How to Plan Your Travel
The world is a wide and wonderful place. Trying to decide when and where to travel next can be a difficult decision. That is where the services of a travel professional can smooth the way to help you to narrow your choices and discover your possibilities.
Where and When
Many travelers want an escape from the weather. If you want to follow the sun, here are a few tips:
If you live in the north, there are many destinations to explore in the southern hemisphere. Our winter is summer south of the equator. November – February are the prime summer months in Australia, New Zealand and South America.
Australia is a multi-trip destination. It is the size of the United States and deserves to be seen and explores in regions, not in a single whirlwind trip. Sydney is in the South and closer to the Antarctic, so tends to be a milder climate. The Great Barrier Reef lays to the north near Cairns and is closer to the equator, and warmer year around. Of course, the natural wonder of Uluru (Ayers Rock) is in the middle of a dessert. The west coast of Australia, much like our west coast is great place to explore wine country, beaches and interesting animals and landscapes.
In South America, the Galapagos Islands are a great destination to think about in the winter. Spend some time in Ecuador, prior to the trip to the islands. Ecuador operates on the US dollar and is a great destination to explore the Amazon before seeing the extraordinary sights of the Galapagos chain.
For the skiing crowd, who can’t wait until the snow hits in winter, you can spend your summer south of the equator and ski in New Zealand July- September.
If you prefer to travel during our summer months of June – August, it is wise to plan ahead. Europe is a popular destination that time of year, but can be crowded and in some places, such as Italy, many businesses are closed as the locals go on their own holidays. Summer is a great time to visit the northern destinations. Alaska, Scotland, Iceland, and Scandinavia are all better seen in the summer months. For heartier souls, the Northern Lights are seen in the winter, but the weather is a factor and you are not guaranteed a sighting.
Travel with Less Crowds
The travel industry calls spring and fall the shoulder seasons. If you can get away, these are the best months to travel almost anywhere in the world. Again, our spring is the fall south of the equator. Whether north or south, the crowds are fewer and the weather is unpredictable, but often lovely. Spring flowers or fall foliage are a wonderful back drop for exploring new places and new faces. In a destination, such as the Netherlands, the tulips are in full bloom in the spring. There are many tours and river cruises that can show you this splendid site. Often the rainy destinations of Ireland and Scotland are sunny, if chilly, during the shoulder season and prices are lower.
Easter is a major holiday in many Catholic countries of Europe. This can be a time of high volumes in the tourist trade, so it may be best to try and avoid it if you do not wish to compete with the locals. However, is also a great opportunity to see how other cultures celebrate. One example is the German traditions of Carnival, at the beginning of Lent. It is almost like the American Halloween with many parties, costumes and parades.
Winter travel is the lowest season. Many of Europe’s outstanding Christmas markets are a great destination for this season. Either by river cruise, tour or as an independent traveler. These markets are a bucket list experience for those who love Christmas.
When to Start Planning
Ideally, 9-12 months in advance of a trip is a good time to start planning. In January, think about summer and fall travel. In March, think about fall and winter and so on. It is possible to plan more last minute, but your options are more limited as space fills up and the airlines raise prices. If you are budget minded, the further in advance you start to plan, the better you can save and get early booking deals. If you are more last minute, try and be flexible with your destination. There is always someplace to go off the beaten path and sometimes this is a better experience anyway.
The world is a place full of different cultures, nature, geography and people. Make a list, prioritize what you want to see and then make a plan to get out there and explore. You will be a changed person from you experiences with a broader world view and a more compassionate outlook. Contact us, and we can take the complicated planning from you to craft a trip of your dreams.