Once you've figured out your budget (planning and saving), and how long you can take away from work, you can start looking at the kind of holiday that is going to work best for your circumstances. It's easy to see holidays as something in a glossy advert, but there are so many options. I remember a great vacation C and I took to the Hunter Valley, which is an expensive winery district north of Sydney. I managed to save up enough points on a grocery store loyalty card to score a free a one night stay at a winery, so we hopped in the car for a little adventure. Aside from gas money and food, the trip was free. It was only one night, but we set out early in the morning and left later in the evening the following day, so we squeezed in 2 full days for our overnight trip. We both felt like we'd had such a good break afterwards, I was pleasantly surprised.
Try to make the most of your holiday time by maximising it in smart ways.
If you are flying overseas, be conscious of jetlag. I try to make sure that I land at my destination in the afternoon or evening, so no matter how many hours I've been awake in transit, I pass out from exhaustion at a fairly 'normal' sleeping hour for where I have landed, and therefore wake up at a 'normal' time to start my day. Let's face it, Australia is really far from anywhere (aside from maybe New Zealand), so we generally have to deal with long flights and this method is incredibly helpful for us!
Weekend GetawayWhether you work Monday to Friday or irregular hours, the 'weekend' getaway (whenever your weekend falls) is the perfect way to take a trip without needing any time away from work. If you have flexible working hours, consider a mid-week getaway as accommodation is cheaper, and if you're driving, there is probably less traffic heading to the holiday destinations.
CampingOnce again, this could be a short term or longer term vacation. If you have your own camping gear, or can borrow some, this is very budget friendly as well. Different campsites have different levels of facilities, so choose somewhere that suits your needs (i.e. do you want a shower/toilet, or are you cool to be a nature child for a few days?). Camping is generally a great option if you love nature and you're on a smaller budget. Even if that's not the case, it's a lovely opportunity to 'switch off' and re-connect with your family/friends (or yourself!) around a nice campfire. Boardgames, anyone?
Road TripI think road trips might be my favourite. There's just something about the freedom of an open road. On a road trip, you can find the places less traveled, like the motel we found in Maine with the 'Jesus' pattern in the woodgrain of our bathroom door. If you like adventure, eating car-snacks and discovering new places, a road trip is a brilliant option. Budget will vary depending on if you own or rent a car, and what kind of accommodation you choose. My dear American friends, please don't talk to me about gas money. You guys have it SO good. Trust me. (But don't forget to budget for gas!)
Charity/Volunteer BreakHave you ever considered turning your vacation into a positive experience for you, and for someone else? There are so many charitable options, from volunteering to assist residents in areas damaged by natural disaster, to building homes for people less fortunate. My sister took her first trip out of Australia to build houses in Mexico and she had an amazing time! It can be a really rewarding experience, and one definitely worth considering.
Whatever your budget, consider the kind of activities that you and your travel companions enjoy and make sure you head somewhere that accommodates these. If you love shopping and culture, maybe a city break suits you best. Or if you like nature, somewhere that has great hiking trails. If you have kids to entertain, make sure there are plenty of fun activities to make the experience memorable for them. If you enjoy sightseeing, plan ahead so that you can find the attractions/locations in the area you'll be traveling. There are so many options, all you need to do is head out there into the big wide world!
What's your favourite kind of vacation? Do you have any other tips to share? Tweet me or leave a comment below.