3 Tips for Choosing a Vacation Destination

With so much world to see, how do you choose a vacation destination?

 

My bucket list is at least a mile long. Israel, Bali, Myanmar, Peru, Portugal, Russia…these are just a few of the places I’m dying to visit. But I’m open to traveling just about anyplace, which means I have a terrible time choosing where to go. Each year, I can only get to three—maybe four—countries. So how do I decide which ones to visit?

Here are three tips to help you choose the perfect vacation destination when you’re not sure where you want to go.

Decide What’s Most Important: Date, Budget, Destination

When you’re searching travel sites for vacations, there are a few different ways you can filter the results: date, price, and place. So before you even begin your search, decide which of these is most important to you. Are you a sun seeker or a skiier? Do you like farms or cities? If you have a specific type of activity you like to do or part of the world you want to see, narrow your search using those details. Otherwise, if you’re open to any destination, your best bet is to base your decision on date and price.

Perhaps, you can travel any time of year, but you only have $1,500. Sort your search by lowest to highest price. This way you won’t end up flipping for something with a hefty price tag that’s out of your budget. You may be surprised by what you find. There are plenty of times I’ve booked a trip someplace I didn’t know I wanted to go because I found a smokin’ deal. But beware…You know how they say not to try on a wedding dress that’s out of your budget because you’ll fall in love and nothing will compare? Well, vacations work the same way. Don’t look at river cruises if you’ve got a Carnival cruise budget—no offence to Carnival. It’s just a lot cheaper than other options.

If you know you only have four days of vacation time, and you can only take days off in September, filter your search by date and number of days. You’ll weed out a bunch of options that don’t apply to you, making your choice for a vacation destination easier. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found the right place for the right price but then realized it was at a time of year that simply wouldn’t work for me. Talk about disappointing.

Who is Your Travel Companion?

Even though you may be open to all sorts of different places, your travel companion may not be. Consider the types of things the person you’re traveling with likes to do. Does this person like to shop? Then New York City might be the perfect escape. Or maybe your companion really likes animals. You might decide to take a safari together.

There are three people I typically travel with: my mother, my husband, and my best friend. Each one has completely different tastes. So when I look at my bucket list, I think about which vacation destination is right for each person. For example, my mom loves charming seaside villages. A river cruise through France is perfect for her. My best friend? She’s all about the shopping. Vegas or LA are the best types of places for us to hit up together. My husband is a bit more adventurous. For our next trip together, we’re thinking an ATV drive through Machu Picchu, for example.

There are many items on my bucket list that don’t interest my regular travel companions. For these places, I’ll either convince one of them to cave in and go with me, or I’ll look for other options. I might join a tour group, or I’ll simply hop on a place all by myself.

How Do You Like to Travel?

Do you like to create your own schedule while you drive along vast highways? Or do you prefer to let someone else do the driving? Maybe you like a mix of both. These are important factors that can help you narrow down your vacation destination.

If you like to be part of a large group, start your destination search with a look at what tour companies have to offer. If you like being on the open ocean, then look at different cruise lines to see what they have available that interests you. Don’t bother looking at dates and rates for tour or cruise vacations if they’re not your style, but you might want to use them as a jumping off point for planning your own vacation.

There are times when I like to plan every part of a trip—train tickets between towns, bed and breakfasts in little villages, entry fees for attractions. And then there are times when I’m super busy and like to let someone else do all the work. Get a stack of vacation magazines and brochures, and simply start leafing through the pages. See what’s out there that catches your eye. You’ll likely be inspired by a few different itineraries or images. You can either book directly with the company that made the brochure or start booking your own plans based on the itinerary you found.

Want more great ideas for the perfect vacation destination? Follow Wanderlust Wayfarer on Twitter, where we’re constantly sharing cool places to go and things to do around the world.

4 Tips for Getting the Best Deal on a Cruise

Cruises are one of the most affordable ways to travel.

 

It seems every time I check my email there is another message from one of the major cruise lines with a new offer. If you play your cards right, you can go to some pretty amazing places for next to nothing.

Here are four tips to help you get the best possible deal on a cruise vacation.

