Sure, you still have a hangover from the past month’s festivities, but don’t let this be an excuse to slack off this January. The first month of the year is crucial for your 2018 planning. This is especially true for your vacation itinerary. There are many benefits you simply should not pass up. Read on to learn about the benefits of planning your 2018 travels now.

You get to make the most out of long weekends

With 18 possible long weekends, 2018 is proving to be an exciting year. As early as July of last year, Malacañang declared 20 holidays in 2018, 13 of which fall near the weekend. This means that you should plan your holidays early on, so you can strategically schedule your paid leaves. Here are some of the long weekends you can expect this year: February 16 to 18 (Chinese New Year), March 29 to April 1 (Holy Week), April 7 to 9 (Araw ng Kagitingan), April 28 to May 1 (Labor Day), June 9 to 12 (Independence Day), June 16 to 18 (Eid al-Fitr), August 18 to 21 (Ninoy Aquino Day), August 25 to 27 (National Heroes’ Day), November 1 to 4 (All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day), November 30 to December 2 (Bonifacio Day), December 22 to 25 (Christmas Day and special nonworking day), and December 29 to 31 (Rizal Day and special nonworking day). Plan on!

You get to take advantage of the resetting of vacation leaves

Speaking of leaves, companies often have a standard policy of resetting vacation leaves once a new year starts. This is an especially great time to plot out your leave credits, so you do not end up wasting them. A study by Beringer Vineyards has, in fact, revealed that 1 in 2 Filipinos end up wasting up to four VLs a year because of poor planning. Having a plan in place will also let you avoid using too leave credits many too soon that you end up drained the rest of the year with no possibility of taking a break.

You get to spend your money wisely

More than just being able to spend your long weekends and leave credits wisely, planning ahead will also let you use your money in smarter ways. It allows you to take advantage of money-saving deals, such as the lower rates offered for advanced booking of accommodations and flights. You also get to set a year’s worth of travel budget, giving you more time to come up with the needed amount and to allocate your financial resources accordingly.

You get to take advantage of year-starter sales

You may not be aware of it but airlines like Cebu Pacific and Air Asia offer seat sales during the holidays that extend to the first few weeks of the year. These seat sales can go as low as Php1,000 for international flights to nearby countries and Php200 for domestic flights. If you have enough money or if your credit line could afford it, this may be a good time to have all your flights for the year booked. Go ahead and enjoy a booking spree!

You get to secure accommodations even on peak seasons

Nothing can derail travel plans more than the unavailability of a place to stay. You can avoid this by booking your accommodations well in advance. Now you get to go to your favorite places even during peak season! How about spending Christmas day in Alta Vista De Boracay?

You get to make the most out of your favorite destination

Speaking of Boracay, every popular travel destination has an optimal time to visit. Planning as early as January will let you make the most out of your vacation. Boracay, for one, has events and festivals that are scheduled at the same time every year, allowing you to make advanced vacation planning. Some of the festivals you could join are the Parochial Fiesta on May 18 to 19 and the Balabag Fiesta on December 28 to 29. Early travel planning also lets you take advantage of the location’s best climate. In Boracay, that will be from March to May with almost guaranteed sunshine throughout this period, you get to make the most out of the island’s beaches, as well as its water activities. Go ahead and make Boracay 2018 happen!

You get to feed your thirst for travel

Everything just seems more meaningful when you have something to look forward to. It makes life worth living. And this is exactly what you get if you have a year-long travel itinerary in place. So go ahead and pour your energy into the planning process. Just make sure it is doable so you don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Keep the practicalities in mind while you plan.

You get to meet your travel goals

One of the exciting things about the arrival of a new year is the feeling of having a fresh start. People feel inspired to make deliberate changes in their lives. They come up with personal resolutions in the hopes of becoming better versions of themselves, or they simply wish to have a better year than the last one. For many people, the new year is also about setting goals and achieving them. This year, make it about finally making your travel goals happen. After all, it’s our experiences that make a lasting impression, more than any material things could.

You get to derive happiness from planning your vacation

study by researchers from the Netherlands measuring the effect of vacations on people’s happiness revealed something interesting: that the mere act of planning a vacation resulted to the largest boost in happiness. Moreover, the positive effects of vacation anticipation to a person’s level of happiness can last for up to eight weeks. All the more reason to get busy with your pen and paper!

You get to have peace of mind

Nothing creates peace of mind more than being organized. And planning lets you achieve this. Just like most other things in your life, having your travel plans all sorted out can lead to a better state of mind, which then leads to a happier you!

Go ahead and make this year a blast! Start you travel planning now.