Simplify the holiday planning process

I may love travelling, but I don’t always relish the job of booking family holidays, do you? The world is our oyster, but sometimes that can be overwhelming. We all want to create amazing memories as a family, but we live in a world with so many options, where social media means we’re never far away from other people’s choices. Experts recommend reducing our options if we really want to get things done and feel better about our choices, it’s why Mark Zuckerberg’s wardrobe consists mainly of white t shirts and jeans. Here are seven ways to flip your thinking about booking family holidays to make booking them more stress free.

  1. Go with what truly works for your family. You may surprise yourself when you give yourself time to think truthfully about the kind of trips that work for your family, the trips you still talk about, the ones where you smiled and hugged the most. You don’t have to stick to the same recipe all the time of course, but at the same time, you don’t have to be swayed by friend’s facebook updates about the luxury all inclusive you can’t afford right now either. Comparison is the thief of joy. Once you find a formula that works, like Mark Zuckerberg’s wardrobe, it’s okay to repeat it.
  2. Book based on cheap flights not destinations. Traditionally we think about where we want to travel, often because everyone else seems to be raving about the place, and then book the flights, but flipping that thinking could save you lots of money and energy.  Have you ever looked at where the cheap flights are for the dates you want to travel, and used that as the spring board for an exciting new trip? You could end up somewhere amazing that you would never have thought about travelling to, and maybe even start a new travel trend too.
  3. Connect with your local airport. Another trick is to sign up for newsletters from your local airport so you always know which routes are handy for you and become first to discover new routes. Many airports have booking systems connected to their destination guides, so that if you spot somewhere you fancy, you can search for flights without opening up a new site. Reducing your choices to destinations within reach of your local airport, not only makes choosing easier, you know that the journey is going to be more stress free too, and potentially much cheaper. Liverpool John Moores has a really well planned and executed destination guide which immediately had me wanting to plan trips to Dublin, Naples, Nice, Newquay and Oslo.
  4. Put a deadline on it. It is easy to put off booking a holiday, we think a better deal will come along, we want it all to be perfect, but we run the risk of adding to our stress by procrastinating. A small job suddenly seems much bigger when we procrastinate. Plus, the sooner your holiday is booked, the sooner you can relax and look forward to your trip. Decide when you will have the trip organised by, add it to the family calendar and make all those involved in agreeing the details aware. The more people involved, the more you need a deadline.
  5. Have a lucky dip. Think about the places you want to visit, write them on small pieces of paper, fold them up and put them in a jar. Involve the kids or don’t – I read some fabulous advice recently that suggested we give children too many choices these days, and that perhaps childhood is the time for not having to make decisions – food for thought! Pull one travel idea out of the jar and let it become your sole focus. Sometimes we try and juggle too many options and end up organising nothing. This gives you permission to take it one trip at a time.
  6. Delegate and make an event of it. All too often the reality of holidays is a series of harried texts or emails between the grown ups involved, with one person feeling the burden of responsibility. Flip that! If you always do the holiday booking try and delegate to someone else, or at least share the load. Takeaway, bottle of wine, night in and time set aside to pore over a map, order travel guides, look up travel blogs for insider tips and dream about escaping, and most importantly, to make that booking. Holiday planning can be a romantic or social event, if you let it.
  7. Know your personality type. A psychologist once told me the easiest combination is opposite types when it comes to planning holidays. Two people who love planning can lead to conflict, two people who hate planning never get there, whereas a planning type mixed with someone who prefers to be spontaneous can be a recipe for a trip that a) gets off the ground and b) is peppered with surprise elements too. Whatever your type, once you are aware of, and respect each others’ strengths and weaknesses, planning big life events like holidays becomes a little easier.

How do you ensure holidays get booked in your house? We would love to hear your tips!

Thanks to Liverpool John Moores Airport for collaborating on this post.

Do you find booking family holidays stressful? Here are 7 ways to flip your thinking about it and make it take less time and energy!