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Vacation Strategies for Bucket List Success

Do you prefer your vacation served up with white-gloved service or self-cooked how you like?

What a great time you just had on your last vacation! Sure, there’s another year of work ahead til your next vacation allotment comes available, but that shouldn’t stop you from dreaming ahead to what you want to do next, to what’s next on your bucket list, or to considering what type of experience you want next? Start socking that small % of your pay away for next year and begin your dreaming …

  • What’s your vacation style?
  • How do you like to organize and plan your adventures?
  • How much involvement do you like to have in the process?

work your bucket listThere’s the gamut of strategies for all confidence levels and the good thing is, there’s a strategy to make sure your bucket-list item gets accomplished successfully!

Even as experienced travellers as the GoGirlfriend team is in North American travel, as we began considering exploring the Mediterranean and then the Greek Islands, we knew we needed some extra assistance. With some self-research and the help of a great travel agent, we employed different strategies for the different adventures. For our Greece vacation, we ended up booking a blended vacation that offered some core flight and transportation support, but still offered the complete flexibility of independent travel on Mykonos, Santorini, Crete and Rhodes. It satisfied for us a bucket list worthy two-weeks exploring the culture, history and beauty of these Greek Islands.    

There’s a time and a season to use each of the vacation strategies below …

Completely booking through a travel agent

resort all-inclusive vacationsWhen time to research is tight or you want to visit a new foreign destination with a different language, or you simply want your holiday organized for you, a travel agency can be a pretty sweet solution to accomplish your adventure planning. They offer the expertise, coordination and simplicity to just make it happen.

GoGirlfriend used this strategy our first time exploring the Mediterranean with an extended cruise exploring 10 stops designed to reveal to us the highlights of the Mediterranean cultures, history and foods – a grand taste of something we could not have easily done on our own.

Where this fits best:

  • cruising to exploreAll inclusive vacations
  • World-wide destinations with flights, hotel transfers and hotels all coordinated
  • Cruises, riverboat adventures, coach tours, guided tours
  • Adventure or expertise-based adventures like with our partners G Adventures or Contiki Tours

Part travel support, mostly independent 

what to do exploring RomeMaybe you’d like some assistance with some challenging portions of your travel adventure (complex co-ordination, language concerns, specific expertise in a small area), but overall want the independence to explore your destination at your own pace with your own interests. In this case you can tap into an expert’s knowledge to accomplish that small element of your adventure and still maintain your itinerary goals.

After our taste of the Mediterranean cruise and falling in love with Greece, GoGirlfriend used this strategy in Greece to have a carrier get us to Greece and navigate the island ferry system, but the time spent on each island was self-guided as we picked the sights and manner of our adventures.

Where this fits best:

  • Elia Beach, GreeceWhen you need assistance with flights or some assistance with itinerary details (language issues or timing complexity)
  • A vacation in an unfamiliar area
  • Wanting freedom to explore within some controlled boundaries
  • Some freedom and independence to explore but still have the confidence that tight details are covered in case something goes sideways

Completely independent travel

ahhh, the beach is callingFor the thrill of the research and in designing and creating a vacation plan by yourself, this becomes a very rewarding step in the vacations adventure. For some this independence of the planning and booking is the end in and of itself, culminating in the vacation unfolding as planned.

GoGirlfriend is using this strategy for our upcoming fall adventure to Scotland. We are picking the destinations we visit, using apps to research and book our stays (some historic Scottish castles, some seaside Bed and Breakfasts and old inns), deciding which hikes on the Isle of Skye will give us the best scenic wonders, and tapping into friends, family and social media to look at some off-the-beaten path places to visit that take us one step deeper into the character of Scotland. It takes longer, but we’re finding a much richer experience.

Where this fits best:

  • the view from life's pathIn areas where you are completely comfortable or have visited before
  • Where you have the time and energy to immerse yourself in the exploration of an area to plan your personal itinerary.
  • Where you have the confidence to complete the booking details yourself
  • If something goes wrong, you have the confidence and knowledge to course-correct
  • Tap into local accommodation resources like Airbnb, VRBO, Home Away or a resort directly
  • Creating your own itinerary with tours from local experts using our partners - Viator, Expedia
  • Friends recommendations and TripAdvisor reviews important as insights

Accomplishing your bucket list can use many of these strategies at varying times in your adventure journey’s. The key is to continually explore, stretch your boundaries and be open to the new experiences that are just waiting to be enjoyed.

How do you like to take advantage of your vacation time? Are you confident to use these differing strategies to whittle down your bucket list? We’d love to hear your tips and stories. Drop a comment below or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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