If you haven’t already, early in the year is a good time to revisit your long-term travel plans. We’ve found that five-year travel plans help clients maximize their travel time and money. Here are some of the steps we encourage our clients (individuals, couples and families) to realize their travel dreams. By doing it early in the year, you’ll also remind yourself of the importance of booking summer and holiday trips in advance.
• Step 1: Write a Family Travel Mission Statement. Have all family members sit down and identify what it is they are looking for in travel. Education? Relaxation? Is travel an occasional treat or are they trying to get to every continent before the kids go to college?
• Step 2: Develop a Travel Wish List. Have them think about the places they’ve always thought about visiting but also encourage them to fantasize.
• Step 3: Work up a Travel Budget. While it may be impossible to know from one year to the next how much one can afford to spend on travel, it’s important to do at least a rough budget looking ahead five years.
• Step 4: Identify Time Constraints. School calendars. Work schedules. Sport commitments. These all have to be factored in.
• Step 5: Analyze Age/Interest Differences. While an 8-year-old son might be itching to go to Colonial Williamsburg, the teen sister might have her eyes on Paris. It’s important to please everyone and there are numerous creative solutions a travel agent can offer.
Step 6: Plan Other Getaways. Don’t let
your client lose sight of the importance of setting aside romantic weekends away or
seizing opportunities to go off solo or with college classmates.
Step 7: Write it All Down. Our experience says planning five years out (weekends, holidays, vacations) is the most effective way to make sure our clients go where they want to go. Once your client commits it to a document, they are already on their way.
Step 8: Revisit the Five-Year Plan Annually. We recommend reviewing five-year travel plans once a year or more often if circumstances change (better job or lost job; new baby…what have you).
Susan Farewell is the owner of Farewell Travels LLC (FarewellTravels.com), a travel design firm based in Westport, CT. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @FarewellTravels.