1. Book with an Agent

I love to take control of my travel, but when it comes to cruising, your agent has access to deals you simply have no way of knowing about. Sometimes agents have access to “bonuses” they can pass along to preferred guests. I once had an agent pay my taxes and port fees, for example. On another occasion, my agent arranged for the cruise line to surprise me with a bottle of wine and a gift card for a free professional photo.

You won’t spend anything extra to have a travel agent book your trip, so it’s worth seeing if there are any hidden deals your agent can pass on to you. Often, I still do all of the cruise planning myself and just pass the information on to my agent to do the actual booking. I know exactly what I’m getting, but I still get to take advantage of any special deals the agent offers.

2. Check Expedia

With more than 10,000 travel partners in more than 60 countries, Expedia is the largest travel agency in the world. This translates to massive buying power and the ability to get awesome deals for clients.

Expedia often purchases blocks of cabins well in advance of a cruise’s departure date—sometimes years before it’s scheduled to set sail. They get a great rate for buying in bulk, and they pass the savings on to you. You simply will not be able to beat the deal you get with Expedia.

3. Go Direct

It’s pretty rare that you’ll get a better rate booking directly with the cruise line, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check out its website. Cruise lines are always updating their prices and putting out new offers. If you see something you like, you can ask your agent to check it out.

4. Keep Your Eye on the Prize

Just because you’ve got an awesome deal on a cruise doesn’t mean you can’t do better. Check online every now and then to see if the rate has changed for the better. Almost every cruise I have ever been on, I have ended up getting a much lower rate by simply taking a few minutes to check for deals every couple of weeks. Just this past week, I upgraded to a balcony cabin for $70 less than I was going to pay for an inside cabin on an upcoming cruise. It pays—literally—to do a quick check every now and then. Any agent or cruise line worth a lick will honor the lower rate.

So, now that you know how to get a great deal on a cruise, what are you waiting for? Follow Wanderlust Wayfarer on Twitter for more great cruise and vacation advice.

Cruise Inspiration: 5 Facts that Will Make You Want to Set Sail

More people are taking cruises than ever before.

 

In fact, the cruise industry is booming. It’s estimated 100 million people will take a cruise in the next four years. How’s that for cruise inspiration? But, if you’re anything like I was 10 years ago, you’re still a bit leery about the whole concept of cruising.

You may think it will make you less of a traveler because you aren’t planning every minute of your own itinerary or because you only spend a few hours in each port. But I’ve learned it’s just the opposite.

When you’re on a cruise, the entire world opens up to you in a whole new, luxurious, affordable way. Places that were once off-limits due to price, location, or other factors are now at your fingertips thanks to the cruise industry.

cruise inspiration

Still need more cruise inspiration? Check out these five cruise facts that will inspire even the biggest skeptic to hop on board a cruise ship.

  1. You get the same experience whether you pay top dollar or sail in the cheap seats.

    People in low-priced inside cabins eat at the same restaurants, swim in the same pools, and have access to the same entertainment as people who stay in high-end suites. Yes, there are some extra perks if you spend the big bucks, but you can still have an utterly amazing experience in an inside cabin. Cruising is all about affordable luxury.

  2. You can see a lot of places in a short time for a low cost.

    On a cruise, you get to sample a variety of destinations the same way you sample different foods at Costco. A little taste tells you if you want more so you can plan a longer vacation to a particular destination in the future. If you don’t have a lot of time or money and you want to be pampered, you simply can’t beat a cruise.

  3. It’s safe.

    There are cameras everywhere on a cruise ship, and you’re almost never entirely alone. People walk the halls at all hours of the day, and crew members are never more than a stone’s throw away. Cruising is ideal for solo travelers or women who want to enjoy their vacation without worrying about their safety. You’re more likely to be attacked by a bear than you are to fall overboard, sink, or be assaulted.

  4. There are so many ships to choose from.

    Over the next four years, there will be 65 new cruise ships sailing on rivers and oceans around the world. Big or small, there’s bound to be at least one that suits your personal style. River cruises will take you to ports larger ships simply can’t access. And ocean cruises will bring you unparalleled activities and entertainment. Which will you choose? I hope to see them all.

