It's Smart to Plan That Next Vacation

A little time spent prior to your vacation will net large returns in stress reduction, memory building and costs. The better you plan the more fun you'll have and the less money you will spend. Here are a few tips to assist you with your planning

1. Check and see if there are apartments, condos, or even home rentals available at your destination. Many of these are much less per person than a hotel, and a lot more private. They also offer many luxury features like pools, BBQs, kitchens and more. These properties are often near attractions and the owners often have a lot of inside information to make your travel more fun. Check out Bed & Breakfasts: off season, you may pay less for extravagant lodging and gourmet breakfasts than you'd pay for a ho-hum hotel. You can also look online for great deals on hotels. Remember to join their loyalty program; it will save you money on your next vacation.

2. Find out the off-season for your destination and travel then. There's a world of difference between season and off-season rates. You will also have less of a fight for many of the attractions you are expecting to see. Often the weather is just as great a month before and a month after the high season and the savings are significant. One warning make sure to check the attractions you intend to see to make sure they are open or have different hours of operation in the off-season

3. Check out all-inclusive vacation packages which can save a great deal of money on tours / attractions, lodging, meals, and other amenities. In some places you can get multi-day passes to various amusements or special rates if you go later in the day. Cruises offer an amazing quality of service at an economic all-inclusive price. Cruise companies offer a wide variety of destinations and levels to meet any budget and interest.

4. Saving money on food is pretty easy and a lot of fun. If you are in a rental that offers a kitchen, cook some of your meals. Pick a restaurant or two that you really want to eat at and then plan the remaining meals at your place. It is a hoot to shop away from home. When we travel to Europe we really look forward to hitting the market to see what they have and see what the locals eat. If at a hotel, pick one with a breakfast included. By shopping at the grokers and preparing some of your own meals you will save money and keep off a few of those extra pounds restaurant food puts on you.

5. To get around once you're at that vacation destination can be very expensive. Do not be afraid of buses and light rail to get around town If it makes sense, you do not always need a car. If there are a few of you, see if a car is cheaper in the long haul than taxies, busses, and trains. As a family of six we find that if we are staying in a specific town / venue for the vacation a car is a liability. However, with so many if we are traveling from one venue to another having a car is not only cheaper, but it offers a lot more flexibility
You can in fact have a great vacation without mortgaging the house.

Planning, some research, and an attitude focused on having a great time will help you to have a vacation that you and your family will remember fondly for years to come.

Source by Bill Littler

Italy Travel Info – Plan a Better Trip

Italy is a hot vacation spot and there is so much to see you can get quite overwhelmed planning your vacation. Everybody feels compelled to hit the big three, Venice, Florence, and Rome. These are incredible cities with many great sites to visit and famous objects (art, architecture, etc.) to see. Here's some Italy travel info to help you plan a better trip.

Here's a simple fact, you can not see everything in a single vacation, and the attempt to do so becomes very stressful, robbing you of the fun and excitement you planned. The thousands of years of history found in Italy (about 5,000 years of civilized history to be more precise) make it impossible to absorb in a few days, weeks, or months. You need to decide what you really want to see and build your trip around this rather than try and see everything. I would like you to think about a better way to see Italy with less stress, less expense, and more enjoyment. How? Plan your trip and get out of the major tour cities and into the less strained hill towns and fortified villages.

Say you are planning a trip to Florence. Identify the top three to five sites you wish to see and give yourself two or three days to see them. Once this is scheduled, take out a map of the region and start looking at the many incredible sites within a couple of hours of Florence. The big secondary sites include Pisa (worth a half a day at least), Lucca (also worth at least half a day), and Montecatinni (a spa town with open markets, grand parks, and an ancient hill town overlooking the town below) . To the south of Florence are such well known sites as Siena (easily worth a full day), San Gimingano (get here early to avoid the crowds), and Volterra (worth at least half a day and one of the most interesting of Tuscan hill towns).

By picking day trips to one or two of these other towns between your planned excursions in Florence will allow you to experience a more intimate Italy. Enjoy a walk along the curtain wall surrounding Lucca (the wall is now a park and trail), then pop over to Pisa for a gander of the Tower, Basilica and more white marble than you have ever seen in one place. Another day you can stroll the narrow medieval streets of Siena, Then head on over to Volterra and explore the Etruscans, Romans, and the architecture and fortifications of a typical walled hill town.

Each of these towns is rich in history and tradition and will give you a better sense of rural and small town Italy. Each of the big three have dozens of great secondary sites nearby, all worth a visit, making planning trips as described above easy and fun.

Relax and get in sync with the slower pace of rural Italy, wander the myriad shops and caf├ęs, and watch lovely sunsets or sunrises. A trip to Italy should be fun, relaxing, and certainly a trip of a lifetime. The true beauty of Italy is that you can have several of these "trips of a lifetime", never seeing the same places twice (unless you want to, I know we have).

Ciao

Source by Bill Littler