Hey Clever Girls!
Summer is just about here and if you’re anything like me, you’re counting down the days to that long-awaited vacation. We’re not alone. With school out and the heat moving in, it’s the busiest time for travel. But if you’re seeing that countdown dwindle and are getting anxious for being unprepared, don’t worry! I’m here to help with your summer vacay game plan!
Oh, so you don’t have a summer vacation planned? Why not?! Okay, okay, I get it, money and time can put a damper on things. But I really think we can find a way around them both. Sometimes, you just gotta make the plans for everything else to fall in place.
So when it comes to budget, we have a couple options. First, you can really plan ahead and start saving months in advance. My financial advisor husband would be über proud of you! But if that’s just not what's going to happen, that’s okay! You still deserve a vacation, girl! Make a staycation out of it. Go camping (or glamping). Look up some last minute deals online or by calling resorts. A lot of resorts sell day passes that can be super relaxing and feel like a total splurge even if you’re not staying the night. At the very least take a day trip to someplace around town you’ve been dying to go, but have never been. My thoughts are, everyone needs to step away and refocus and as long as you’re taking a second to do that, it doesn’t matter where it is. Just getting a change of scenery can do wonders!
Another way to save is by being flexible. Whether that’s flexible on the location or flexible on the dates. Moving around peak times can save you money and headaches. Especially for summer! I like to keep my summer vacations doing minimal activity and avoiding crowds. Give me a lake, a pool, or a beach and I’m happy. When I had my first trip to Disney World in the off season, I vowed to never go back during peak season again! But of course, I don’t have kids in school, so it’s much easier. If you can, I suggest saving the city excursions and theme parks for the beginning or end of summer and in the off season if it’s possible.
That being said, know what your group wants out of your trip and plan ahead. If Carrie and Charlotte want to take it easy by the pool and Samantha and Miranda want to get out and explore, it’s much easier to please everyone if you have days or times laid out ahead of time. And yes, I’m on a fictional vacation with the gals from Sex and the City. Why not?! But as much as it’s nice to have a general idea of what you want to see and do, don’t go too crazy. Make sure to leave some room for spontaneity or suggestions from locals!
In addition to planning your itinerary before you leave, you’ll want to make sure and check out the local laws, customs and traditions. It’s important to know of any dress code so you don’t stick out as a tourist or even worse, offend someone. I’d also look up national holidays around your travel dates. Especially if you won’t have access to internet immediately. I unknowingly flew into Milan for my summer abroad on a holiday and found what should have been a bustling city to feel more like a ghost town. It just would have been good to know why I felt like I was in the setting of a Stephen King novel. Also, be sure to keep your passports and visas up-to-date so you won’t have any problems on the return. And if you’re taking several trips, invest in TSA precheck and/or Global Entry. Every time I go through the line I talk about how much it is worth the purchase. Lastly, don’t forget to have emergency contacts and action plans in place including checking on your health coverage ahead of time.
After planning is the not-so-fun-part, PACKING! Of course, you’ll want your blingsling® ready to go with all your jewelry safely stowed. But don’t forget to pack layers to go with those accessories. My trip to Paris last year was forecasted to be in the sixties and ended up being in the nineties! My full sweaters and booties should have had layers to them that I could have peeled away as the day went on, but they didn’t, and I was miserable. If you’re looking for a list of essentials to bring, check out my earlier post here with a packing list that works great for summer, too.
Now that you’ve done all the work ahead of time, relax and enjoy your adventure! I recommend getting involved with the local culture, food and events are my favorite ways to experience it! Recommendations from someone who lives there are always the best. And if some things don’t go totally as planned, that’s okay! The little hiccups can lead you to something you never would have thought of and totally love! Take some time to disconnect, but be sure to share all of your #clevergirl adventures with us when you get back!
Happy sweet summer travels!
Love. Inspire. Grow. Enjoy.