Naive Traveler??????

Sep 14th, 2001, 09:35 AM
  #1  
Naive traveler
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Naive Traveler??????

Has anyone ever just booked a flight, got their hotel rooms worked out and took off without planning every minute of their trip? I saw the thread regarding travel notes and how people organize them, I am so intimidated!! I have no plans other than my plane tics, hotel reservations and my open mind. Is this crazy or stupid????? I am thinking a little more planning on my part may be in order.
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 09:44 AM
  #2  
trying
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It is up to each traveler how they do things. I typically create elaborate itineraries. However, I leave time for spontanaity (sp). This is, in part, due to the limited lengths of my trips. Pls do some planning, though. I have heard horror stories of those who "just go." Only to find that the museum, etc., they REALLY wanted to see was regularly closed on the day they were ina particular location, or that a whole region was less active due to holidays, etc.
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 09:46 AM
  #3  
teener
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I think you should do some research; after all aren't you going to see/do something in particular?? I usually read thru several books and web sites and note what looks interesting. I make a list and mark the things I really want to see. I don't plan every minute but I certainly don't want to miss anything that's important to me. If you don't do at least some research, you may find you missed some great opportunities after you come home.
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 09:46 AM
  #4  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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It is all a matter of style. I would never think of going to Europe, as I have done 19 times, without spending at least 100 hours of prep time. But, that is a major part of the experience. It is not a question of planning every minute of the day, it is about having a depth of knowledge that will enable me to optimize my experience. The actual two week trip is only about 40% of my enjoyment. The planning phase is equal to that, and the debriefing and sharing my experience with friends is the rest. But, I am retired and do have the time to spend. It is all a matter of style.
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 09:53 AM
  #5  
Christina
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You don't say, but I hope you at least have a guidebook and maybe map of the major cities. If not, then I think you are your two adjectives. It depends, I don't plan a lot when going to Paris at all because I've been there a lot so I decide what to do and see once I'm there depending on my mood and weather, and local information on concerts, special exhibits, etc. However, I do plan a little about the major things I want to see when going to a city for the first time -- some of this is logistically necessary and some is to make best use of my time (ie, planning to see things in one part of the city one day, a day trip another, making sure museums or whatever are open on that day and maybe checking train schedules even--last is mandatory on some day trips if trains are infrequent). I also always buy a little travelers' phrasebook (or more if I'm really interested in language) and try to become a little familiar with the language. You must have done some planning in order to pick a hotel--you know the cities you are going to and I HOPE chose a hotel in a convenient location based on what you wanted to see or transportation needs. Some people don't really have that many specific interests so it doesn't matter so much, they just want to walk around, shop and see the most common tourist attractions--if that's all you want, you just need to check on days open. I realize I don't like surprises and have limited money and time and like to anticipate things I will see and do, so plan more than some, but one thing I absolutely cannot comprehend are people on travel boards who ask others what are the main tourist attractions in a well-known city and (apparently) have not bought a guidebook and don't intend to.
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 09:54 AM
  #6  
Not
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If by planning you mean scheduling every minute of every day of your trip then, no, I don't believe in that. That said, though, I do believe in "reading up" on wherever it is that I'm going. In this way you will discover many things about your destination including, a) things you'd like to do and see, b) how busy it will be at the time you're planning to be there and, c) how important it may be to make advanced arrangements to DO the things you want to do.

I would suggest figuring out the things that you feel most strongly about seeing/doing wherever it is you're going and then making sure they're not booked, etc. so you're not disappointed when you get there. Other than that though, I feel that spontaneity and flexibility are also important factors in a satisfying trip.

Bon voyage!
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 09:56 AM
  #7  
Naive traveler
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I will only be in Italy for 10 days (Florence, Riviera, Venice) and I do have an idea of some places I would like to see, but I think it will be so overwhelming to me that every moment will be something to remember. I have been reading these threads/posts/boards for a couple of weeks and I really am overwhelmed at the information available. Ex. I know it will take approx. 3 1/2 hours to get to Santa Margherita from Florence and I know what hotel I will be at when I get there, but for the next three days I have no idea what to do. I want to visit the 5terre, would an itinerary be a smart thing or just go and walk my heart out?
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 10:03 AM
  #8  
Naive traveler
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Yes I do have guidebooks (three) and yes I do have maps. I have grasped the concept of the language and I have a book for that too. I do know the location of where I am staying and I do know the hours of operation of the major sites I am interested in. What I mean is, do you all plan where you want to take casual walks too or just the major attractions and everything else falls into place? I am not trying to be an ass, I really am starting to think I need a detailed plan.
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 10:10 AM
  #9  
carol
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For overseas trips, I always spend a lot of time planning generally where I want to go, but not in super detail, just blocking out about which towns I will be in when, and allowing for the travel time between towns. I usually borrow tons of guide books from the public library to get an idea of what towns I want to go to, but then I just take one book with me.

I never book more than the first two nights' hotel before leaving my home country. Unless it is high season or an event or a city that is known to be booked up (e.g., I booked for the Grand Prix in Monaco which was in the middle of one trip).

