This post might not be one we want to face but following on from my post about lockdown I thought I’d try and add some more positivity by talking about holidays! I know…it’s a sore subject. A lot of us had dream holidays planned this year for birthdays/weddings/anniversaries that had to be cancelled to keep us all safe but just remember that there is always next year! I just thought I’d talk about how I plan out holidays as I always have a 1-year time-scale for saving up and planning them out so I thought maybe we could put a positive spin on this and say we can start planning and saving from now and hopefully by October 2021 you’ll not only have the budget and plan but actually be able to go to the places we’re planning for, think of it like this…we can’t really go anywhere right now so we may as well start budgeting and see where the next 12 months leads us, let’s go!
- 9/11 museum- £22
- Statue of Liberty- $47 pick tickets up from Battery Park, NY
- Empire State Building- sunrise view $230 (esbnyc.com)
- Central Park
- New York aquarium ($52)
- New York natural history museum ($46)
- New York City harbour lights cruise (£66)
- Walk down Broadway and Times Square
- Grand central station
- East village rock n punk tour
- The Bronx zoo ($80)
- Jamaica bay wildlife refuge
- Rockefeller and attractions
- New York catacombs
Now you’ve planned out where you’re gonna go and saved up for it all it should be pretty close to you going away, by this point its usually about 4 months before the holiday which again, sounds really far away but if you’re constantly putting money away then you might have a little backlog of cash to start this next bit anyway. The dreaded spending money! This bit can be difficult for some as they don’t know how much to take or aren’t sure how much they’ll need for each day. Obviously, I’m not here to tell you how much you should be spending but just realistically think how much you’ll want to spend on your three meals, souvenirs and fuel/parking (if needed) each day, this can require a bit of research to see how much things generally cost in the area you’re staying in but pretty quickly you’ll come to a figure that seems right. Please don’t leave yourself short! It’s always better to take slightly too much and have a good time trying to spend it all than scrimping on a holiday you’ve saved a whole year for!
Also, I’m gonna give you a word of advice, unless you plan to use the same currency in the next three months, spend it all while you’re there! You lose money exchanging it back so you may as well treat yourself to an extra fancy meal, special souvenir or something else you didn't even plan for, you bought the money to spend it so please don’t worry about having nothing left when you get back on the plane! For the first time in January, we used our Monzo cards, it’s a really good card as they don’t charge you for spending money abroad so you can spend in the local currency (always use local currency NEVER pay with GBP abroad on the card) without having to pay ridiculous fees! This felt a lot safer for us too, as we obviously didn't have a small amount of money for a big holiday so it was good to split it 50/50 between card and cash for that reason too. If you don't own something like that it’s definitely worth looking it up.)
And that’s pretty much all the main budgeting done! Woohoo!! There’s only little bits now like booking the car into the airport parking (I always go for the option where they take your car otherwise you’ll be driving around looking for a space, wasting time when you don't even know how long the queues are inside the airport.
About a month before leaving we book our travel insurance too (NEVER EVER GO ANYWHERE WITHOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE), last year we booked an annual one and it was about £30 each for the year which is really reasonably priced and it meant anywhere we went we were covered…but obviously after March, we couldn’t go anywhere anyway! But nevertheless, we’ll be booking annual travel insurance for when we go away next year, I know it sounds boring but it’s so important, you just never know what’s gonna happen (not even to you personally the insurance covers loss of luggage and passports) so you know you’re covered if pretty much anything happens and you can enjoy your hard-earned time away without worrying about a thing.
Finally, the week before we go we choose our plane seats to get the best we possibly can (as well as pre-booking any meals) and then the day before we go away I always print out copies of our flight confirmations, Airbnb locations/confirmations as well as the plane tickets and then put them safely away in a folder in my bag. It sounds like such a dreary thing to do but the last thing I want to be doing at customs is digging around my bag for one silly piece of paper.
And that is it! I wasn’t sure if this was going to be boring or not but I’m guessing if you made it all the way to the end it can’t have been that bad. Personally, stuff like this is really helpful to sort your brain out throughout the madness and excitement of planning a holiday, I just wrote it to maybe help out if you’re a bit stuck on where to start or if you’ve never planned a big holiday before! Also, please don’t think I'm saying this is how you SHOULD do this, everyone is different, some enjoy last minute and seeing what happens but I’ve done that before and it just stressed me out throughout the whole holiday so this calm and methodical approach is what works for me and it might work for you too!
Thinking positively, we have a year from today to try and save what we can so that hopefully if the borders open by the middle of next year we’ll have enough saved to go out booking flights and accommodation straight away! Who knows what could happen in a year!