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Avoiding the Paradise Blues

STOP! You don’t have time to read this: you aren’t packed. We need to leave soon—we’re going on vacation. What? You don’t know what to bring? Okay, then I suppose it’s best you do take a little time to read this, so you’ll not only know what to pack, but you’ll be certain that the vacation you’re looking forward to is actually going to be as enjoyable and pleasant as possible. If one has never planned a vacation, the minutia can build so that what began as a pleasant adventure quickly turns into a frustrating chore.

If handled incorrectly, poor planning can lead to disaster. There is good news, for if one follows the steps outlined below, a well-planned and pleasant vacation will be the result; in fact, I’ve provided an easy-to-follow chart to illustrate the process of booking a vacation which is followed by specific instructions so anyone interested in getting ready for a holiday can succeed. The process of booking a vacation begins with planning, and choosing the type of vacation one desires is the first step (“Vacation Planning Made Easy”).

Vacations come in all sizes and shapes, but basically, they can be divided into three categories: the leisure vacation—where little is done but relaxing; the sight-seeing vacation—where the goal is to take in all that one can at a particular locale; and the event vacation—where a trip is planned specifically to experience one or more events. Once the type of vacation is determined, the vacationer moves on to choosing a location. If relaxation is the goal, the destinations are almost limitless; however, sight-seeing and event vacations will narrow one’s choices. Whatever the vacation type, when choosing a location, one

can’t forget issues such as the best time to travel to the chosen destination based on things like the weather and the availability of the desired activities (“Planning Your Trip to the Cayman Islands: Cayman Plans”). Location will likely determine the means of transportation, and this is the first critical choice for booking a vacation. Does the vacation call for traveling by car, or by train, or by air? Regardless of the answer, one must also determine whether part of the vacation includes spending time in areas along the way, or if the goal to get “there” as quickly as possible so the vacation can begin.

Traveling by car necessitates one’s choosing between renting a car for the trip or using one’s own. In addition, a route must be mapped based on the time it will take to travel and what stops one wants to (or must) make along the way. If one travels by car and the destination is more than a days’ distance, motel rooms must be booked, gas stops must be thought out, and provisions must be listed and acquired. One would not want to plan to travel by car and run out of gas or food or water along the way, nor would one want to drive all day only to find the lone hotel in the area is booked for the evening (“Travel Info Center” passim).

Traveling by rail requires advanced booking, the acquisition of tickets, and planning a route. The same is true of traveling by air. Unlike traveling by car, traveling by both train and plane are more programmed: unless there is an unforeseen error, the traveler will not need to deal with where to stop, when to stop, how to eat, or where to sleep; however, even trains and planes can have layovers and connections that must be carefully timed. One other difference between traveling by car and traveling by either rail or air is the availability of transportation post-arrival.

If one has a car, there is little worry; however, one who travels by rail or air must consider renting a car or planning other means of transportation for the remainder of the trip. Securing a means of travel must be followed by securing lodging, so part of booking a vacation means looking into the place one wishes to stay. This creates another choice: is spending money on lush accommodations important, or is the activity outside of the room the focus?

Often, it is a combination of the two as the accommodations themselves are part of what make a vacation a vacation. Things to consider include whether or not the location one stays offers any meals onsite or as part of the package; whether or not the location is within reasonable distance to the focal activities of the vacation; and whether or not everyone going on the trip is allowed to stay comfortably at the site—remember, some locations will not allow children or pets or smoking.

Finally, if part of the vacation is to sight-see or take in events, it is imperative that one looks at the availability of those activities before committing to any other bookings. If the perfect plane trip is followed by the perfect room but Cirque du Soleil is black on one night of the trip and sold out on the others, no one is going to be pleased. Having worked hard to plan and book a successful vacation, all that remains is the countdown to the day one leaves. Oh, no—I hear honking outside. That’s our taxi for the airport, and you’re still not packed!

Works Cited

“Travel Info Center. ” California State Automobile Association: AAA. 2006. 29 Sept. 2006. <http://www. csaa. com/travel/tripplanningmaps/0,1444,1003040000,00. html>. “Planning Your Trip to the Cayman Islands: Cayman Plans. ” CaymanIslands-Guide. info. Interactive Internet Websites, Inc. 2006. 29 Sept. 2006. <http://caymanislands-guide. info/planning. your. trip/>. “Vacation Planning Made Easy. ” NWA World Vacations. 29 Sept. 2006. <http://www. nwaworldvacations. com/home/index. do>.

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