  5. You will have a good time.

    Nine out of ten cruisers say they will sail again. This means there is a 90 percent chance that you will thoroughly enjoy yourself on a cruise. Those are some pretty good odds.

Have I missed anything? What inspires you to cruise? Sign up for the members-only Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group to share your ideas about cruise inspiration with like-minded travelers around the world.

6 Benefits River Cruises Have Over Ocean Cruises

Aside from the fact that they’re both on the water, river cruises have little in common with ocean cruises.

 

And that’s why I love them. Don’t get me wrong, I adore cruises of any kind—big, small, and everything in between. But river cruises have their own special blend of magic. Like ocean liners, you can hit several countries (and sometimes continents) in one trip, but river cruises have a few charms you won’t find on a larger cruise ship.

Check out these six advantages river cruises have over ocean cruises.

1. Get the Best Parking Spots

River cruise ships are much, much smaller than ocean-going vessels. They can fit into way smaller spaces as a result. This means you get the best parking spaces at each port. Often, you get off the ship right in the heart of the action. There’s no need to drive from a nearby city or take a tender, which can eat up a lot of your free time. A great example is Venice, where ocean cruise ships are banned from sailing into the lagoon. You need to find a way into Venice from the shipyards just outside the city. It’s a hassle and quite time-consuming. River cruises simply sail right into the city.

river cruise

2. Unique itineraries

Easy access to hot spots, like Venice, are just one perk of being on a smaller ship. Perhaps an even bigger bonus is the ability to sail into smaller, lesser-known ports. River cruise ships take you to places you simply can’t go on an ocean liner. For example, on one voyage, I visited the Christmas markets in Colmar, France, a place I didn’t even know existed. It’s the most charming, little traditional French village—the kind of stuff fairy tales are made of. In the Mekong Delta, we walked right off the ship into rice fields or tiny villages that have yet to be touched by mainstream civilization. River cruises take you to all kinds of places you never knew you wanted to go but are so quaint you’ll never want to leave.

river cruise

3. Enjoy Plenty of Local Flare

Ocean cruises are known for their over-the-top entertainment and nonstop fun and games. It’s incredible, and you’ll never wont for something to do. River cruises offer something completely unique, though—a chance to experience the local culture. They, literally, bring people from nearby communities on board the ship to entertain passengers. In the Black Forest, for example, we were treated to a demonstration by a local wood-carver. In the Mekong Delta, a dance troupe put on a traditional performance one night, while a professional chef treated us to a tasting of indigenous fruits and ice creams. The entertainment is much more low-key, but it’s an amazing glimpse into the lives of the people in the places you’re visiting. It’s truly enlightening and delightful.

river cruise

4. Kick Back and Relax

While ocean liners are geared toward family fun, you won’t find any kids on a river cruise. Kick back, relax, and enjoy the peace and quite. Sitting on top of the ship watching the world go by is one of the most serene and enjoyable experiences. Grab a book, lay back on a lounger, and enjoy the view.

river cruise

5. Almost All-Inclusive

Most ocean cruises come with a fairly thrifty price tag. You’ll likely pay quite a bit more for a river cruise, which may seem like a disadvantage, but it’s actually not. The cost is a bit more because absolutely everything is included in your fare. You want beer or wine? Or maybe you’re a soda lover? Either way, drink til your heart’s content. Want to check in back home? Simply log into the Internet at no extra cost. You’ll even get a choice of shore excursions to take part in—or not—each day. Do as much or as little as you want. It’s up to you. And you’ll never need to pull out your wallet.

river cruise

6. Make New Friends

While you’re likely to see a few familiar faces here and there on a ocean-going cruise ship, it’s impossible not to get to know the other guests on a river cruise. There are typically fewer than 200 people on each sailing. My last river cruise had only 57 of a possible 120 passengers. We made a few new friends, who we still keep in touch with today. It’s an intimate atmosphere on board a river cruise. You’ll get cozy with each other quickly.

river cruise

These are just a few of the advantages river cruises have over ocean cruises. And while I love them both, each one has its own unique style. Which do you prefer, and why? Share your thoughts with the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group.

