How to plan your next vacation trip

The summer sun is peeking out from behind the fading rainclouds of spring, calling you to leave your cocoon and travel the world. Now is the time to take a break, leave your worries behind and explore. When it comes to traveling, a little bit of planning goes a long way. Here, we offer a few simple steps you can take to plan your next vacation trip and make sure it’s more than you could ever hope for.

1. Decide what kind of vacation you want

Take a moment to dream big. If you could go anywhere right now, where would it be? Maybe you’ve been dreaming of going to Barcelona for ages and decide it’s finally time to take the plunge. But if you’re coming up with a blank and feeling overwhelmed with the number of choices available to you, start by determining the overall vibe you’re looking for. Are you longing for the excitement of a big city? If so, New York or Chicago might be the place for you. Are you craving the peace and tranquility of nature? Then maybe destinations like Vallromanes, full of beautiful hiking trails in the mountains, might be more your style. Where do your travel buddies want to go? Brainstorm some ideas with them and let your imagination run wild. The greatest plans start with an intention. Decide what your ideal vacation would be and take steps to make it happen.

2. Evaluate your budget

This may feel like a huge slap in the face that brings you back down to planet Earth, but, as much as we might hate analyzing our bank accounts and crunching numbers, this is a necessary step in the process. You had your moment to dream during step #1; now it’s time to be realistic and find creative ways to make it happen within your limitations. Do some research on transportation, hotels and attractions to estimate how much your ideal vacation would cost. Is that within your budget? If not, where can you cut back? Maybe a direct flight is too expensive, but a two-stop flight reduces the price considerably. Perhaps the hotel you wanted is outside your price range, but another hotel in the same neighborhood offers better prices. Making concessions can get you where you want to go without emptying your bank account. Prioritize your spending. What is it that matters most to you? Maybe your dream is to see a Broadway show; surely, you can cut back on your hotel spending in order to be able to make that dream come true. Or maybe you’re craving a luxurious spa-like experience. Consider taking a trip to one of AIRE Ancient Baths’ locations. There are a variety of affordable packages to choose from for any budget and the healing benefits of this unique type of holistic, thermal-bath pampering may be just what your frazzled mind needs. It’s all about determining what is essential and building your vacation budget around that.

3. Make reservations in advance

Once you carve out a plan, make sure you book your flight tickets and make hotel reservations well in advance, especially during peak seasons. If you procrastinate, prices may go up and spots might fill up quickly. Do some research on the attractions you’re aiming to visit and determine whether you need to buy tickets. If you want to participate in a guided tour of La Sagrada Família, for example, you will most likely need to buy tickets ahead of time. Otherwise, you might find yourself staring up at the basilica from the outside, unable to go on the tour and wishing you had planned a little more. You certainly wouldn’t want your expectations crushed due to lack of oversight. Tourism can be exhausting, so make sure to schedule some time to relax at AIRE Ancient Baths. As with every other attraction, you’ll want to book your AIRE experience early so that you don’t miss out. While you’re getting a candlelight massage and dipping your worn-out feet in a variety of thermal baths, you’ll be glad you reserved your spot on time.

4. Plan, plan, plan...then let go and enjoy

You’ve booked your tickets, you’ve packed your bags and you’re about to board your flight. Your planning has gotten you this far. Now it’s time to release all expectations and go with the flow. Don’t hold on to your plans so tightly that you forget to enjoy the moment even when things don’t go the way you expected them to. So what if your flight is delayed or if the restaurant messed up your dinner reservations? You’re still living a once-in-a-lifetime experience. See the imperfections as colorful stories you’ll be able to tell your grandchildren. Hit the streets and live your dream. Walk up and down Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Tour the Met in New York. Take pictures of La Giralda in Sevilla. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Put your heart and soul into every second, breathe deeply and take it all in.

5. Unwind

Many people forget this step, plowing through tourist attractions at full speed only to arrive home even more exhausted than they were before their trip. In order to avoid feeling that you need a vacation from your vacation, make sure to schedule some downtime after all the fun activities. Sit under a tree in a park for a couple of hours and watch the locals walk by. Enjoy some ice cream by the canal in Plaza de España. Take advantage of your AIRE reservation and enjoy that facial or massage you booked while you absorb the magic of the ancient Greco-Roman tradition of thermal baths. Whatever you choose to do, relax deeply before going home to make sure you return refreshed.