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Trip planning: part of the adventure or a necessary evil?

Trip planning: part of the adventure or a necessary evil?

Nov 10th, 2009, 08:34 AM
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Trip planning: part of the adventure or a necessary evil?

I get caught up in the research and possibilites when planning a trip, so much so that I sometimes have to hide my obsession from my family
flounder is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 08:51 AM
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Why? It is a healthy obsession. The planning/anticipation is easily a major part of the fun.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 08:52 AM
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LuvToRoam is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 08:56 AM
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I feel like the planning stage is one of the most fun parts of travel. This is your opportunity to dream, to ask 'what if'. As you go through the planning stage you can get prepared to enjoy your trip even more.
AisleSeat is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 09:16 AM
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Trip planning is a form of education for me. Travel guides, message boards, novels, biographies, movies- all are a part of my studies. Fodorites are my classmates and the travel to a destination is my field trip. Luckily, my family gives me an A for my efforts every time!
amwosu is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 11:03 AM
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I agree with others that trip planning is fun and worthwhile. However, IMO it is easy to go too far, to the point of information overload. This can leave you with too many options, more confused than when you started, and possibly regretful that you did x instead of y.
NoleNomad is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 11:11 AM
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I agree with others; planning is a big part of the fun of travel. What I like less, though, are the nitty-gritties of working out the exact details of car rental, online train tix, etc. "Let's take the train to X and stay in this adorable gite" holds more appeal than fine tuning it!
grandmere is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 11:23 AM
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I LOVE the planning part! I think it's paid off for me, especially thoroughly studying my Michelin maps before a trip. It's such a good feeling to know the names of the towns you're coming up to. Even in cities, I like to study the city map beforehand.

Here's a little example of a totally unprepared American women I ran into on my recent Paris trip: She was standing at the bus stop in front of the Louvre, having anxiety fits, didn't know where she was, Right Bank or Left. When the bus came (my bus, over to the Left Bank) she's carrying on excitedly with the poor bus driver about where he's going and if it's near "her" hotel. He finally got a word in edgewise to tell her that
he had no idea what hotel was "her" hotel! What an embassassment (another American!). I finally took pity on her, and told her where to get off the bus. I hope she found her hotel (somewhere near Place St. Michel). What a dingbat! Anyway, that's an example of poor planning (or maybe NO
Sue4 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 11:50 AM
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Oh, it's definitely part of the fun! But I agree, somem part are more fun than others. Figuring out things like car rental prices, and where to pick up and drop off, are less fun.

I end up researching so many hotels and restaurants that, as we walk through whatever city we're in, it's not uncommon for me to say, "Oh, I checked out that place, it's great," or "it's supposed to be dirty," or whatever!
Lexma90 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 11:58 AM
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I love the planning, so much so that I am mystified by my SIL who would rather go on an organized tour than do any research herself. She arrives everywhere as a blank slate which is both good and bad. Without any foreknowledge, she's absolutely blown away by all the sights, the history, scenery, etc., and loves every minute of her adventure. But she also doesn't know when the tour skips something really interesting, so I've learned not to ask "Did you see [abc]/go to [xyz]? and burst her bubble.
Jean is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 12:09 PM
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Sue, I wonder if that was my sister. She never researches at all - leaves it all to me. One day we went our separate ways, after I had tried to set it all out for her. She got back telling me she had been on an adventure.
Even though I do the research, on any given evening I give her options for the next day, so I am not always bossing her around.
I love the research - what is that old song, "Anticipation!"
cynthia_booker is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 12:16 PM
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I agree with most of what's been said--as I suppose most Fodorites do or why would they be here so often? And I'm definitely with Lexma on the business of saying as we pass some restaurant or hotel--oh that's one I considered, or there's a temple we could have eaten at, etc. It probably drives my fellow travelers crazy but it's sort of the price they pay for my having worked so long and hard to find us the best or to be sure we know of all the available options. I also think the non-planners miss a lot, though Cynthia is right, they never know.
JulieVikmanis is online now  
Nov 10th, 2009, 12:43 PM
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My brother called me last night from a bookstore. He was in the travel section and wanted to know which guide I recommended for his upcoming trip. He flew to his destination this morning...
amwosu is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 02:17 PM
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Wow, Amwosu, that floors me. How will he even know how to get from the airport to whereever he is going? Some might see that as spontaneous and fun, but it would scare the heck out of me!
cynthia_booker is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 02:26 PM
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A week in Paris stretched into 18 months because of all the research and preparation we did. Travel websites, restaurants, nightclubs, event calendars, apartment rental sites, hotel sites, sightseeing sites! It all added up to a beautiful trip which seemed so much longer than it was.
laurela is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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cynthia- It sums up the way he lives life- by the seat of his pants. We're middle aged so I don't think he's going to grow out of it. He enjoys himself. Just not the same way I do.
amwosu is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 02:29 PM
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Omigosh! I plan trips even when I have no idea when/if I'll take them. And I love helping others plan trips. I love itinerary planning, even the logistics part. The point where I draw the line is planning every single day out - on Tuesday which museum in the morning, which restaurant for lunch, which museum in the afternoon, evening walk along/through _____, etc. I like having a general plan, including knowing what I want to see and when best to visit, but I'm not into micromanagement of my days.
artsnletters is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 05:29 PM
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This past summer we spent 3 1/2 weeks in France (I wrote about it in a trip report "Our Month in France"). The only two nights I hadn't researched were almost disasters. On one night we could not find a hotel that had any vacancies (this was in Arles where they were having an international photography exhibit and all the rooms were booked). We finally found one about 1 a.m. due to a desk clerk having mercy on my very exhausted 13 year old). On the other night, a Saturday, we arrived in Limoges not realizing that Sundays everything was closed. The rest of the trip was totally researched and prepared for and thanks to many people on this forum and Trip Advisor, we had great accomodations and wonderful sights and a fantastic trip. My wife (who is a notorious "improvisor")has now sworn to never travel without doing some planning. And it is the most fun I've had in years, both the planning and the trip. This is a fantastic site and there are so many folks here who are more than willing to give advice and/or answers to all questions you might have (I still think a lot of them don't work or even leave their house, they just sit by the computer all day and respond to queries on this site. These are the true Fodorites, unless they're aliens who have traveled the universe and find answering questions about Europe more fun than the galaxy.)
jobo is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 09:21 PM
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I always say that the planning is at least half the fun!

So very often you read..'going to Paris, where should I stay, what should I do'...I can't imagine wanting some strangers to do it all for you. Nor would I do it for someone unknown to me.

I know where I am going and I know what is there long before I get there. That doesn't mean that everything is on some sot of tight schedule..definitely not. I go to areas and wander, also knowing some dining and/or other things in the area, too.

Planning is fun...not to be missed!

gracejoan3 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 09:31 PM
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For me, travel planning is an obsession. It enriches my experience and makes the anticipation much sweeter.

However, it can easily become the evil. I have to be careful....too much planning/research gives me burnout and the excitement is dulled. If that happens,(and its a new place), I feel like I've already been there.

I know now to take breaks and give it a rest, which is hard to do.
adventureseeker is offline  

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