3 Reasons to Book an Inside Cabin on Your Next Cruise

Booking an inside cabin has its perks.

 

Of course you want a balcony stateroom—who doesn’t? There are few things I love more than listening to the gentle lapping of waves lull me to sleep at night. And I find few things more relaxing that stargazing with a hot cup of tea after a warm shower. Now that’s living. But the reality is, I simply can’t always afford a balcony cabin. I try to cruise a few times each year, so I have to compromise sometimes. And one of the first things I sacrifice is the balcony.

Here are three advantages to booking an inside cabin on your next cruise.

  1. They’re Cheap

It’s hard to beat the price of an inside stateroom. Often they’re 50 to 70 percent cheaper than a balcony stateroom. For voyages where there’s plenty to see while you sail, the extra money makes sense. But if you’re sailing the open ocean, it’s a great time to save some cash and book an inside room instead.

Each year, I try to go on one big cruise to a less traditional destination, like the Canary Islands or Southeast Asia, and two minor cruises to places like Baja or the Caribbean. I always get a balcony for the big cruise, but unless I get a great rate, I pass it up for the minor cruises. I save my pennies to spend on land or to take an extra trip throughout the year.

On my last cruise, my inside stateroom was equipped with two porthole windows. We had no idea we were getting this perk, and it was a fantastic surprise. The portholes were similar in size to the ocean view rooms at a fraction of the cost.

inside cabin

Pro Tip: Did you know you can ask for an upgrade once you’re on the ship. You’ll likely have to wait in line a while, but the minute you get on board, head to guest services and ask if there are any upgrade suites available. You may just get lucky and find yourself with a balcony cabin for the price of inside stateroom.

2. It’s Great Incentive to Get Out

My motto when I’m on the high seas is, “If I’m sitting in my stateroom, I’m cruising wrong.” Whether you’re on a wee river cruise or a massive ocean liner, there are a million things to see and do on a cruise. The live entertainment is amazing, the bars are hopping, the food is delicious, and the pool is always inviting.

When I have a balcony, I’m more likely to take in the sunset from my stateroom than the upper deck. That means, I’m only seeing half the beauty. In Norway, the captain of the Vision of the Seas gave a guided tour, pointing out the sights on each side of the ship, as we sailed out of Geiranger. It wasn’t long before I realized I needed to get to the Lido deck to take it all in. Sometimes, it’s so easy to get caught up watching the waves from your own balcony that you forget about the live music and awesome activities taking place all over the ship.

When you have an inside cabin, none of this is a problem because the only thing you have to stare at are four walls. You’ll want to get out and join the action outside your stateroom.

inside cabin

3. Peace and Quiet

Sometimes, you just want a good night’s sleep. Inside cabins are darker for the simple fact that they don’t have any exposure to outside light. And because they’re on the inside, they tend to be a bit quieter than other parts of the ship. If you have trouble catching some Zs, you just might want to give an inside cabin a shot. Not to mention, if the seas are a bit rough, you’re less likely to feel the impact.

These are just a few great reasons to book an inside cabin on your next cruise. What other reasons do you have? Head over to the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group to share your ideas.

Cheap Spa Treatments on a Cruise Ship

I bet you think every treatment in a cruise ship spa will cost you an arm and a leg. Think again.

 

It’s true. Most spa treatments on a cruise are extremely pricey. But there are a handful of ways you can pamper yourself without taking out a bank loan. Here are four tips for getting a little spa action on a shoestring budget.

Cheap spa

Tempting Tresses

Treat yourself to a trim and a blowout. It may not seem like much, but it won’t break the bank, and it always feels good to have someone else style your hair. I wouldn’t do anything too crazy, like chopping off your long locks or getting a fringe of bangs. Leave that to your regular stylist. But it doesn’t hurt to get the dead ends cut off. Or maybe even an up do.

Pro Tip: Find out when formal night is, and get your hair done that day. You’ll feel like a princess with your locks perfectly coiffed.

