Travel Tips

How To Plan A Perfect Vacation, According To The Experts

Check out this vacation planning guide before planning your next great getaway

The Vacationeer
Aerial view, couple strolling a tropical beach, blue skies overhead, Los Cabos, Mexico.

You may love it or loathe it, but vacation planning is an unavoidable part of travel. Deciding where you’ll visit and what you’ll do while you’re there to maximize your time away is vital to creating a lifetime of unforgettable experiences. 

So, how do you plan a great vacation?         

It can seem overwhelming in an age of endless online information. However, it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a straightforward vacation planning guide based on expert advice to get you started. 

A woman sits on an outdoor swing on the beach near La Pacifica Los Cabos, a Hilton Club in Mexico   

5 Travel Planning Tips

1. Consider Planning Well In Advance

According to a 2020 study by the Institute for Applied Positive Research, 97% of respondents report that having a trip planned makes them happier.

The takeaway? Planning your trip as far in advance affords you ample time to soak up the happiness of anticipation. Plus, it gives you a better chance at scoring the best deals and securing reservations at popular restaurants and attractions.

2. Reflect On What Helps You Relax

Whether your goal is a digital detox or plan to check your email regularly on vacation is a personal decision. Some people need at least two weeks to slow down and truly enjoy their vacation, whereas others find joy in taking shorter trips more often throughout the year.

“I found that the length of stay has very little influence on how people feel during a trip or afterward,” Professor Nawijn said.

Idyllic scene, couple horseback riding shoreside, sunset painted skies overhead, Los Cabos, Mexico.    

Take stock of what’s best for you and plan your trip around that. Staying true to your vacation style will yield more satisfying trips. 

3. Immerse Yourself In An Experience     

“Doing activities that completely absorb us can be good while on vacation,” said Elizabeth Dunn, an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia.

Take a cooking class or surf lessons, attend a special event or meditate in a peaceful place. Allow yourself time to get lost in the moment to maximize your time away.

4. Go Out With A Bang

According to Daniel Kahneman, a Princeton psychologist and Nobel laureate, people will remember an experience based on peak moments — good or bad. Try planning an epic ending to your vacation. 

Splurge on a special meal, take in a mountaintop sunrise or another awe-worthy experience as your last vacation activity to set the tone of how you remember your trip.

Stunning shoreline, turquoise water washing ashore, Los Cabos, Mexico.   

5. Consider Contacting An Expert

Travel can have a lot of moving pieces, depending on the kind of trip you’re planning. Multi-city or -country international trips or vacations with large travel parties, such as reunions, may warrant additional vacation planning support.

Contact a travel agent or service if the details make you feel like your head is spinning. 

As part of vacation ownership with Hilton Grand Vacations, Members enjoy easy access to one-on-one support in situations like these. 

Benefit Of Hilton Grand Vacations Timeshare: HGV Club Counselors

HGV Club Counselors and Membership Specialists are highly skilled Club membership educators who help Members optimize HGV ClubPoints and get the vacation of their dreams. They’re available to assist Owners through convenient and customized phone support. 

"We will take whatever time you need on the phone to understand your membership. There’s no rush; we are here to serve you."

— Christina C., senior manager, call center operations

We caught up with a few Club Counselors to share frequently asked questions they receive when assisting Members with travel planning. 

HGV: Do I have to stay at my Home Resort every year?

Club Counselor: Not at all. That’s the beauty of Club membership. You aren’t tied to your Home Resort for every vacation.

Incredible aerial image, La Pacifica Los Cabos, a Hilton Club, Sea of Cortex, Mexico.    

ClubPoints give you access to a range of Hilton Grand Vacations Club resorts, available during the reservation window. Use ClubPoints to your advantage and explore Hilton Grand Vacations properties worldwide.

HGV: Can you use ClubPoints at other Hilton Grand Vacations properties, even if you don’t own there?

Club Counselor: Absolutely. Club Members can use ClubPoints to book thousands of properties in the Hilton Grand Vacations portfolio of resorts. Being an HGV Max Member gives you even more options around the globe. It’s as simple as following the reservation windows chart and booking as far out as the reservation window allows for the resort you want to visit.

HGV: What are three benefits of timeshare with Hilton Grand Vacations regarding vacation planning (versus vacation planning as a non-Owner)?

Club Counselor: 

  1. An exclusive Contact Center to assist you with navigating the website, educating you on Member benefits, helping you get the most of your ownership.
  2. Get vacation ideas and expert advice to help you maximize your precious vacation time delivered straight to your inbox through a quarterly electronic magazine and monthly newsletter.
  3. Ownership with Hilton Grand Vacations offers adventure travel benefits for vacations outside of traditional timeshare use.

Read “Expert Advice: When To Contact A Club Counselor” for one Owner’s vacation planning tips. 

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The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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