Ladies and Gentlemen,
In this post I am going to address the importance of planning a trip. Here is what you can expect from this post.
- Why plan and not fly by the seat of your pants?
- 1. You won’t know what you are missing
- 2. You might miss out on something important i.e. The Louvre because it may be closed
- 3. You can end up wasting loads of cash by booking hotels, hostels and trains the day of
By nature I (Joseph) am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of guy. Before I met my lovely wife I had always traveled without much of a plan. Everything seemed to work out in the end. Why change a good thing right? Wrong. I discovered through the course of planning our big trip last year the value of planning out the details.
My great change in this area hit me like a ton of bricks while reading Rick Steves book, Europe Through The Back Door. In there he says something to the effect of this. If you plan every detail, every minute of your trip, then you know exactly what you are missing if you choose not to follow your plan.
If you decide that hiking to the top of Kotor’s 1300 stair hilltop fortress is better than what you had written, going to the Kotor mall, then you would probably be right in skipping that part of your plan. However, if it is staying in extra day in Annecy-which wouldn’t be bad in itself-instead of spending and extra day in Paris, then you would probably be better off sticking to your plan. But if you didn’t plan ahead then you wouldn’t know that you would miss out on seeing Notre Dame to spend an extra day at the lake. BIG MISTAKE!
When traveling, especially to Europe, there are amazing monuments, historical buildings, parks and museums to see. But how disappointing would it be to travel all of the way to Innsbruck, Austria to see the amazing mountainous views and not be able to take the Funicular because you arrive after 5:30pm when it closes? That would suck.
Megan and I are hard working middle class people. We are major budgeters and that is what allows us to travel so much. Budget travel is close to our hearts. Most of the time if you book the day or even a few days before chances are you will not get to stay at unforgettable (in the good sense of the word) places. Not only that but most of the time prices are also higher the day of. This is especially true when it comes to inter-country trains. They can cost you 3-4 times the amount when booked the day of and may not be even available. Airbnb has great accommodations at a reasonable price. There best places get booked out weeks, if not months, ahead.
When painting a room the prep work is the most important step of the process. If prep work isn’t done properly your new paint job won’t last very long and you may have accidentally painted over your electrical outlets! Prep work is usually not the fun part and can take as long as the journey itself. From my experience as a used-to-be non-planner I will never take a trip without planning again. We LOVED 99% of our pre-made choices and rarely ended up somewhere that we didn’t want to be. Our lodging was awesome, our sightseeing was awesome and we came in under budget! That would have never been achieved without the 70+ hours we put into planning our 40 days in Europe!
Don’t end up stuck in the hostel from hell, plan ahead!
Until next time, I am Joseph Lewin, and enjoy the journey!