Cheap spa

Feet to Fingers

While manicures and pedicures often cost quite a bit less on land, they are still two of the cheapest things you can do in a cruise ship spa. And they usually come with a bit of a twist, like a fire and ice treatment. If you purchase the mani and pedi as a package, you can usually get a bit of a break on the price, too. Ask nice, and they may even toss in a fun freebie, like painting each nail a different color.

Cheap spa

Sensitive Scalp

Is there anything better than having your head massaged? Well, for a small fee, you can spend 30 minutes of pure bliss doing just that in the spa. It’s one of the cheapest spa rituals you can receive on a cruise ship. If you have a few extra dollars, you can pair it with a special hair treatment for added awesomeness.

Cheap spa

Deal of the Day

I know it’s tempting to pre-book spa sessions before boarding the ship. And it’s hard not to bite when you take that spa tour on Day 1 of the cruise. But trust me when I tell you to hang tight. Each day, the spa offers a new deal. Just check the cruise planner the cabin steward leaves on your bed each night to find out the deal for the next day.

Sometimes, you can choose three rituals for 20 minutes each at rate well lower than you would pay for a massage alone. For example, I once got a mini facial, Swedish massage, and scalp massage for under $120. Other times, you can get 10 percent off your first treatment, 20 percent off the second one, and 30 percent off a third one. It’s a great deal.

Pro Tip: If you really like what you see in the planner but wonder if the next day’s deal will be better, fear not. You don’t have to get the treatment on the same day the deal is offered. You only need to book it that day. So, take a boo at the next day’s planner, and if the deal isn’t as good, you can still book the current offer for later in the trip.

Cheap spa

These are just a few spa treatments you can treat yourself to on a cruise without blowing your budget. Do you have other tips? Share them with the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group.

Swimwear: What to Wear Poolside on Vacation

Choosing the right swimwear for a week away is a daunting task.

 

No matter how much you work out or how body-confident you are, everyone gets anxiety over swimwear. Amplify this anxiety tenfold when you go on a beach vacation. Follow these easy tips to know just what you need to pack for a week anywhere there’s water.

swiwear

  1. Lazy Days

Will you be spending most of your vacation on the beach or poolside on a cruise ship? Then, swimwear should feature prominently in your suitcase. You’ll need several swimsuits in various styles. For a lazy week sunning yourself, it’s completely reasonable to pack three to five swimsuits. Keep in mind you can change-up the look by adding accessories, such as fun flip-flops, statement necklaces and cute kimonos, to a few neutral swimwear styles.

swimwear kimono

2. Bikini Babe

What’s your personal style? Are you at home exposing a little extra skin? Go for it! Just be sure to consider your surroundings when deciding how much skin to bare. If you’re on a family beach, opt for swimwear with a little more coverage. Try a brief-like bottom and fuller bra top. But if you’re on a beach in Rio, anything goes. Break out the thong, and have a blast.

swimwear bikini

3. Pretty One-Piece

At one time, one-pieces were considered a major faux pas. But not anymore. These days, comfort is king, so if you feel at home a little more covered up, fear not. There are so many options available, it’s almost impossible not to find one that flatters your figure. Fifties vintage swimsuits are adorable, but you can also get super sexy styles with cut outs and plunging necklines.

1 piece swimwear

4. Keep It Covered

Regardless of where you are, most places want you to cover up inside eateries. All this means is that you’ll need to shop for a few cute cover ups to throw over top of your swimwear. There are dozens of styles, from kimonos and muumuus to rompers and tunics. For evenings consider something with a little sparkle. Glittery stripes or an embellished neckline are a nice touch.

Keep in mind that cover ups offer a big benefit. Under the scorching sun, they add an extra layer of protection. Not to mention, if you’re feeling self-conscious about being half-naked in front of strangers, they can help you feel a bit more relaxed.swimwear coverup

5. Other Options

Not everyone wants to wear a swimsuit around the pool. And that’s okay. There are plenty of other outfits you can sport. Leggings and an oversized tee, cutoffs and a tank, or a flirty skirt with a cold-shoulder blouse are just a few fun options. The key is to be comfortable in whatever you wear.

swimwear shorts

Regardless of what you wear by the pool, your best accessories are sunscreen, a hat, and a trashy magazine. It’s all about finding your style and having fun with it. Do you have more swimwear advice? Use #wanderlustwayfarer to share your pictures on Instagram.

