Who wouldn’t love more time off? Our days away from work are a chance to relax, unwind… and of course, travel! But since most of us don’t have unlimited leave time or super-flexible schedules, we’ve collected the next best thing: secrets from the TripAdvisor Travel Forums that reveal how to make the most of every moment.
- Schedule your trip thoughtfully
TripAdvisor member Jeannoo has a common-sense tip: “You can extend limited annual leave by linking your trips to long weekends and national holidays. These vary by country and workplace, so plan carefully and get familiar with the dates ahead of time.”
- Research in advance for a stress-free getaway
“Spend at least 10 minutes of research for every 4 hours of holiday time,” advises BradJill. “This equates to 60 minutes (1 hour) a day. You will have insight into what is available there, a better understanding on how to organize your daily sightseeing, upcoming events and dining schedule. You will have a game plan for transportation and other logistics and be aware of health, safety, security, visa and other important issues that may concern you.”
- Find out the best times to go…
Travelholic23 recommends traveling during “shoulder” season: the period between peak and off-peak travel periods. With a little research, you can find out when shoulder season happens in your destination of choice. For example, “April through May and mid-August through October are ideal times to head to Europe when the weather is still warm.”
- And the not-so-good times to go
“Don’t travel in the first few weeks of the school summer holidays,” says emel49. “They are the busiest and most expensive. If you’re planning on taking the family over to Europe during the winter, it’s the perfect time since it’s off season. There are some great bargains to be had and many destinations that are usually overrun with tourists are fairly quiet.”
- Know your travel style and plan accordingly
Here’s some sound advice from BradJill: “If you enjoy exploring and/or leisurely, relaxing visits, visit fewer total number of places and stay longer at each destination. If you like active and focused pursuits and/or enjoy seeing the best a place has to offer but prefer to move on after the highlights, visit more total number of places and stay shorter periods at each destination.”
- Bringing the kids? Pick a family-friendly hotel
“Search for a hotel offering extra amenities or ample room size, both vital when planning a family trip,” recommends mcpinder. In the off-season, “even expensive hotels that rely mainly on business and conferences will drop their prices, which is a bonus as many have indoor swimming pools, which are perfect to entertain the kids. Fee-free perks including complimentary breakfasts can help family travelers save money in the long run, so always consider what’s being offered before a room is booked.” And don’t forget: many family-friendly hotels are bookable right on TripAdvisor.
- Prioritize and set a budget
Take a tip from traveler11223 to avoid stressing about funds: “Planning and keeping track of travel expenditures will help you to recognize, research and narrow down the important things that you are willing to spend on during your vacations. Budgeting appropriately helps maximise your holiday experience as you will get the best bang for your travel buck.”
- Keep an open mind while traveling
“While you may have planned all the details thoroughly, things may happen during one’s travels,” says Avanti_SG. “Keep an open mind and continue exploring the areas – who knows you may end up in unique and pleasant small towns with lovely little shops, weekly markets and fascinating museums.”
- Be present and enjoy it!
And finally, we love this advice from jperrin2011: “Remember that sometimes it is the little moments like sitting in a garden or cafe for a moment when you see something really cool or meet some really interesting people that become those ‘big’ moments.”