have to, you have to.
We will place codes (W, S, L) by the tools we prefer for each.
There are very few things you need to do to start, but they are important:
- know what timeframes, special events, and places you need, collated by region ("while I'm there, I really want to...")
- collate any travel-related accounts (like credit card, air, hotel, cruise, or time-shares from prior trips)
- set a realistic budget that enables fulfillment without stressing you later
We recommend that you start your planning by:
- block out the time you have for enjoyable travel
- list regions/events/places to visit, by priority
- get an idea of the relative cost, so you can start planning specifics.