Be clear on the purpose of this holiday – is it to relax, experience new sights and sounds, keep up with the Joneses, be one with nature or be a culture vulture.
Make sure enough spending money is included and also based on the purpose make sure there is enough for experiences.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Research on possible destinations to make sure they are fit for purpose that is no point going to a theme park heavy destination if you wanted to getaway to be one with nature.
If you only have ten days no point spending a day each way getting to and back from the destination. For a quick getaway, try something short-haul or domestic. There’s always more to be explored in your own backyard.
BOOK IN ADVANCE
Once you decided on the duration, destination and have your budget set, book your flights and accommodation early to get the best value deals. For some destinations, I really recommend booking a year in advance to get the early bird deals.
Get good comprehensive travel insurance when you pay for your flights at least this way you can ensure that your holiday investment is safe –you need to check that you are covered for medical emergencies. You also need to ask your insurer what happens in case of a volcanic eruption or if Foreign Affairs department deems it unsafe to continue travel to your destination prior to departure.
With regard to experiences, make sure you book at least a couple in advance perhaps you wish to consider a skip the line pass- this gives you better orientation / feel for the destination, insider information from a local guide plus bonus of saving loads of time queuing for attractions like Sistine chapel or Eiffel tower with skip the line. Also be prepared that some experiences are weather dependent and may get cancelled and some are highly subscribed that if you don’t book in advance you may miss out. This is why extensive researching helps.
A month before the trip make sure you have six month validity beyond your intended stay on your passport and that your passport is in good condition. Check if you need any visas for your destination.
Decide how you wish to carry your spending money and get a small amount of cash to tide you over the first couple of days. I prefer to carry cash (withdrawn and taken from my home country) and credit card. I have found that withdrawing cash from an overseas ATM attracts unnecessary charges. Moreover they may not be close to where your hotel is and will be wasting precious holiday time running around. Also several boutique outlets and restaurants are averse to taking your credit card plus internet could be intermittent!
Read and reread your itinerary carefully taking note of any schedule changes since you booked, layovers, airport changes or terminal changes. Be particularly vigilant of any early morning or midnight departures as could be easily misread. Arrive early at the airport giving yourself plenty of time.