Sunday, October 22, 2017

Travel Planning to Make the Most of your Holiday - Part One

My friends, family, and clients can tell you that I have some of the most amazing, fun-filled and rewarding vacations that they have ever heard anyone speak of. And this is true. My theory is that if I am going to spend X amount of dollars on a trip and take time away from my day-to-day life, then I want to make the most of it. I want to come home raving about my adventures, brimming with excitement, and owning a plethora of incredible memories and experiences that I will never forget. And that’s exactly what happens, every time.

I am a planner by nature, but I also have a spontaneous streak, which when going on holiday, ends up being a 80/20 split. In other words, I will plan out most of my vacation in advance, but will leave some of it to chance, depending on the place I am going and what it is I am doing. My agenda over the last 5 years has been focused mainly on Britain and Europe, and as such, good planning has allowed me to see and do every I wanted to enjoy. Yes, it takes time and effort—but I can assure you it is well worth it.

The first thing I do is think about what is of interest to me at this time in my life, simply because my interests and curiosities tend to change and evolve all the time. Last year, I was thinking of Greece for 2017, and the reason why is because I have always had a fascination with Greek history, mythology and architecture since I was a kid. I have drawn the Parthenon about 15 times, have read and re-read Homer’s works and those of the great Greek philosophers too. Having a personal interest in the place(s) you’re going to actually changes the dynamic of the trip itself. It starts to create meaning and will absolutely enrich your travels. Take the time to think about where your interests lie, and what would be fascinating for you to see or do.

Once you decide where you would like to go, you need to take into account the time of year, which may include some restrictions based on your job, family, etc. For me, January and February are considered two of the busiest investment months in my industry. I tend to choose September because I don’t have small children and I prefer to go after the summer when the crowds have disapated a little, and ok, when the kids are back in school. The weather should also play a part in your timing—two different hemispheres and all. I wouldn’t want to accidentally book a trip somewhere where that country’s “summer” may cause me to spontaneously combust when I’m not used to that kind of heat. You get my drift.

Next, do you go on your own or with a friend? If you have a boyfriend/girlfriend or a spouse, it might be a given you would go together, or possibly not, depending. I am single, and have a preference to travel on my own; however, on my last two trips, my friend Sheila accompanied me. If you do decide to travel with a friend, then my suggestion is to make sure that you are very comfortable being in the same space together for the duration of the trip. An honest, open dialogue is required before you decide on travelling together (and during, for that matter), because once you are at your destination, you don’t want discover that every little quirk about your friend is making you mental. Set out some rules and guidelines for some “alone” time so you don’t end up killing each other. Also, you need to have the same objectives as to what you want to get out of the trip. It’s fair to say that you can have different objectives to some extent and still make it work, but if one is a beach bum and the other is looking to seek out historical monuments, then you may find it a challenge. Also, being on the same economic level is important. If you are like me and picky about where you stay, then set a price range at the beginning of your research so there are no unpleasant surprises or disappointments.

Now it’s time to write down an itinerary; for example, if you are going to Italy, where do you want to go in Italy and for how long. For me, this takes a little research that can easily be done through travel guides, either on-line or the old-fashioned way. I absolutely LOVE Rick Steves’ iBooks because they work off-line, have great tips and recommendations, opening/closing times, maps, etc. Rick also has great TV shows and Travel Talks that you can access on You Tube that help you actually see the places you may want to go to. I also like the Eye-Witness Travel books—they have very detailed explanations and gorgeous pictures, and each area of a city is broken down into subsections that help you efficiently plan your time. I am not in the ranks with the aforementioned travel guru; however, I will also explain in each of my posts for my trips, where I went and why, so that may help you as well.

Once you have an idea of where you would like to go, start writing out dates and places. I do it the old-fashioned way, with paper and pen. That way you can cross out and change things as you play with the dates and the length of time in each place—and believe me, there will be a lot of that. Of course how long you plan to stay somewhere is based on what you want to do there, and if there are specific events you are going for, you will have to coordinate your timing to make it work. It’s like the chicken and the egg in some ways—which comes first. It’s actually a combination of both determining what you want to do, but also researching what there is to do—making the unknown known.

These are the primary considerations I use to get started, and as you begin this process, you will start to feel the excitement building—I know I do! Part Two of this post will be more focused determining your activities, points of interest, etc., how to finalize your plans and ensure you don’t waste time in line ups!

      PART TWO

No comments:

Post a Comment