Planning a trip but dont know where to start?

Do you feel daunted by the prospect of planning your next vacation? Overloaded with information, destinations and glossy images? We've compiled a quick guide to help you find the right trip for you.

If you're thinking of taking some time out to take a vacation or to travel, where do you start? With so much exposure to adverts, TripAdvisor reviews, recommendations from friends and seductive brochures it can be a daunting prospect to choose a destination, let alone contemplate what to do while you are there. Maybe that is why so many of us settle for an all-inclusive package that takes away the hassle of planning and organising our trip.

But planning a vacation can - and should - be a fun part of the whole experience. With a few tips, everyone should be able to find their ideal trip - whether that is lazing on a beach, swimming with dolphins or volunteering abroad.

Just follow these three simple steps to find the right vacation for you:

1. Think about what you want from your vacation (beyond having a great time!)

These days, we seem to be victims of "too much choice". We can travel pretty much anywhere in the world, and do everything from chilling in a villa, to scuba diving in the Antarctic. The first thing everybody usually considers is where they want to go - but it may actually be easier to think first about what you want to do.

How do you relax? Do you like being pampered, doing yoga, reading a book, or do you like to get your teeth into something to take your mind off everything?

Get away from it all
Do you want to escape into the wilderness or delve into the hustle and bustle of a new culture? Being immersed in a new way of life is a phenomenal way to put the stresses and strains of your daily life into a global perspective.

Go on an adventure
The relaxation can wait - you want to explore your world, try new things, and get a rush! Perhaps youíve always dreamed about climbing Everest or wondered what itís like to live with an African tribe. Why not use your well-earned vacation to fulfill one of those dreamsÖ Whether itís thrill-seeking or self-discovery, you won't regret making childhood dreams come true!

Learn something new or make a difference
Itís not everyoneís cup of tea to sit in a classroom learning Spanish or getting up at 5am to survey beaches during their vacation. However, learning something new or volunteering can be a most rewarding form of travel. Youíll gain so much when volunteering, whilst also giving something back to the local community or the environment. And you can now learn almost any new skill in the stimulating environment of a new country and different culture Ė from languages to cooking, from game ranger skills to journalism. Finding out what you want to get out of your trip is the first important step in planning a vacation. But donít try and tick too may boxes; concentrate on one or two things at a time. The last thing you want is having to recover from your vacation after trying to cram too much in!

2. Get the best from your traveling companions

It is important to think about who you are traveling with (if anyone), and about their needs and aspirations. Perhaps youíre going on a journey of self-discovery that you would rather undertake on your own, traveling with a friend and meeting new people, enjoying some time away as a couple, or maybe you would like to bring your young grandchildren along. There are many aspects to a great vacation and these requirements are very individual. Try to ensure that the experience is going to be enjoyable for all of you by thinking about what type of travel your family/friends enjoy, and discuss with them how to meet both your objectives.

3. Remember the highlights of vacations in the past

Think about the best vacation you have ever had and what it was that made it so special. Perhaps it was your travel companions, something you experienced or learned, spontaneity, tranquillity or discovering different ways of life. Everyone's different; what made you happy when you were on vacation? What experiences could you repeat or build upon, and how?

Of course there are always restrictions such as budget, traveling with children or annual leave which may dictate which part of the world you travel to. However, having gone followed these three steps you should now be ready to search have fun coming up with ideas for your vacation Ė without being daunted or distracted.

Enjoy! And donít forget to email or call our Travel Team if you need to chat over any of your ideas.

Written by Justin Francis