Congratulations! A trip is on the horizon! Whether this is a well deserved vacation, or you'll be traveling for work, planning is key (even for the most spontaneous at heart) to ensure you make the most of your time. If you have an area in mind, take a look at a guide book and consider the following:your time.
Weather - Travel is simplified when weather is clear. Knowing when the rainy season occurs or the month with greatest snowfall can be helpful. Severe weather can delay transportation, make outdoor activities and sightseeing challenging and will cause more frequent clothing changes and bulkier packing. Of course, weather can never be guaranteed, nor predicted entirely by the calendar, but yearly averages will help you pack and prepare.
Local Holidays & Festivals - Local festivals in the area you are visiting are a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Keep in mind that these events may also bring crowds, so look into planing your accommodations early, as rates will increase and space will fill up as it approaches. Regional, religious and bank holidays may alter opening times of restaurants and tourist attractions as well as transportation schedules.
Currency/Economy- Know your destination's currency. Keep your eye on the exchange rate as you trip approaches so you are aware of your costs while on the road. Your credit card and bank company will know the daily exchange rate - you should too! You don't want any surprises when you get home. Having an idea of the cost of living (food, drinks, transportation, accommodation) compared to your day to day will be helpful for budgeting for the trip as a whole.
Sites & Attractions- Something has caught your eye about this destination, otherwise you wouldn't be headed there. Look it up! Find its opening hours (and days!), feasibility to purchase tickets in advance, and how you plan to get there and back. Many museums have free entry once a week or once a month - this can dramatically change the number of other visitors, possibly impacting your experience.
Most of us begin planning our next trip 8-12 months in advance, but don't put your trip on the back burner once the logistics are confirmed. Keep thinking, reading, researching - it's all part of the fun and will build excitement! The more you know about it, the more you'll appreciate it!