October 23, 2015

10 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE Planning Your Vacation

Vacation planning tips 10 questions to ask before planning your vacation
With so many places to go, people to see, and cultures to experience, it is hard to know where to plan your perfect vacation. The world is big place, and everything from vast sandy beaches, to bustling tourist hubs are calling your name. Before you put hours of time into researching flights, booking hotels, and planning tours only to find that it will be raining your ENTIRE stay in the mountains, here are some questions to ask yourself. This short list will not only whet your appetite for memory-making, but it will also give you clear expectations on what you want and how to get it. Happy travels!

1. Location, Location, Location: Is being close the beach, mountains, city, etc. important?
Make a list of location qualifications that are important to you. You might write down things like:

Whatever your taste, be sure to determine exactly what locale is important to you. As vacation rental experts, we know it’s all about location, location, location. Take stock of what’s important to you, then book it fast so you don’t miss out.

2. Expectations: Is this trip about relaxing and getting a tan, or experiencing the culture and seeing the sights?
Your expectations for vacationing will largely determine the location and pace of your trip. If you’re going to escape the busy pressures of work and family, don’t book your vacation chalk full of events, tours and schedules. If you are eager to get out of your hometown and explore, make sure you book favorite attractions (like Disneyland California or whale watching in Dana Point) in advance and schedule out your trip so you can fit it all in.

At many vacation spots, you might have to choose between relaxation and exploration, but in our Southern California beach towns, well, you don’t have to decide between touring or tanning. In Southern California, we do it all! Our freeways connect relaxing beaches to popular California attractions, California activities, and lots of other California points of interest. That's one of the reasons that California vacations are always so popular.

Check out the vacation planning services at Beachside Vacation Rentals for more ideas for pampering and local activities.

3. Money: What’s your budget?
We know, it sounds basic, but this question often gets overlooked. It’s easy to launch into the details of planning and scheduling, but before you do, make sure you have a clearly defined budget in mind.Then, do some research.
  • Book flights earlier.
  • Narrow down favorite California attractions and activities, and look up the cost.
  • Determine where you are you going to eat. Staying at a vacation rental allows you to do the shopping and cooking—saving money from having to eat out if you are staying at a hotel.
  • Talk to our reservations team about your budget, and your number of guests. You'd be surprised how many travelers can stay all together in a beautiful house for a reasonable price.
Not sure whether a hotel or a vacation rental will better suit your needs? Take a look at our blog post comparing hotels and vacation rentals .

4. Length: How long am I going to Stay?
Two nights? A week? Two weeks? Unlike hotels, most vacation rentals have minimum night stays so check out their minimum night policies before booking (our minimum stay is 3 nights in the off season, and one week during summer).

The length of your stay can also determine the size of your accommodations. Being trapped in a hotel room with lots of people for an extended period of time can dramatically take away from your hard earned vacation. Check out our next question for our thoughts on this.

(P.S. if you're planning an extended stay, call us at 800-408-1822 and ask about our monthly-exclusive rentals. These properties are available only for 31 nights or more, and offer all the comforts of home.)

5. Home Sweet Home: Am I fine cramming my family into a hotel, or am I looking for a home/condo so we have room to spread out?
Some people like the closeness and economy of piling into a hotel room. However, if you’re looking for a home away from home experience, a vacation rental is the way to go. From being steps away from the beach, to down comforters, and full kitchens, vacation rentals are for large groups, intimate couples, and all those in-between looking for the ideal vacation experience.

Need more info? Check out these other blog posts:

6. Attractions: What are the kids going to do?
Great question. We all know that when the kids are happy, everybody’s happy, so if you’re planning on traveling with little ones, kid-friendly attractions and events are important. If you plan on visiting Southern California, there’s a slew of fun things you and your kids can do together, like making sandcastles on the beach, spending the day at Knott’s Berry Farm, whale watching, or visiting holiday pumpkin patches and Christmas tree lightings. If you're traveling with young children, be sure to take a look at our top tips for traveling with kids .

Of course, if you are planning on a more kickback vacation then making sure your accommodation has enough to keep everyone happy is going to be important. Beach houses with pools, spas, games, large screen TVs give you stuff to do when not out and about. Take a look at our top vacation rentals for families for our recommendations for vacation rentals that will keep everyone happy.

7. Timing is Everything: When to Visit?

When you visit can be the difference between sitting stranded near a snowless ski hill, crowded in a hotel during island thunderstorms, or basking near the oceanside—the picture of vacationing bliss. In some places, the only time to visit is during the high season (popular summer or winter months), when tourism is at an all-time high and prices are even higher.

With a California vacation, you have a lot more flexibility. There's really no wrong time to visit Southern California. At our balmy southern California beaches, the shoulder seasons of spring and fall offer just as many attractions and enjoyable opportunities as the busy summer months. Here are 5 reasons to consider planning your vacation during the shoulder season .

8. Foodies: Are you going to eat out all the time, or enjoy meals in the comfort of your home?
We foodies know, vacationing is all about the food. Yeah, sightseeing and sunbathing is cool, but not as awesome as the pork carnitas gently braised in decadent coca-cola marinade from South of Nicks, or tantalizing flavor-dense bacon from Antoine’s Cafe. Do you see yourself experiencing local vibes from the city’s best diners, or would you prefer to cut costs and cook up your favorites in the privacy of your kitchen? If the latter is more your style—or if you want to experience a mixture of both—consider investing in a vacation rental with a full-scale, implement-stocked kitchen.

9. Quality or Quantity, Rugged or Refined: What’s your style?
Is your ideal vacation backpacking in Europe, tenting in the redwoods, or hiking the Pacific Crest Trail? Or do you like the idea of a luxurious home-base, with amenities, helpful concierge services, and room to relax. It’s all about you. We won’t be able to help much in Europe, but if you would prefer a beachside getaway in a comfy coastal condo... we’ve gotcha covered at Beachside Vacation Rentals!

10. Purpose: Who to bring?
Finally, what’s the purpose of this trip? Reconnecting and relaxing with girlfriends , bonding as a family, or celebrating an anniversary?

It’s important to determine the goal of your trip, and figure out who will come with you in advance so you can make sure to choose a vacation rental that sleeps and seats all the guests you are bringing. Also, who you bring could also determine what you need to bring, as well as special features you'll need at your vacation home. For instance do you need baby gear for your youngest guests? Does your California lodging provide these (we do) or do you need to rent them? Do you need a ground floor bedroom for an elderly parent? Do you need office space for a guest who needs to work during the trip?

Make a list of who is coming with you, and what features they need. Forgetting to make these calculations could result in a cramped living space. Whatever the goal of your trip is, we trust that it will be special and leave you with lifetime memories.

There’s a lot to think about when planning a vacation.
But if you answer all of these questions in advance you'll  be well on your way to a perfect, low-stress trip!

If you have any questions about choosing the perfect vacation rental, or about our local beach towns, feel free to give us a call at 800-408-1822 ! We would love to help you figure out the where and when of your vacation, and help you choose the ideal home away from home for you and your guests.

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