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

Do those of you who obsess over every detail really have marvelous trips?

Do those of you who obsess over every detail really have marvelous trips?

Aug 10th, 2002, 06:41 PM
  #1  
curious
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Do those of you who obsess over every detail really have marvelous trips?

After reading all the posts here about making reservations at just the right restaurant for lunch and dinner every day and having to have the perfect hotel, I am really curious. Do your trips live up to your expectations, or do they fall short? Personally, I just don't get it--this level of intense planning--because I think the travel experiences that are the most memorable are those that just happen (the encounter with an unusual person or event or the chance to see something unexpected. Plus, I have found that some of the most heavily hyped places are very disappointing in real life.
 
Aug 10th, 2002, 06:56 PM
  #2  
Linda
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Don't know that I am obsessive, but I do like to plan. Not down to lunch and dinner reservations, but I certainly want to know where I am going, when, how, etc. All the planning makes my trips more fun. And even when you have planned carefully, you still have chance encounters, unexpected experiences, and meet interesting people.

Personally, going on a trip without proper planning would diminish my enjoyment, not enhance it.

 
Aug 10th, 2002, 07:12 PM
  #3  
John G
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Frankly, darling, I just pack up the Louis with Miu Miu and Calon Segur, hop on Virgin to London, land on Damian Hirst's doorstep, and say, "Sweetie, take me to lunch at the Groucho? Your treat."
 
Aug 11th, 2002, 02:17 AM
  #4  
Kate
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
When I'm travelling alone, I make a detailed itinerary, including where I'm going to eat, have a drink etc, at every point. It simply saves time. You want to make the most of your holiday, because holidays in big cities tend to be too short, there's too much to do, and it's simply a waste of time wandering around looking for somewhere to stop, or wondering what you can see when you just happen to be in such and such neighbourhood, or eating badly when you could be eating something great.

That doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed some unplanned surprises when the plan backfired. The wax museum in Rome is my favourite memory of Rome, and I happened upon it by accident. But generally, having the plan is better.

With other people, I can't make such
a detailed itinerary, because people will always slow you down. (Damn them!). They'll want to wander longer in a certain area, or have a rest. They're not as inclined to walk up and down a street, apparently getting lost, in search of a tiny and bizarre gelateria that's supposed to make the best zuppa inglese in the world. But holidays with other people are about being with the other people, it's a completely different kind of pleasure. And even then, still a better idea to plan a few places to eat and a few things to see, because tempers fray faster on holiday, and just wandering - when you're persistently not finding anything you want - can quickly feel like torture.
 
Aug 11th, 2002, 03:28 AM
  #5  
Julie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
You betcha. Half the fun is in the planning. If you read a lot about your destinations and know what's out there to see, do and eat where you are really prolonging the joy of the trip. Then when you are actually on your trip you can see more because you can find it quickly instead of taking time then to map things out. I'm often teased about how I have everything planned to the gnat's eyelash but when I don't plan ahead well, my experience is that everyone just sits around looking at each other saying "well, what shall we do, where shall we go today?" What a waste of time. You always have to be ready to rearrange your plans if something good presents itself, but not having a plan--and a pretty detailed one at that--saves time, money and friendships not to mention marriages.
 
Aug 11th, 2002, 03:42 AM
  #6  
Denise
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I agree with Julie, in fact her posts helped me plan my last trip. I think it depends on what type of person you are. I enjoy the planning stage and my husband doesn't. Of course, not every minute is planned and you take detours along the way, but knowing ahead of time the type of restaurants you could choose from, helps save time.

Denise
 
Aug 11th, 2002, 04:05 AM
  #7  
flygirl
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
instead of planning it all out per se,
I think it's a good idea to have a fairly comprehensive list of what you would like to experience/see/do (and if this includes restaurants, great - I don't, but maybe I should - I've had some execrable drop-in type meals!!) and then allow the chips to fall where they may, when you get there.

a cheat sheet of sorts. not, if it's Tuesday it's the Eiffel Tower, but a bunch of things you gotta try to not miss and when you need a kickstart you check it out.

of course reading up on the history and reasons WHY you want to see what you are seeing, is the most important thing...
 
Aug 11th, 2002, 04:55 AM
  #8  
John B.
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Good question. Where does planning for the basics such as where to stay, for how long and what to do and see end, and where does obsession begin?