Then I change my itinerary as I see fit during the trip. I will often book a hotel (through a travel agent or by phone) at the same time as I am buying tickets to get to the next town, but as often I have just blown into town and walked around finding a room. I tend to travel in shoulder season, so I can get away with this.
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 10:12 AM
  #10  
Linda
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Naive, rest easy. If you are comfortable with what you have, go with it. Some people need a detailed itinerary. Others don't want that but want plenty of "flex time" to allow for the spontaneous. Neither is wrong; both are right--for themselves. Personally, I fall somewhere inbetween. I plan on where I'm going to stay and make reservations. I do research on what there is to see and do. And I make a list of the things I'd like to do from that list. Then, when I get to my destination I take off for the first thing on the list. I may or may not get to the second. It depends on what happens or doesn't happen to sidetrack me. I never plan every minute of my trip. The one time I did that I didn't enjoy myself half as much. I have a flexible overall plan, with plenty of time left over for "smelling the roses". If an unguided, rambling walk thru 5terre is #1 on your list for that area, an you are comfortable with that, that's all you need. Go forth and never fear!
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 10:17 AM
  #11  
Sheila
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Dear Naive

there's a great long old thread about this somewhere. I've done it with even less than you suggest. Flights, car and bird book! But most folk here think that's nuts.

Different strokes.....
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 10:24 AM
  #12  
Cheryl
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In the past my husband and I have "winged it." In more recent travel years I have spent more time planning. Much of the reason for this correlates to the amount of information available now directly to travelers through the Internet, especially on sites like this! I find that much of the fun is in the planning and anticipation. I have also found that with a bit of planning (plus going with an open mind and leaving some time open to be spontaneous) our trips have been much more enjoyable. We know what activities are available on what days and often make reservations ahead of time for tours, activities, and even restaurants that would not have been available for the times/days we wanted if we waited till when we got there.
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 10:25 AM
  #13  
Betsy
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To Naive Traveler

I'm going to Santa Margherita soon and this is the planning that I did. This may not be what you would do, and that's fine. I post this just as my example.

I get into SM on the train from Milano about 20:00 and will be there for three nights. I have booked our hotel. I also looked up the train schedule from SM to CT because I want to minimize time on the train and maximize time on the CT. I found that it could easily take half a day to get up, have breakfast and take the train to CT, if I chose the train with more stops. I also researched the CT trails and know which ones I want to walk. I did this also to minimize time while I'm there trying to figure out which towns and which trails I wanted to cover. In addition, I have a list of restaurants in the various CT towns because, again, I don't want to spend a lot of time trying to figure out where to get a good meal with foods representing the region (can't wait to sample the pesto!). Finally, I researched the train schedule from SM to Florence so I can minimize time on that train trip, too. Other than this infrastructure my time while I'm there is free for anything interesting that might emerge.

Buon viaggio
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 10:26 AM
  #14  
Arabella
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Where do you go for info on the kinds of events that can really spoil a trip, such as a protest (antiglobalists at World Bank meetings, for example) or a bikers rally?

 
Sep 14th, 2001, 10:37 AM
  #15  
Capo
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Hi Naive. I like the way Linda put it, if you're comfortable with what you have, go with it. Everyone's traveling style is different; the "best" traveling plan is whatever works best for you.

Personally, I prefer to keep my plans open, and I've gone on trips to Europe before where I didn't even make any hotel reservations.

Now, that being said, we often learn from experience and it's possible you may find, after this trip, that you prefer to make more detailed plans in the future. But you also might find that your present plans work perfectly fine.

Your open mind is a wonderful traveling companion and, with it, I don't think you can go wrong. Have a great trip!
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 10:50 AM
  #16  
greg
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Naive,
There is nothing wrong with your approach if you would not later regret not having done something because of failure to plan.

I would feel sick if I later realized I could have easily visited places in different order to catch special events taking place on certain day / time only. For this reason I plan the trip beforehand so when the trip starts, I merely follow the plan and condifent that that is what I wanted to see. Not minutes per minutes, except for those that have to be that way: trains, busses, ferries, funiculars, etc.
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 10:56 AM
  #17  
Karen
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Dear Naive Traveler:

I agree with the other posters; it's a matter of style.

We have planned trips with each hotel and train reservation confirmed. Knew exactly what we wanted to see and do; always leaving time for delays and just goofing around. And that's wonderful.

Last fall, we flew to Paris, rented a car (after leaving Paris) and just drove for 3 weeks. We did have guide books and maps and a general idea of where we were going. But didn't have reservations; just winged it. Took some recommendations of locals. And that trip was wonderful, too.

Remember, it was off-season so no problem with hotels. I'm not sure I would go the 'unplanned' route during prime season, however.

Part of the fun of travelling, however, IS the planning...cruising the internet...talking with others...pouring over guide books...hours in library...beefing up on the history, art and culture...etc. So, consider the planning part of the trip. Doesn't mean you have to do everything you've read about.

Bottom line, enjoy your trip!!



 
Sep 14th, 2001, 11:19 AM
  #18  
trying
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One other comment, not aimed at you directly. It is my sense that some ugly-American incidents are the result of a traveler's failure to either plan, or at least do enough research to understand local customs, etc. If you don't do at least some research, you could get mad because, for example, a Paris waiter doesn't bring you the bill until you asked.
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 11:29 AM
  #19  
Bedi
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I think it's a good idea to do some research on the customs, modes of transportation and be sure to learn as much Italian as you can before you go. Especially "Thank you" and, the phrase I found myself using again and again:"Mi sono divertita molto!" (I have had a VERY good time!) I agree it can be completely overwhelming to plan a trip abroad, especially when everywhere there is so old and beautiful, but do choose a couple of key things you want to see in each town and then leave the rest open. I've visited countries before with a completely open-ended agenda and when I returned to the States, I found out about a lot of really amazing things I missed out on. So, have a "skeleton" plan and work from there. With Venice you can be more open-ended because it's such a small island it would be hard to miss much. Enjoy your trip!!
 
Sep 14th, 2001, 11:36 AM
  #20  
Capo
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trying, you bring up a very good point. Itinerary planning and research into local customs, etc. are, IMO, two quite different things. While not everyone wants to plan their trip in detail, I think it would probably benefit everyone to have at least some idea of local customs, etc. prior to visiting a country.
 

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