The Growth Cycle Of A Perfect Vacation, Part One

Happy May!! Inspired by planting Spring flowers, I thought it would be interesting to take you through the process of “growing” a vacation - from the earliest stages of brainstorming ideas through the final conclusion of an incredible trip. 
Of course, not every vacation is the same, but if you go through these steps, staying relatively close to the order listed, it will make for easier travel. The timing from start to finish depends a lot on what type of trip you are planning, where you are going and what type of traveler you are.  Some people will take a year to go through this process, others can do it in weeks! While I completely understand the value of spontaneity, I also am a firm believer in planning - even if it is planning the last minute trip you are taking, it still pays to be organized! 
I have too much information to share in one post, so I will be splitting it into several parts throughout the week…who is ready to “grow a vacation”??
Gathering the Seeds
It usually starts with a dinner conversation...whether it is date night, cocktails with friends or a family dinner after soccer begin discussing the myriad of random ideas that will ultimately become the destination for your next adventure. Make a list of any and all ideas that are under discussion. During this phase, no idea is a bad one. Keep the discussion going as you narrow down your list to three or four destinations to look into further. 
Laying The Groundwork 

You have a short list of destinations…now you need to lay the groundwork. Most importantly, when will you go? Work schedules, school calendars, holidays and long standing commitments need to be considered when you narrow down the timing of your trip. This will likely lead to the question, how long will your trip be? The answers to many of these questions will narrow your list even more – some places require more time than you may have or, if you have longer, you may want to visit two places on your list! Consider weather and high/low seasons in your possible destinations as well. 
Now is the time to set an overall estimated budget for your trip as well. I often have clients who say “I have no budget” but when presented with a $30,000 price tag for vacation at five star hotels and days of private touring suddenly realize that they actually did have a budget after all. It doesn't need to be detailed (and you can always decide to spend more or less) but it helps a lot to have a rough number in mind before you get started. 
Hiring A Pro
With a list of two or three possible destinations along with your time frame and your budget, now is the time to consult a travel advisor, much as you would hire a great landscaper, to turn your dreams into reality. A good travel advisor will take your parameters and create a cohesive proposal with several  ideas for you to consider. Even if you love planning your own travel, consider seeking the advice of a travel advisor – just as a landscape designer lays the foundation for your garden, a travel advisor will collaborate with you to create travel plans customized to exactly what you want.
Next, we will “plant the seeds” that will become your dream vacation…stay tuned!