I don't know, but I do like to plan and since I'm retired I have to time to do so. I see the planning as part of the anticipated enjoyment of the trip itself. I read about where we are going, check websites, get maps and plan a route. I want to know in advance what one might expect. I also leave plenty of time for just poking around on our own. Driving to remote villages, going to a fair, concert and the like.

 
Aug 11th, 2002, 05:07 AM
  #9  
pam
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Planning the trip is alot of fun for me. I do not plan EXACTLY where to eat for lunch but I do have a list of possible choices for each day. If something comes up or our plans for the day change,it is important to be FLEXIBLE enough to just go with it and enjoy yourself. Planning the way that I try to gives you more options, not less and nothing is written in stone.
The answer to your question is, "yes". It is really great when you realize that all the work really did make things go that much smoother. Many of the ideas I've gotten here helped us enjoy meals I'll never forget, get from one place to another more easily and enjoy sites I might not have thought about. People who plan the way I do enjoy it, or they wouldn't do it. I know alot of people who just have a hotel and plane reservation, a guide book and a destination. They have fun too.
 
Aug 11th, 2002, 05:37 AM
  #10  
Andrea
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
My husband and I take different sides of this debate.

I consider myself a moderate planner. Typically, I read up a LOT in advance, and then choose no more than 1 - 2 things I would very much like to see per day.

My husband, on the other hand, is the Anti-Planner.

On our first few trips together, we would get into at least one fight. He would want to wander aimlessly, I would suggest, "Since we're wandering, why don't we wander down Street X?" (which conveniently leads down to Church Y), and on the way, I'd PEEK into my guidebook to see if perhaps one of the magnificent mansions on Street X was the former home of Author Z, where he wrote his famous ABC.

BAM! Instant Fight! (Why do I always have to consult the guidebook, can't I just enjoy the city? My reply: This IS how I enjoy the city! I ENJOY reading about the places I am.)

Since we have such different traveling styles, we've finally reached a great compromise. We plan about a half day in two that we spend on our own. He wanders aimlessly, and I usually go to a museum or two or some other place he's not interested in.

And our trips are marvelous!
 
Aug 11th, 2002, 05:53 AM
  #11  
Nancy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
All that planning really pays off. Why stay in justany hotel you can find in your price range when a little research rewards you with a hotel that's nicer, a better value for the dollar, and better located, or the same price or even lower? I always collect dining possibilities and plot them on my map. No matter where I happen to be at mealtime, there will be places nearby I want to try. All that planning really does pay off. Even so, there are always plenty of unexpected and pleasant experiences in every way. I know and have run into lots of people that do very little, if any planning. Some never even buy a map ahead of time or ever. They waste LOT of time and miss a LOT (often things that were half a block away, they just didn't know it). My trips have always exceeded my expectations, and I have very high expectations.
 
Aug 11th, 2002, 05:54 AM
  #12  
Gotcha
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
For many who do not plan or do any research before leaving home, their most memorable experiences are disasters that could easily have been avoided.
 
Aug 11th, 2002, 06:02 AM
  #13  
Ian
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Yep.

I agree with many above. Planning is fun.

It also can be very useful & prevent 'touring blunders". Case it point:

2 yrs ago we hopped down to Barcelona & area for 5 days after a busy & stressful business week in France being tour organiser & guide for 14 customers & wives. After Barcelona, I had chosen a nice hotel for a nite - Imperial Taracco(?) & our room had an awesome view of the Mediterranean & a Roman amphitheater immediately below.

However, I had not checked any local guidebooks etc for the area.

We arrived Sunday early PM & had a leisurely lunch. When we went to visit the amphitheater & museum, we found that is closed Sunday @ 2pm & was also closed Monday. Missed it. We were leaving Monday AM for the Figueres area.

So, my first shot at wandering around a Roman amphitheater was down the drain (we have since been to Italy, so my quest has been satisfied).

We were also blind about restaurants & they also closed Sunday (or the bulk of them).

More planning & trip re-arranging would have saved the day. We enjoyed ourselves anyway (OK, OK I was sullen & resentful for a couple of hours) but . . .
 
Aug 11th, 2002, 06:05 AM
  #14  
xxx
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Planning the trip is part of the fun of traveling. My husband and I enjoy doing research in bookstores and on the internet - taking notes when something seems interesting. It really gets you thinking about the places you will visit so, hopefully, there will be no unpleasant surprises.

