Planning An Overseas Holiday Pt 1.

I love to plan. I like small scale planning projects and big scale planning projects, and most of all, I like planning something that results in me enjoying a wonderful holiday. I’m due for long service leave next year, which means I’ll have three months off of work (with pay), and will have the time and opportunity to do a little bit of international travel. I thought it might be fun to include a little holiday-planning series of posts on The Belle Lumiere, and this will be the first in a short string of posts revolving around how I plan an international trip.

Step 1 – Choose Your Destination
Have you ever sat down and thought about where in the entire world you’d like to travel to? It’s a near impossible task, as there are SO many options available. I’d already started thinking about heading back to New York at some stage, and my partner was all over the idea so we decided that the US was the best fit for our 2015 trip. Once we’d decided on the country, we broke it down to where in particular we’d like to visit and came up with New York, Washington DC, and Phoenixville (to hopefully visit some of my family).

Step 2 – Plan Your Travel Time
For me it was pretty easy to pick when we’d be heading overseas, as I only have a three month window to choose from. Looking at the months available, I decided that November would be the best month for us to travel in, as we both want to celebrate Thanksgiving in the US (October was too soon and December would be too cold). We’re still not sure how long we’ll be away for, but at this stage we’re loosely planning around a two-three week trip.

Step 3 – Think About Your Options (accommodation/travel)
It’s a good idea to start thinking about what you’re planning to do when you get to wherever it is that you’re going. Are you going to stay in a hostel, a hotel, with friends? How do you think you’ll get there, is there any particular flight path you think you want to take? At this stage we’re planning on just visiting the east coast of the US, so flying through Hong Kong makes the most sense. As for accommodation, I’m looking into AirBnB options to see what is available. If that fails, we’ll be looking for some reasonably priced hotel options. Hostels are not for us. Deciding what you want early on also makes it easier to keep an eye out for any flight or accommodation sales that may pop up before your travel date.

Step 4 – Write Up A Budget
Figuring out your budget early is the best way to plan a holiday, in my experience. Once you know how much money you can comfortably save, you know the base line of what you have to work with for your trip. Anything you can add into the kitty on top of that can be bonus money, or you can re-assess your budget halfway through the planning process and see if there is anything you’d like to switch up and possibly pay more for.

Step 5 – A General Plan
I like to think about just what it is I want to do when traveling, quite far in advance. I find writing a general, broad plan quite far in advance makes it a lot easier to get to the nitty-gritty detail planning as it gets closer to the date of travel. I’ve written up a list of touristy things we want to see and do while in the US, and as if I think of anything else as time progresses I’ll add them to the list.

So those are the initial planning steps that I follow, I’d love to hear if anyone has a similar or different method to planning an overseas trip! be sure to leave any tips or tricks you can think of in the comments below.

10 Essentials For A Tropical Holiday

If you missed my frequent mentioning of it (or the snapshots I posted), I went on a holiday to Bali earlier in the month. I went for a week with my boyfriend and my family, and it was an amazing little getaway. I know people have mixed feelings about traveling to Bali, but it was the second time I’ve been and I would definitely considering going back there in the future. Here are my top 10 items to take along –

01) A signature holiday scent. Every time I go on holiday (regardless of where I’m going), I pick a specific fragrance to take and wear for the duration of the trip. That way when I’m back home I get flooded with nice holiday memories whenever I wear that perfume. For this trip to Bali, my perfume of choice was Byredo’s Gypsy Water.

02) A bright lipstick. I try to stay makeup-free for the most part (the heat melts off anything I put on my face anyway), but if we head out somewhere nice for dinner or drinks at night I like to add a bright pop of colour to my lips. NARS Carthage is my favourite BRIGHT pink lipstick, and it has the added benefit of being a dry matte formula that doesn’t smudge/melt off of the lips.

03) Sunscreen! I can’t stress this enough. If you’ve ever traveled with me you’ve probably heard me reminding you to reapply your sunscreen at least five times a day. I have extremely fair skin that can burn within the space of 10 minutes, so I wear a LOT of sunscreen when I know I’ll be spending time outdoors. My favourite facial sunscreen is the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Fluid Extreme SPF 50+, and my favourite body sunscreen is the Cancer Council Sports Sunscreen (which is also 50+).

04) Pantene 3 Minute Miracle. My hair gets really dry when I’m swimming every day and spending a lot of time in the sun, so I always pack one of the Pantene 3 Minute Miracle tubes to deep condition the ends of my hair daily.

05) Fluroscent nails. I only ever really wear super-bright nail shades when I’m on holiday, or in the dead of summer. My two favourite “tropical holiday” nail polish shades are Essie ‘Pink Parka’ and China Glaze ‘Flip Flop Fantasy’.

06 A crossbody hand bag. I carry this style of handbag with me where I travel, regardless of where I’m going. Being able to go handbag hands-free is so handy, especially when hauling luggage through the airport. I took my Marc by Marc Jacobs Downtown Lola bag with me this time around, and although it was a little too small for travel days, it was perfect for day-to-day wear, and when we headed out at night.

07) Black maxi dress. I nearly always travel wearing a maxi dress because I find them so comfortable to wear on the plane. My all-time favourite maxi is a grecian style one from GAP, but this time around I gave my new ASOS baby a spin.

08) A bathing suit. Although I prefer the styling of one-piece bathing suits, they are NOT practical at all when you’re spending a day at the pool. Because of that, I lean towards two piece ‘tankini’ style bathing suits like this one from J Crew.

09) A holiday-specific playlist. Similarly to the perfume, I put together a holiday playlist to listen to before and during the trip. I love doing this, because music always stirs up a lot of memories for me. My number one song for this trip was ‘Magic’ by Coldplay, which is getting a lot of airtime at the moment, and it makes me happy every time I hear it.

10) Something to read. I tend to opt for light, easier sort of reads on holiday because I find them easier to pick up and put down in between dips in the pool but my all time favourite tropical holiday read is The Beach by Alex Garland.