Cruise Wear Tips for Getting on the Ship

Cruise wear is a fashion phenomenon all its own.

 

The cruise wear you choose for embarkation day depends on several factors. Here are four things you need to consider when putting together the perfect outfit to get on board the ship.

  1. Say Cheese

cruise wear

After checking in at the cruise terminal, you’ll begin your trek on board the ship. But before you get too far, photographers from the cruise line will be waiting to take your picture. You can skip the photo queue, but they won’t make it easy. If you plan to document every moment of your travels, you may want to choose cruise wear that is photo ready.

2. Cruise Line

cruise wear

Depending on the cruise line, you’ll want to dress up…or down. I try to look nice when I first get on the ship. I like to make a good first impression, but on a recent Carnival sailing out of California, even a striped jersey dress was a bit too upscale for embarkation day. Jeans or leggings and a t-shirt would suffice for a Carnival cruise ship. NCL, MSC, and Royal Caribbean are also quite casual, but most people put in a little more effort. That same striped jersey dress would be the perfect choice. Jeans or leggings with a flowy blouse and a scarf or necklace to give it a bit of pizzazz are also good options. For higher-end cruise lines, proper slacks or a pretty sundress are definitely in order.

3. Points A and B

cruise wear

If you’re setting sail from a climate that is quite different from the one you’re sailing to, there’s fine line to walk when choosing your cruise wear. You want to wear something that speaks to your destination, but you also want to look appropriate for the current climate. For example, if you’re headed to the Caribbean in January, shorts and a tank might seem like a great idea. But if your sailing out of New Orleans, it might be a bit chilly. A t-shirt dress and a kimono wrap will give you a lightweight look with the extra warmth you need for the cool chill at your starting point.

4. Activities

cruise wear

Sometimes, you’re luggage doesn’t arrive at your room until after you’ve set sail. This means you’ll be wearing the same thing all day—possibly even to dinner. When choosing your embarkation cruise wear, consider the activities you’ll be doing throughout the day. If you arrive on board early, you may want to spend some time sunning yourself on the Lido deck. Wearing a swimsuit under your outfit may be a good idea. Or, perhaps you’ve booked a dinner in one of the more refined restaurants. While most cruise lines are more lenient about dress codes on the first day, typically you would try to look a bit nicer for your special meal.

Selecting the perfect cruise wear for getting on the ship can be stressful. But follow these helpful tips, and you’ll look just right when you set sail. Have other tips for what to wear when you get on board the ship? Tag your Instagram photos with #wanderlustwayfarer to share your ideas.

Learn to Have a Relaxing Vacation

I’ve always been the kind of person who can’t sit still. And I found it difficult to have a relaxing vacation. But not anymore.

 

Does the thought of kicking back on a beach scare you? How about the idea of being stuck on a cruise ship with no access to the Internet? if you’re the kind of person who likes to keep busy, you know how hard it is to have a relaxing vacation. Here’s how I learned to overcome my fear of doing absolutely nothing for more than a few hours at a time.

1. Start Small

Don’t try to be something you’re not. Just because a friend tells you how refreshed she feels after a week sunning herself on a beach in Mexico doesn’t mean you have to jump on that train. You like the fast lane, and that’s okay. If you’re used to the kind of vacation that takes you on a whirlwind tour of six countries in seven days, booking a week at a relaxing resort in Cabo San Lucas may be a bit overwhelming to start. It would be a huge departure from what you’re used to. Instead, try booking an overnight stay at a secluded cabin in the woods or a cruise that has one day with no port stops. You’ll get a taste of what it’s like to have no choice but kick back.

relaxing vacation

2. Travel Someplace Remote

If you’re ready for something a bit more extreme, go someplace where you simply can’t do anything but nothing. Take an African safari, an eco tour through Costa Rica, or a river cruise through the Mekong Delta. You’ll be hard pressed to find a good mobile connection or even a television. But you will find amazing scenery that will distract you from the fact that you’re having a relaxing vacation. Take along a good book (or eReader), a deck of cards, a travel board game, or some crossword puzzles. Heck, toss in an adult coloring book for good measure. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you adapt when you have no other choice.

