Once you know where you want to go in vacation planning, the next step is to determine how to visit. In Part I, we listed what US News and World Reports claims are the Best Vacation ideas. This is one list of destinations.
Not just where, but how to visit?
But there’s more to the story than just coming up with a great vacation idea
Once you identify where, you need to know how. How are you going to vacation? You can do it yourself, take a land tour, or an ocean or river cruise. Let’s look at each. And we’ll use Paris as an example.
Do it yourself
You can simply fly to Paris, pick a hotel and stay for several days. Each day you’ll need to figure out and arrange what you want to do. Maybe one day you’ll take the hop on / hop off bus to get oriented. Another day you’ll spend time in one of the museums. Perhaps another day you’ll walk the city, photographing as you go. Each day, you’ll get recommendations on where to eat from the hotel staff or on line reviews.
The words “tour” is very misleading as there’s so many varieties these days. Here’s some examples
- City tour – light. Here, you book with a tour operator who has curated specific hotels with pre negotiated rates. Typically an overview city tour is included and a local contact is available to provide specific daily guidance. sometimes you can get preferential airline rates via the tour operator as well.
- City tour – escorted. In this scenario, hotels, many meals and tours each day are included. There’s plenty of down time in between as well. This is great because someone has throught through all the details for you, found the best values and ensured that you won’t miss the best parts. Plus you won’t have to deal with speaking French if you don’t want to.
- Regional tour – escorted. While flying all the way to Paris, why not explore other parts of France. here the tour operator takes care of all transfers, tours, many meals and of course the hotels. You won’t have to take lug your baggage around either.
Paris lends itself wonderfully to river cruising. The Paris to Normandy cruise is very popular. In this case you never have to pack and unpack, yet you see an awful lot of the Seine. Many passengers will fly in several days before or after the cruise to further enjoy Paris.
And while Paris is obviously not an Ocean port, many destinations are perfect for an ocean cruise. In the case, you would see the destination for a day and move on. Again, no packing and unpacking while having the assurance of great meals and service every day.
Many flavors of how to visit
In each of the three cases above – do it yourself, land tours and cruises – there’s many flavors available. Everything from budget options to very high end luxury options. So it’s not just where and how but also, how much. How much you want to spend is a big determinant of how much you’ll enjoy your vacation.
Which way is best? It depends of course. And this is exactly why working with a great travel agent (or advisor) makes so much sense.
Let’s get back to the US News and Worlds report – best vacation ideas. Sure picking a great destination is a big part of “best”. But picking how to visit that destination is every bit as important. And of course determining how much you want to spend goes a long way to determining if it was the best vacation.
To learn more about how to visit your favorite destination:
- Follow this link to learn more about river cruises
- Here’s just one article highlighting ocean cruise ships. If you search the site, there’s plenty more, including some great travel blogs to Tahiti and the Galapagos.
- Here’s one example of an escorted land tour. But really, you can go anywhere in the world.
- Here’s an article on going it alone