No plan is a good plan

May 5th, 1999, 12:46 PM
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No plan is a good plan

I have been using this form for my trip to Paris in july. From what i have read, many people go to great lenghts on planning for their trips. My question to you, has anyone just hopped on a plane and arrived at their destination without a clue on what to see, where to eat, or where to sleep. Like they say "No plan is a good plan". So are there any adventurous people like to tackle this.
May 5th, 1999, 12:59 PM
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If you want to go somewhere and, after you leave, find out that you walked within 20 feet of a wonderful thing to see but did not see it because you didn't know it was there, this would be the way to do it. Altho' I have never done this, I have done inadequate planning at times and missed things I should have seen. I wanted to see the monument to the Warsaw ghetto but, because I didn't take the time to get a good map, I saw some other monument and, since I don't speak or read Polish, I didn't realize until after I left Warsaw that I had not been in the right place. The more you bring to the trip, the more you will take away from it. that's not to say you shouldn't be adventurous and go off your itinerary to visit what looks like an interesting place you know little about, but preparing ahead pays huge dividends in all ways.
May 5th, 1999, 01:17 PM
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Oh, I don't know. Sometimes I *do* think there's such a thing as "over-planning". The thrill of just going and experiencing - no expectations ... feeling childlike in your awe of all the sights ...

Oftentimes, I only plan a "rough" itinerary: what cities on what days (and where I'm staying). Only the night before, exhausted from a full day of sightseeing, do I read about my next round of sights. And I don't feel I've ever missed the really "important" sights by planning this way.
May 5th, 1999, 01:37 PM
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Ramzi: When I lived in Frankfurt, it wasn't unusual to decide on a weekend trip to maybe Paris or Trier or Neuschwanstein on a Friday evening and not even know you were going at 3:00PM on that day! Throw some things in a bag and just go. It was spontaneous, it was fun!

Back home in Pennsylvania, my opportunities to go to Europe come maybe once a year. With that in mind, I plan many details very carefully. I limit the opportunity for problems or snags. Does it take some fun away? Maybe, but predictable or not, we get the most out of our visit.

Besides, planning is half the fun!

P.S. We did take a Paris "E-Saver" last year with two days' notice. The $179.00 airfare was too tempting to pass up.
May 5th, 1999, 02:52 PM
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Yes; but take a good guide book.
May 5th, 1999, 04:38 PM
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Go for it! If you are a little familar with the area. My wife and I retd to Germany on one trip and just had the car rented. Arrived at the Frankfurt airport and then decide where to go from there. Had no problem finding hotels and had a great time. No pressure to get to this place or that place by a certain time. Changed directions a few times also. Even did the same thing in England once. Flew into Glascow, picked up the car and headed out. Another great trip. So bottom line, stay flexible. I have a lot more trips to Europe in me and if I miss that one castle this summer, I will catch it next time. But, get a good guide book!
May 6th, 1999, 12:58 AM
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Well, I admit that I have at times done just on a plane and ended up in some place like Japan with absolutely no previous planning and just a small guidebook. One time I went to the Phillipines with no previous intention on going there from another Asian country and no guidebook even. It was a wild trip....and I experienced a lot but hardly the stuff you see in guidebooks. Most of the time however I do have the first night lodgings in a country pre-booked and sometimes more if its high season. But mostly I do some research before hand and just know a general plan and then when in the country read every night about where we might go or see the next day or two and just go along with an idea a day or 2 in advance. That seems to work out fine.
May 6th, 1999, 05:17 AM
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When I was a student (both undergraduate and graduate) I *always* travelled with no plans whatsoever. All I used to have for my trips to Europe (5 times) was a return flight ticket, an Eurail Pass good for 2 or 3 months and the assurance of a "home" in Italy, should I decide to take a brake on my travelling around. I alse travelled this way to to the US and Canada and to South American countries. But that was a long time ago. I had plenty of time to burn, no worries if would be able to find a bed or not (any dump would do and there was always the train to rely on), relative low interest in sightseeing, art, etc. In those days my interests were centered in people (young people), food & wine, parties and night life. Being able to communicate in French, German, Spanish and Italian it was a piece of cake living on a day by day basis.
Things change though ... your interests, your available time, your obligations with your family, your travel budget (I still remember the days that I used to pay 1 Guinea for a B&B room at a Gower Street dump in London), etc. More than planning, today I do a lot of reading on the historical background from where I'm going. In any event, all current trips do have some pieces that are still left completely open ...

May 6th, 1999, 12:18 PM
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I think one of the best skills a traveler can develop is the ability to roll with the punches, that is, to hop in and out of plans as the moment requires -- to enjoy planning and anticipation, but not to rely upon it for a successful trip.

On my first trip to Europe with my husband, now years ago, I had planned and planned the perfect romantic trip. Each little facet seemed so precious to me, cut to create the perfect gem of a memory. The centerpiece was to be New Years Eve in Paris.

While we were flying to London (our first stop) all of French transport workers went on strike and when we went to buy our boat/train tickets at Gatwick we were informed that they could get us to Calais, but after that we would have to rent a car to get anywhere in France. Well, we were young and a car was not in the budget. We had a moment of shock and sort of gaped at the ticket seller while people in line behind us shifted from foot to foot.

My husband asked, "Well where else can we go?" In one minute, my months of planning went out the window and we booked a little cabin on an overnight ferry to Hoek Van Holland and ended up in Amsterdam, a city that wasn't even on our original itinerary. It was splendid. It turned out to be a perfect trip with a healthy dose of adventure added. To this day husband still carries a Dutch note (20 guilder?) tucked in his wallet as a memento. Quelle Romance!

Still, I enjoy planning. Anticipation is so sweet. But, far from being etched in stone, my plans have been, since that trip, woven of more gossamer stuff and ready to blow away on the right breeze.


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