My first foray into forced relaxation was on Tortuguero Island, a remote village on the northern coast of Costa Rica. There were nothing but iguanas, geckos, and torrential downpours to entertain us. I thought I would die of boredom at first, but after a few hours I eased into the slower pace. We were only there one night, so it was a great experiment. Later, I would take a safari where I was out of connect with the rest of the world for seven of nine days. With elephants roaming the savanna right outside my window, it was easy to enjoy myself.

relaxing vacation

3. Leave Your Electronics at Home

The biggest favor your can do for yourself vacation is to leave your electronics behind—specifically your cell phone and tablet. For most of us that’s a bit of a challenge since nowadays we all use our phones to take pictures, set an alarm, and tell time. So a good alternative is to skip buying an international cell phone plan or buy one with fewer minutes. The costs of data roaming are atrocious without want, stopping you from using it to connect with folks back home. Set your cell to airplane mode and tune out. Tell everyone you know not to expect to hear from you for a few days. Plan your work in advance so that you can clear your calendar. If you really must take your work with you, then schedule specific days and times to do it and tell your coworkers they will only hear from your during those times. The rest of the time, you’ll be having a relaxing vacation.

relaxing vacation

4. Treat Yourself

For days when you know you’ll be doing absolutely nothing, treat yourself to a little something special. Get a massage or pedicure, for example. Doing this first thing in the morning can help you get into the spirit of things. Or if you want a break from doing nothing, schedule one for the mid-afternoon. A low-impact workout, like some yoga or a swim, is another great way to unwind. Go for a walk around the area and grab an ice cream, or splurge on a dinner at a fancy restaurant. These are all relaxing ways to enjoy your day.

relaxing vacation

I’m still never going to be the kind of girl who can sit on a beach for days at a time. But over the years, I have come to enjoy a day or two of a relaxing vacation. What are your tips for taking a few days away from it all? Use the #wanderlustwayfarer on a relaxing vacation photo of yourself on Instagram to share your ideas.

 

Planning a Cruise: It’s Easy as Pie

Tired of the time it takes to plan an amazing vacation? Planning a cruise is about as easy as it gets.

 

I spent years painstakingly planning elaborate vacations. I coordinated trains, planes, and boats to take me to different places every 24 to 48 hours. It took tons of effort to find appropriate accommodations in each location. You know what it’s like—reading TripAdvisor reviews and mapping landmarks. Then I discovered cruising and learned you can have your cake and eat it too.

Choose a Place, Any Place

planning a cruise

Where do you want to go on vacation? Name a place. Any place. I mean it. From Antarctica and Australia to Aruba and Africa, there are cruises to pretty much every part of the world. Then go to a consolidator, such as Expedia or Travelocity, and search all available offerings from every major cruise line for your chosen destination. You can filter your results by price, date, or length, whichever is most important to you.

From there, you can compare the itineraries for a few different options to see which is right for you. Simply click “Book Now,” and most of the work is done. You’ve planned the majority of your trip.

Pro tip: I usually check two or three consolidators to see if I can get a better rate or special offer. Sometimes you can get an additional onboard credit or a discount on shore excursions, for example. Once I know the cruise I want to take, I also check the rates on that cruise line’s website.

No Extra Work

planning a cruise

The hardest part of planning a cruise is picking where you want to go. Once you’ve done that, it’s smooth sailing—pun intended. Everything is taken care of for you, except getting to your departure point. I don’t always have time to become an expert on every port, and I don’t have to. The cruise line will take you to a variety of places, feed and entertain you, and even offer daily excursions to the most popular sights.

There’s no need to coordinate any other details, aside from your flights. If there is a sight you should see, it will be offered as a shore excursion. It doesn’t get any easier than this.

There are so many reasons why a cruise vacation is one of the most budget-friendly and convenient ways to travel. And there are countless fun things you can do at sea. But the main reason why I enjoy planning a cruise is because I can do it fast, easy, and without any extra work.

Do you agree? Is planning a cruise as easy as it sounds? Share your thoughts with the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group.