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Got to Get Away

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I've been working really, really hard for the past few years. I've been studying hard in school, but I've also been working on campus during the school year and in my hometown every summer. I've been trying really hard to put away money while I'm in school. But I think I need to use some of it now—on a vacation! I just feel really burned out, and I think it would be a smart move to take some time off this coming summer instead of working the whole time like I usually do.

I do want to be careful about my budget, though, and I don't have a ton of time to plan. I know that I want to go somewhere interesting and exotic, rather than to a familiar spring break type of destination. Other than those things, though, I don't know much about what I should do or how I'm going to do it. Experts, can you help me plan a great vacation?

We can't plan your whole vacation for you, but we can provide some tips that should help make your planning process a whole lot easier. With a little know-how and some smart organizational skills, you can plan an affordable and enjoyable vacation.

First of all, though, we want to congratulate you on your smart decision to prioritize your mental health. For a hard worker and a careful saver, it can't have been easy to choose a vacation over more money in the bank. But you made the right call: Burnout is a very real mental health condition, and it sounds as if you are in danger of slipping into that state right now. A carefully planned vacation should be able to help you recharge without busting up your budget. In the long run, this could be a very smart investment in your personal and financial future.

Your schedule is pretty tight, though, which has you worried about how you'll find the free time to plan your free week (or two). Because of this, you may want to consider hiring someone else to plan your trip. Pre-planned and all-inclusive packages can be a smart choice when time is as important as money. You don't want your studies to suffer while you focus on your trip, after all. A planned trip can take you to beautiful and exotic places like the famous Haiku Stairs of Hawai'i (which, by the way, are named not after the Japanese poetry form, but rather in Hawai'ian), fast-paced and social European cities, or gorgeous and vibrant Caribbean locales.

If you want to plan things out for yourself, there are two keys: You'll need to start early, and you'll need to be highly organized. Set up a spreadsheet or another document of your choosing to act as your information hub. Put everything in one place, from reservations and flight numbers to payment information and packing lists.

As you plan, you'll want to look for ways to save money. Maybe doing so is as simple as hitting the liquor store, pharmacy, and other stores before you leave so that you can avoid being held hostage by high tourist-trap prices. Maybe you’ll look for free events and attractions that will make your day-to-day expenses less of a burden while still allowing you to see spectacular things. Or maybe you'll want to focus on making early reservations and looking for coupons and discounts. Our advice? Do all of the above!

Taking a vacation is a wonderful thing to do, especially while you're young and healthy. You've made the right choice, and we're sure that you're going to plan the perfect trip. Bon voyage!

Content provided by Scholarship Media.