Yesterday, September 27th was World Tourism Day. Its purpose is to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value.
Did you end up paying exorbitant prices during your last holiday because you waited until the last minute and booked far too late? Don’t let that happen to you again this Christmas if you plan to go away. It is already time to start planning for the holidays, especially if it involves air travel. You don’t have to make firm bookings now but consult with your family and start to look at what dates make sense.
Where would you like to visit?
Start to research current fares and do shop around. The internet is a good first place to start to look for the best packages. When you book well in advance there could be huge savings particularly for a trip that involves several family members. Even the departure date can have an impact on fares and often you will find that travel at the beginning of the week may be cheaper than on a Friday for example. Making early reservations give you much more choice and helps you to avoid the inconvenience of not getting what you really want and disappointment.
Have you applied for your leave?
Christmas is one of the most popular times of year to take a vacation and it is natural for an employer to have a policy that restricts the number of people in the same department or unit that can take time off work at the same time. Put in your leave request early so that your dates are secure and do not clash with work colleagues, which could jeopardize your trip. If you need extra vacation time without pay, determine how much money you will be forfeiting for the extra time and see if it is worth it.
Where will you stay?
Do your research on hotels and transport arrangements and secure your bookings well before the prices start to go up; they usually do closer to the holiday period. With the plethora of websites and agents for hotel bookings securing the best deal can be time-consuming so it makes sense to start early as ultimately the reward of a perfect destination at the best prices makes it time well spent.
Choose your location wisely. Sometimes staying in the heart of town costs twice as much as staying at a hotel just a few miles away. Carefully weigh up the pros and cons in terms of transport costs before you decide. If you have friends or family at your destination consider staying with them if you won’t be imposing on them.
Would you consider a home swapping vacation?
Home swapping simply means exchanging your home with someone else’s home during the holidays. This form of holidaying is very popular in the United States and other destinations. Both parties save money when compared to staying in expensive holidays or self catered apartments. Not only does home swapping give you free accommodation, but it also gives you a great experience of actually living the life of a local in a foreign land. However, it may be hard to imagine this form of holidaying taking root in Nigeria until one is able to fully rely upon background checks and references.
Make special reservations
If you are planning to treat your family to some special events during the holiday season including shows or concerts, find out if reservations are required and make them now. The best concert tickets may be sold out close to the time or you might not get decent seats. The best restaurants are also likely to be fully booked during a major holiday, so, do secure your booking early; by booking early you might benefit discounts and special offers.
Have you accumulated air miles?
If you want to use your air miles to travel for Christmas, book now. The most popular dates have already started filling up. To really benefit from your air miles try to be flexible with your dates otherwise you may need to spend more miles to secure particular dates.
You don’t have to travel abroad
Remember that a vacation does not need to be expensive. There are breathtaking tourist sites in Nigeria that are well worth a visit; you can discover your own country by visiting places close to home. Nigeria is blessed with outstanding natural heritage sites, which are listed among the UNESCO Heritage Sites. These include the Idanre Hills of Ondo State, The Ikogosi Spring in Ekiti, The Alok Ikom Monoliths of Cross River State, The Ogbunike Caves of Anambra State, The Ancient Kano City Walls and several beautiful sites spread across the country. These extraordinary sites exist nowhere else in the world and are right here in Nigeria for us all to enjoy.
It seems absurd to start thinking about the holidays this early but far too many people lose significant amounts of money by not being disciplined enough to plan ahead… even for the holidays. Once your arrangements are all in place with some wonderful deals in hand, you can just sit back and look forward to a wonderful holiday without all the stress of last minute preparations and unnecessary expenses.
Nimi Akinkugbe has extensive experience in private wealth management. She seeks to empower people regarding their finances and offers frank, practical insights to create a greater awareness and understanding of personal finance.