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Your dream, our knowledge. Plan your perfect 2016 getaway in six easy steps, with just a little bit of help from your HOT travel consultant.
1. Choose the destination
Sounds obvious, but give your brain half a chance and it’ll become increasingly indecisive. One minute it’s daydreaming about bagels in New York, the next it’s envisaging tropical starfish in Fiji. In some ways choosing a destination is the hardest decision, so think about what’s been on your hit-list for a while. The world’s most enticing locations all have their pulling power, but for most people there’s always that one place that trumps the lot. Finalise your choice by jotting down three wish-list destinations and write a pros and cons list for each. Not only is this fun (Brazil: Pros. Caipirinhas! Cons. Caipirinhas headaches.) it’ll also highlight the best from the rest.
2. Decide on a purpose
Which might also help you settle on a destination. Are you after the classic unwind and de-stress, or a life-changing experience that completely removes you from your comfort zone? Maybe you’re purely seeking the sun, or a few energetic weeks in the snow. Make a list of the top 3-5 things you’d like to get out of your next trip and present it to your HOT travel consultant. This could be anything from a physically gruelling personal achievement to finding those NYC bagels you’ve been fantasising about. Their recommendations may surprise you; powder hounds hell-bent on Aspen often leave with flights booked to Niseko, for its abundant snow and longer skiing hours.
3. Settle on a budget
And stick to it. Is this the big trip you’ve been forgoing coffees to save for? Or a quick dash across the ditch for a fee that won’t bruise your bank account? Either way, tally up the cost you’re willing to fork out and write it down. Remember to add an extra $200 for unforeseen expenditures, the fussy ones such as hotel parking, data roaming and restaurants that add a gratuity. Seeing it visually will help you stick to the budget, whereas having a ball figure rolling around your head will instantly permit your brain to say “ahh let’s add a grand on – YOLO!” Write that figure directly under your top three preferences and leave it with your HOT consultant, they’ll sort the rest.
4. Choose your airline
It’s all very well throwing caution to the wind and booking with an airline that offers the cheapest seat, but in reality all carriers offer a different perk, some of which will be more aligned to your needs. Holiday-makers with children usually prefer airlines offering child-appeasing activities. Ever seen a kid preoccupied with a virtual pinball machine? No. That’s because they were so quiet you didn’t even notice they were there. Fly Emirates and “it’s free to blog, post or tweet from your seat” with complimentary on-board Wi-Fi, and then there’s Air New Zealand’s SkyCouch, affectionately known as the 'Cuddle Class' because seats convert into a flat, two-person bed.
5. Pick your accommodation
For some travellers, accommodation is as important as the destination, for others it’s merely a pillow to rest a weary head. Are you happier spending $100 on a hotel room you only intend to sleep, or thrice that price for a breath taking view, Jacuzzi, L’Ocittane toiletries and a fluffy white robe? Holiday accommodation is often integral to the experience, such as romantic over-water bures or a classic French townhouse ‘au centre-ville’, complete with boulangerie beneath your balcony and a next door neighbour called Antoine. If accommodation is priority, pop it at the top of your budget breakdown, this’ll ensure you’ve allowed for sufficient funds and you won’t have to settle for second best.
6. Research your preferred activities
Winging it – sometimes referred to as spontaneity - can be fun. What’s not so fun is returning from Hawaii and realising you visited a mediocre flea market located opposite Pearl Harbour. And you never even noticed Pearl Harbour was there. True story. Happened to this author. Make peace with organisation and pencil-in an afternoon with the internet. Offering countless blogs, logs, apps, Lonely Planet features and newspaper editorials – not forgetting HOT’s very own Inspire webpage – you’ll find a plethora of must-do things to see, discover and partake in. You can then ask your HOT consultant for answers to all the niggly questions, such as how to get there, transport options, pros, cons and prices.
> Read the entire March 2016 edition of Inspire here
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