Even with all our planning, we are always open to last minute changes and opportunities for new adventures which we may not have planned on.
 
Aug 11th, 2002, 06:11 AM
  #15  
Liz
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I seem to spend more time planning, and learning about the destination with every trip. This is probably because I used to come home from trips and THEN hear or read about something wonderful that was 15 minutes off our route, but we didn't know about it.
 
Aug 11th, 2002, 06:30 AM
  #16  
jane
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I don't think the original question is about pre-planning. It is about obsessive (having to get everything just perfect) type of planning in order to have the ultimate trip. Obviously it is best if you have researched an area beforehand and to have some idea of what you want to see and do, and in what sequence--everyone acknowledges that. A nice place (different thing to different people)to stay can make all the difference, and blowing the opportunity to see a major attraction because it is closed when you choose to visit can be disturbing. But, to get back to the original question, what happens when the area or place doesn't live up to the planners' expectations and what happens to this perfectly planned trip if something interferes with the schedule of events? Does anyone who has planned such a trip have a little nagging voice in the back of her head saying, This isn't what I thought it would be but I've put so much time and energy into planning this perfect trip that I should just forge ahead despite the fact that I'm really kind of disappointed?
 
Aug 11th, 2002, 06:31 AM
  #17  
Sandy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I agree that planning is half the fun. But, I think it's the "planners" that think planning is fun. If you ask those that plan their holidays, you would most likely find that they (including me) also make plans in other areas of their lives and are basically organized people, don't procrastinate, like doing research... are intelligent! Just thought I'd add that last trait but I'd like to hear from all you other "planners"... agree or disagree that planning is a way of life!
 
Aug 11th, 2002, 06:46 AM
  #18  
Andrea
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
<<If you ask those that plan their holidays, you would most likely find that they (including me) also make plans in other areas of their lives and are basically organized people, don't procrastinate, like doing research . . .>>

In our case, it's just the opposite! I'm the planner on/before vacations, but am VERY disorganized in "real" life. My husband, AKA the Anti-Planner, is the most organized, planner-person I know in "real" life, but hates the thought of ANYTHING being planned on vacations. He organizes and plans in "real" life, and on vacation just wants to relax.

I think there are probably equal cases of both (vacation/"real" life personalities similar vs. opposite).
 
Aug 11th, 2002, 06:58 AM
  #19  
xxx
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Sandy, yes, I am a planner in my life beyond traveling. I don't think it means that anyone is more intelligent than a non-planner though. I just like to feel ready and prepared, if possible, and if that means spending a little extra time to make a list or do something ahead of schedule then I will do it.

Jane, no matter how much research you do when traveling, there is always a little something that comes along which may not have been just what you expected. That happened to us twice during our recent trip to Italy and France. In one instance, the hotel was not at all what and where we thought it would be. For that one, we decided when we arrived that it would have a huge impact on what we would do and when so we didn't stay and found a hotel in a more convenient location. Even though we did our research and the first hotel seemed so perfect at the time - we decided it wasn't right and off we went - a little disappointed at first, but in the end it turned out to be the right decision.

For the second place, it was not quite what we expected but it would have been more difficult to make a change. We weighed plusses and minuses (applied the 24 hour rule) and decided it was fine for us. We were happy with our decision in the end.

We usually give places we are on the fence about the 24 hour rule - stay for 24 hours and then decide. However, I would never stay someplace if I felt I was really disappointed and that it would absolutely ruin my vacation.
 
Aug 11th, 2002, 07:23 AM
  #20  
anne
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Not planners at all! My husband and I will basically decide where and when we want to go- book the first night in a hotel(want to have a place to unwind after the long plane ride) and wing it from there!!!!

We tend to travel in October-not high tourist season- so that might be why we've been extremely lucky. We both love it this way and get to do so many fabulous things that we wouldn't normally do if on a strick schedule. Also, the restaurants we've encountered on our own- have always been way better and more authentic than the guidebook choices. In the big cities, all the Americans are at the same restaurant because they all read the same 3 guide books.

We've met Europeans in restaurants who have given us the address of their granddaughters restaurant in remote towns and taken them up on it. Love it! Can't stand to be tied down in case something better comes along...We will read guidebooks before we depart to get a feel for everything...we don't go totally clueless.
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:01 PM.