I have traveled most of the north island of New Zealand and all it took was weekend away and a little bit of good old research to do it. This is my process to planning a holiday 🙂
1) Time-Frame– Figure out how long your holiday is? Is it a weekend? Two weeks school holidays? or summer break for 3 months? Once you know your duration you can begin planning your budget. Obviously, the longer it is the more the budget will be unless you compromise.
2) Location, Location, Location- If you’re wanting a weekend get away you will want to stay domestic. Somewhere that is within a 3 hour drive or flight. If you’re driving/flight time is longer you will not have enough time to relax on your trip as weekends are 2-3 days. If you have over 5 days then you look at them international destinations. Do you want beach? Heat? Snow? A fun way to choose a location is check out what flights are on special. The price might be right to fly to Japan and that might convince you.
3) Flights/Transport- Research your options for transportation and/or flights. One of my favorites sites for flights is Expedia as they have a rewards system (I love rewards). But make sure you compare with the airline websites to make sure you’re getting a better deal. If you’re not flying make sure you have transport. Your own vehicle? Check the water, oil and pump up the tyres for long drives. Catching a bus? Pre-book your ticket online and make sure you prepare some entertainment as bus trips can be long.
4) Accommodation- This is my favorite part! If I am going somewhere tropical I want to stay at a resort. If I am going to a location where there is plenty to do I will get basic accommodating as I know I won’t be spending heaps of time there. Figure out how many nights you will be staying and most websites give discounts on long-term stays. My most used sites would be Trivago, Booking.com and Airbnb. Trivago is a hotel search engine which automatically compares hotel websites and gives you the best deal. Booking.com usually comes up as one of the best deals. What I love about Booking.com is that you do not have to pay upfront. You pay when you stay. The next one, airbnb is considerable less expensive as you are usually staying in a room within someones house. It is not hotel accommodation but if you’re on a budget is comfortable. You can go to a backpackers but I tend to sway more to a bit of luxury.
5) Things to do- Find out what you can do at your location. Tripadvisor is pretty good and even blogs are great. I love to search my location in instagram and you can see things to do, simply tap on the photo to see if any companies or services are tagged and research away! For food, I have an app called Zomato which gives you reviews on different places to eat. There is a cool website for New Zealanders called Bookme.co.nz which offers cheap deals on adventure tourism.
6) Transportation– how will you get around? Most hotels and resorts have a airport shuttle or pick up/drop off service. Most tours and adventure tourism do hotel pick ups and drop off too. Research whether you want to hire a car, scooter or public transport. Most countries have Uber and in Asia they have an app called Grab which offers the same service.
7) Budget- Now you have done most of your research you will know what sort of budget you are needing to get what you want out of the holiday. You may have to compromise certain things to maintain your budget such as your luxurious hotel for that parasailing. Just make sure that what ever budget you decide that you can afford it and that you give yourself some spending money on food and shopping.
8) BOOK- Now you have done your research and figured out what your budget is you should go an head an book all your dates, flights, accommodation and you can even book your activities. I have a friend who actually prints out hard copies of all her booking confirmations and organizes them in a clear file folder.