If you are like me, I work with the goal to enjoy my well-deserved time off. I want to discover the world and travel to the best destinations. Unfortunately, I don’t prioritize my vacation planning. Instead, when it’s time to take a vacation, I simply book it. So, I only focus on that vacation, but it feels like I should be more strategic… I use Kanban for almost everything I do, so why not also for vacation planning?

Follow a simple process to plan vacations

Booking the ideal vacation takes more than just picking a destination. The process can be kept simple and I have boiled it down to: planning, booking, visualizing and closing. For the final step when returning from vacation, I use a quick decision point to “Do it again” for a fun experience, or “Never again” to make sure to not recommend it to anyone. You can see on the screenshot below that the Done column has been split into 2 sub-columns to clearly identify the outcome of the vacation.

Template Vacation 1 1200x606

As I was building this board, it felt like the pull process to flow each vacation idea as a Kanban card was effective, but the goal was not only to complete these card, it was to visually map the best time of the year to go on vacation. When helping organizations execute their vision, we often use a visual road map to plan the work in quarters. This has the huge advantage to spread the work across the year and ensure that we respect any seasonality elements to select the work. When it came to vacation planning, one of the first question is: when is the best time of the year to travel to a specific location?

By using quarters that roughly match seasons, it was very easy to schedule a vacation card in the best quarter to travel. Just like work, I was able to make decisions based on seasonal constraints and get a more balanced way to allocate my vacation time.

Long term vacation planning

I remember attending one of these dreadful timeshare presentations. I wanted to see Las Vegas for the first time and a free trip was offered to me… if I simply sat through a presentation. Since I had never heard of anything like this before, I figured why not!

This was the first and last time, but the salesperson did give me one good advice about vacation planning: “by investing ahead to plan your future vacations, you will make sure to actually go on vacation”. Timeshares that use a point system will “force” you to use it or lose it, as these points expire every year. Somehow it made sense to me that planning vacations on yearly cycles was the way to go.

Before, I only focused on that big vacation every year. Once I started planning for 2 years (current and next year) by visualizing 8 quarterly planning opportunities, I realized that planning shorter vacations, including weekend getaways made me very happy. I suddenly felt like I could take more vacations. I should also mention that where I live in Scottsdale Arizona, it’s a great place for taking a staycation… With all the resorts and specials during the crazy hot summer season, you can spend a spa day or weekend in a gorgeous resorts that feels like you just escaped to a luxurious destination.

Now, I plan for at least 4 vacations per year and each of these keep getting better and better. Just like any Kanban board, I have explicit agreements in each WIP column, so that I ensure to plan every aspect of the vacation. Also the contents of my cards have evolved into a detailed template that I can re-use to always capture key research elements like best time of the year, points of interests, things to do, great restaurants, festivals, etc…

Are you ready to improve the way you vacation?

This simple process of visualizing your vacation on a Kanban board will surprise you because all you are changing is capturing vacations on cards and then flowing these until completion, while making better decisions about priorities and scheduling.

If you plan as a couple or a family, then you will get the added benefit of collaborating to create the ideal vacation. Learn more about this Vacation Planning template, which is included in all our plans. Try it for yourself during your free trial and you will quickly see how you can enjoy better vacations.

PS: If you enjoyed this blog about Personal Kanban, then you might like this one about Couples in Love using a Kanban system to plan for date nights and get that honey-do list done.