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Holiday Stress Be Gone!

Holiday Stress Be Gone!

Holidays are fast approaching and you are met with a blank canvas – you could go anywhere!  You are spoilt for choice, but inundated with information.  And by the time you have sorted through the information and made a decision, is there even any time left to actually go for the holiday?  And that’s without considering the time needed for work commitments or things to be done around the home (spring cleaning, renovations, etc).

Holidays are not supposed to be stressful, but somehow the planning and preparation can leave us frazzled and wondering if it’s really worth it.  This article offers step-by-step guidance for smooth travel planning and you will be sipping cocktails on the beach before you know it.

  1. Start thinking about where to go at least five months in advance

Leaving things to the last-minute always results in higher stress levels so start planning early.  Choosing a destination can be tough but having this window of time can help you decide.  You can set up flight alerts and look out for other special offers to help you get the best deals.  If you have a short-list of destinations, set up flight alerts for each of them and the best prices might help you with the final decision.

  1. Use a travel agent

There are rumours that these professionals are going out of fashion, but do not underestimate their value.  If you have some ideas about the types of activities you want to do on your holiday (i.e. mountain climbing, safari, water sports) but cannot figure out where to do it, then your travel agent is the person who can match you to your ideal destination.  But the real value of the travel agent is that they take all the stress out of the planning – they are the one to wait on hold to make bookings, to do the research for the best hotel and flight deals, and to look for the activities.  And if something goes wrong on your holiday, it’s the travel agent who deals with it.  You only have to make one phone call to your agent and the rest is sorted out for you.  Booking on-line may be cheaper but it can also leave you stranded when things don’t work out.

  1. Set mini-deadlines for travel planning

In another article I’ve set out a preparing for travel timeline outlining a checklist for the eight weeks before you depart (http://ezinearticles.com/?Seven-Easy-Steps-to-Planning-Your-Dream-Holiday&id=7206060).  Some vaccinations require a series of doses over several weeks, so it is recommended you visit a travel doctor at least six weeks before departure.  Visas can take time to obtain so check with the relevant embassy and put that time into your calendar.  Pet care, house sitting and letterbox collection are also things you want to have time for – you need time to vet the house sitters for example.  Put these deadlines in your diary or calendar and stick to them to avoid the last-minute panic.

  1. Keep a packing list

As you think of things you will need on your holiday jot them down somewhere so that when you are packing (at the last minute!) you don’t have to think too much.  You might read some travel blogs of people who have been to the same place and advise to take certain items – you can add that to your list without worrying that you might forget in a couple of months.  Also your travel agent or tour operator may give you a suggested packing list for your specific activities so add that to your personal list as well.

  1. Sort out your work commitments

Pretend your last day at work before your holiday is one week before your actual last day.  That way, you can ensure you get your work finished in plenty of time (even if you don’t make that deadline, you still have time to complete it in the final week).  There have been studies showing that it takes people a few days to wind down from work and half your holiday might be wasted by the time you relax into it.  So why not start the wind-down process before you leave?  You can also spend the last week handing over to your co-workers, giving plenty of time to ensure all loose ends are tied up before you go.

Starting early and writing out a plan (and sticking to it!) will ensure your holiday is stress-free both in the preparation stage and enjoying it while you are there.  And if a safari is on your holiday list, OTA provides clear step-by-step guidance to assist you with preparing for travel to Africa (www.ota-responsibletravel.com).

OTA Kenya Safaris www.ota-responsibletravel.com

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Kenya and Tanzania – Where to Travel First?

Kenya and Tanzania – Where to Travel First?

Many travellers visiting East Africa come to see the Wildebeest Migration, climb a mountain, and relax on the beach.  Kenya and Tanzania offer all these experiences and the quintessential safari combines the three experiences across the two countries.  But where to start?  Planning any holiday is fraught with challenges as you want to make it perfect, so here’s a short guide to help you plan your East African safari.

OTA Kenya Safaris www.ota-responsibletravel.com

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya is the biggest transport hub for international flights, so the chances are you will arrive there.  Therefore it makes sense to start your safari in Kenya.  You can take a shower and rest in Nairobi after your long flight or set off immediately to the game reserves.  After an international flight, do you really want to transfer onto another flight to Tanzania or spend your first day in Africa driving along a highway from one city to another?

Working backwards in planning your trip also gives some clues about the order of the itinerary.  The majority of travellers like to finish their safari on the coast where they can spend a few days washing the dust off in the Indian Ocean.  Both Kenya and Tanzania have beautiful coastlines, but it’s mythical Zanzibar, off the Tanzanian coast, that attracts most people.  Especially with the recent spate of attacks in Mombasa, Kenya, the Tanzanian coast is increasingly popular.  There are regular flights from Zanzibar back to Nairobi to catch your departing flight home, so finishing here is a relaxing end to your holiday.

Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania or Mt Kenya is another popular pursuit that travellers to East Africa often include in their itineraries.  So surely it’s better start with the climb and then you can relax for the rest of the safari?  Not really.  It is better to start with the safari and climb after you have enjoyed the animals and sights.  Despite the numbers of people tackling Kilimanjaro’s summit, it is not a walk in the park and the altitude and physical exertion can knock a person around.  You don’t want to be sick or flaked out in the back of the safari vehicle while your fellow passengers are watching a lion hunt.

So in planning your East African safari holiday, start in Kenya with the famous Maasai Mara or other game reserves before heading south to Tanzania to climb Mt Kilimanjaro or enjoy the beaches of Zanzibar.

OTA Kenya Safaris www.ota-responsibletravel.com

Are you planning a safari in East Africa?  What experiences are on your bucket list for the trip?  OTA offers tailor-made itineraries for individuals and small groups with a focus on excellent customer care, safety and responsible travel.  We work closely with our clients to design their ideal itinerary according to their objectives, budget and time, incorporating both sightseeing highlights and visits to local NGOs and community projects.  

OTA Kenya Safaris www.ota-responsibletravel.com

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