If you are ready to make your next vacation a reality, then you need to start delving into all the bits and pieces that must be put together to create it. Many factors and decisions are made in this process. Fortunately, the following paragraphs can help unblock you mentally, if you are stuck on what to do next.
The most important thing to figure out is simply where you want to go. Are you hoping for surf and sun, or snow and fun? Perhaps you want an exotic safari experience, or time with distant relatives. Talk to anyone who will be traveling with you for what they want to do. Write down all ideas that come to mind on a list over the course of a week. Then, one weekend afternoon, start sifting through the list. You should be able to knock half the possibilities off the lost for what become obvious reasons. As you juxtapose the remaining ones, you will eventually find your winner.
Once you know where you are going, decide when you are going. If it is someplace that you are relatively unfamiliar with, then research it online some. Know when the peak tourist seasons are so you can avoid them for less crowds and lower prices. Alternatively, know when the cold, wet and even monsoon seasons are so that you do not spend all day indoors, unless that works perfectly for you.
As soon as you know when you want to go, start shopping for airline tickets. This is usually the first step that creates the real life bookends for your trip and blocks out the time on your calendar and in your mind. Buying tickets early also typically means the cheapest tickets and the flight time and seats you prefer. Also be sure to investigate the airports in cities other than yours for different carriers, or perhaps more competition for lower fares if the airport there is not a hub. Sometimes a short bus ride of a few hours to another airport can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars on your airfare.
Once your flights are booked, start looking for your overnight accommodations. If you can, stay the most consecutive nights in one place whenever possible. This will keep you from packing and checking in and out every day. It should also keep you from getting road weary while on your trip. Always look for places with creature comforts past the rooms, like swimming, breakfast, exercise rooms and on-site restaurants. You will need some evenings just to stay within your home away from home.
Flesh out your days. Find places on the map that you want to see, and identify any activities that look like fun. Ideally, you are going to have twice as many possibilities as you are going to actually have time for. Some things will be closed, or too crowded, more expensive than you thought or just rained out. Leave yourself wiggle room. Also, the personal advice of locals can make or break a last minute decision on precisely what is worth doing.
Once you are done with all this, make sure your budget is lined up right, you have time off and someone is caring for your house. Pack up and go have fun!