You’ve got a whole year to plan for a trip in December! Breaking it down into manageable monthly tasks should help. Try following the schedule below (some adjustments may be necessary for the destinations and travel dates you have in mind), and be on your way to a grand family vacation abroad.
January: Decide on a travel date. Your kids’ breaks will be the biggest determinant, but make sure you can take an extended leave as well. Save up your leave credits and file for a vacation leave way in advance.
February: Decide where to go. Making this a family decision ensures everyone will have something to look forward to. When you settle on a destination, do some initial research: Study the visa requirements, bookmark hotel sites, pick up a few guidebooks, set a rough budget, and check reviews online. You’ll revisit each of these steps later on, but now, you want to check for any special requirements you’ll need to take care of early on.
March: Make sure everyone’s passports are current. Passports about to expire in six months are no longer valid for travel. The renewal process requires a personal appearance, and slots can be booked up to months ahead (family slots can be reserved, so you can all go together). Once you get an appointment, it will take from 10 (express) to 20 (regular) working days to get your new passport.
April: Plan for accommodations. It may seem presumptuous to book your transport and accommodation before getting all your other requirements in order, but if you’re applying for a new tourist visa, most countries will look for proof of these.
May: Review your visa requirements. Start preparing all the necessary documents. These may include transport and accommodation arrangements, bank statements, government clearances, and so on. When processing your documents, make sure they stay valid until they’re actually needed for the application.
Some documents expire within three to six months. Check the lead times for setting an appointment and processing the application, so you can adjust your schedule accordingly.