Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Confessions of a Conflicted Travel Planner

Confessions of a Conflicted Travel Planner

Old Sep 9th, 2004, 04:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,067
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

I still think that due to varying semantics, there's some wide ranging takes here on what exactly is planning and what is research.

As I'd said on the similar thread that's floating around now, I research. I don't plan. To my definitions,

Research: might include knowing what time Museum X is open; where you buy tickets and when the lines are worst. May or may not go based on that knowledge, depending on mood or alternative opportunities once on the ground.

Planning: May or may not be well researched, but dang it - we're going Tuesday from 1:00 to 2:15 and will have lunch at the cafe directly adjacent. We will be having cucumber sandwiches. Crusts removed.

Neither: So, now that we're here, do you think they have anything good to see here in London? You think we should ask this dude in the funny hat what he thinks?

Clifton is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2004, 08:01 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 6,117
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
TUCK, my apologies for not having seen your name. For the last year I have mostly only read the France board but will look for your trip report.
hopingtotravel is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2004, 01:46 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,249
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Degas: deja vu. Reading your travel planning methods, I thought I was reading my own diary. Can't think of anything to add.
twoflower is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2004, 06:32 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 13,323
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Does being flexible come with age? Well, given my age, I'm able to twist myself into a knot!

Seriously, I've known plenty of people, of all ages, who were too rigid in an approach to travel and let so many small things throw them off stride.

But of course there was the infamous time the LW was pissed all morning when she bought a phone and a block later saw a cheaper one with more minutes!
degas is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2004, 06:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 262
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Degas, I am also a planner. I read up on where I am going, and then pull out the maps, and figure out what else I can see en-route to the major destinations.
Then I figure out how much I am willing to travel each day, be it car or train or other. I usually like to do no more than 2-3 hours in a day, but I usually end up with 2 big travel days in any 2 week trip (just always ends up this way!)
Then I start to look into hotels/motels/B&Bs (the latter is my preference), with advice from guidebooks and here, and I try to book places that I can see on the internet (usually I have a pretty good gauge from the location and the pictures if I will feel comfortable there). Personally, I don't want to waste my vacation time searching for a place to put my head-- that's what the planning is for!
As I do all this research, I create a spreadsheet, and make notes about the places we want to see (and any pertinent info, ie, strange hours, closed on Mondays), any good restaurant tips, etc. I include confirmation #s for the hotels and phone numbers.
If we are going to be driving a lot, I also pull of maps and directions off the internet to minimize our getting lost.
Then I take my spreadsheet (give it to the worry-wart family members too), and maps, and maybe one travel guide as a reference. If we are going to drive a lot, I usually get a road atlas too. (OK, I just love maps!!!)
We don't strictly adhere to a schedule, but we usually hit the sites we know we want to see, and then wander a bit. We always ask locals for restaurant advice, and if it matches a tip we already have, so much the better!
I know I sound completely anal rentative by creating spreadsheets, but it really does help me organize, and I have all the info in one place, the family loves it because they know where we are, and I put notes on it when I get back (how the hotel was, etc.), and I often pass it along to other people for their travel planning!
jonesie is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2004, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 96,911
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
I always have to pipe up as a minimalist planner yet successful vacationer. Maybe it's because my expectations are not high and my style travel style is low-key.

Give me a plane ticket and hotel reservations (researched on the internet then booked direct), pack my suitcase and I'm off. Maybe if I get real structured I buy a guidebook to read on the plane!

Each trip normally involves 1-3 different places and is 10-21 days. I realize if I ever do a whirl-wind tour of the Continent a tiny bit more forethought will be required.
suze is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2004, 11:45 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 13,323
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
degas is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 04:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,637
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm linking this to
Paris Superthread
London Superthread
Helpful Information Italy
elaine is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 04:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,699
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Good idea, elaine.
ira is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2005, 08:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 44
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This is a great thread. I've learned some things and I've also learned that I'm on a pretty good track with my planning habits.

I cut/paste itineraries for hours before a trip, then we take that print out with us. We've mostly used it as a point of reference. I also paste in a small picture of the lesser known stops we want to make. It reminds us what appeals to us about it. We carry it in one of our packs and it gets tattered after a couple of days. But, after that we try to wing it. Using a plan as well as being spontaneous works for us.
Jenn906 is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2005, 11:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,571
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We are terrible travelers, and bad planners, and at times have spent hours at our destinations (in our reasonably well-researched lodgings) reading the way too many guidebooks that we packed and pondering what to do. Your approach is much, much superior. But for everyone, I would advise, close the guidebook at some point, forget about what even your best friend told you, go out, wander, and be surprised!
Dave_in_Paris is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2005, 11:32 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 183
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have often felt that I was conflicted in my travel as well! How strange.

I spend an incredible amount of time figuring out what it is I would like to see and do, and places I might like to eat for places in my itinerary.

I note addresses, open hours, payment options, telephone numbers, admission fees, interesting details if it's an attraction or types of food if it's a restaurant.

I do all this planning and research and format it to print on blank business cards so that it's easy to carry in my wallet or pocket. I make separate cards for attractions for specific areas and separate ones for restaurants in particular areas. (For example, for my last trip to Venice, I have cards labels "Things to See and Do in Canneregio," "Places to Eat in Dosoduro.") I also marked my map with small circular, colored labels (green for attractions, yellow for restaurants) so I can visually see the concentration of attractions and restaurants I was interested in.

I didn't want to plan each day - most of the time I just want to wander but some times I want to just do things - so if I found myself at any given place, and wanted to see a sight or wanted to try a restaurant someone had recommended, I could just grab the card and go.

A friend was going to a few places I had been and got a lot of use out of my maps and cards.

Now that I think I have revealed myself to be crazy, I will just get back to work. :0
Mamma_Love is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Travel Tips & Trip Ideas
Sep 8th, 2008 09:59 PM
Aug 19th, 2008 04:33 PM
Jan 19th, 2008 12:55 PM
Dec 22nd, 2005 09:04 AM
Mar 29th, 2005 11:26 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -