Every vacation day counts, especially for those who don't have the luxury of time on their side. So you’ll understand our surprise when we learned during a collaborative dinner between Beringer Wines and Trip Advisor that one out of two Filipinos wastes an average of four vacation days a year due to poor planning.

In a survey commissioned by Beringer Vineyards, it was also revealed that 51 percent of Filipino respondents have been to a destination they had no interest in just because someone else was willing to plan it for them.

In order to maximize and thoroughly enjoy your vacation days, you’ll need to take part in its planning. Here are a few planning hacks to remember before taking that next trip.

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1. Be single-minded.

Don’t try to set it and book it all in one go. While it’s easy enough to decide everything on the spot, the planning process should be step by step.  

2. Cut airport time.

Pay all your fees in advance and always check in online when the option is available. This will save you time and stress that airports often cause. Another secret? Reader’s Digest suggests taking the leftmost line, since it’s oftentimes the shortest. Most people are right-handed and have the tendency to head to the rightmost line.

3. Note your frequent flyer miles.

You may track and utilize all points earned through apps like AwardWallet and you’ll find that you can rack up points through everyday purchases with your credit card.

Of course, exclusive perks await more loyal flyers, so if this is what you’re after, stick to only one or two airlines to achieve elite status.

4. Establish a collective travel goal.

When someone in the travel group takes the lead in planning, you could sometimes resort to what is psychologically known as “social loafing” and leave yourself out of the planning. Then you eventually learn that not everyone has the same travel itinerary in mind. Some might want to lounge in their rooms, while others expect nights out. Before jetting off, make your intentions clear for that particular trip and find a common ground in your travel goals.

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5. Consult the experts.

While you may have gotten used to plan-it-yourself trips, travel agencies and tour guides allow you entry to inaccessible tours and activities. Many agencies will even personalize your trip according to your preference and recommend experiences that you’ve never even heard of.

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6. Book during the off-season.

It's always best to know when exactly to book. Travel website Skyscanner provides further insight on this. The best time book a flight from the Philippines is 19 weeks before departure and the best month to travel, on average, appears to be November.

7. Plan every mode of transportation.

Travelers should consider alternative methods of transportation, such as buses and trains. They allow you to see sights you wouldn’t be able to see from the plane, and waiting times aren’t as hectic as when boarding a domestic flight. For longer trips, short-term car rentals will save you from having to master the local transport system.

8. Make use of on-demand service apps for last minute reservations.

Service apps have made reservations a breeze. Apart from Uber and its plethora of services—UberBoat for water travel, UberChopper or UberBalloon for air travel, and UberSelect of UberLUX for land travel—there are other lesser-known service-driven apps like Velocity Black for general concierge purposes and JetSmarter for booking private planes.

9. Pre-set all the routes you plan on taking for the day.

When touring a city on your own, technology again saves the day with Google Maps' option to download a map and save your destination so you may save both your gadget’s battery life and mobile data. Do this for all the sights you plan to visit for the day.

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This story originally appeared on Townandcountry.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.

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