Any way to stop planning obsessively?

Old Dec 10th, 2023, 12:23 PM
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Any way to stop planning obsessively?

This year I went to Bavaria during Oktoberfest (my hotel base was in Augsburg). I had a full itinerary and plan down to everg little detail. I had extended plans to see everything worth it in Munich - a quick trip to check out the fest, see the old town, the TV tower etc. I would even explore the Augsburg campus as I had an idea to apply for uni there.

Glad I didn't buy any tickets for venues in advance as I found out I don't vibe with Munich at all. I spent all of 20 minutes there not counting the times spent on the train station when I went from Augsburg to Salzburg. Augsburg was more to my liking but quite also didn't do much there despite my plans. I just photographed the main sights in Munich's old town and left as soon as possible. Sometimes you just don't like a place. I had a full map with metro stations and places of interest marked and yet I saw like a couple of buildings...

An unplanned sudden trip to Salzburg was the highlight of what was supposed to be a trip to Bavaria only. I felt sorry I booked so many nights in Bavaria when I could've booked nights in Salzburg but glad I could finally enjoy my trip.

Later in November I did a quick 2 night visit to Athens. Not much planning this time - I just reserved my plane tickets, hostel right in old town and bought a ticket to the Acropolis in advance to avoid the crowds at the entrance. I not only was able to see all of it but I even saw the old Olympic stadium, Hadrian's wall, the park where the Plato's Academy was, the main city garden, even went to the beach and to Piraerus. Despite less planning I actually did more.

Anyone notice their plans fail if they plan too much? How can I stop overplanning and go with the flow more? When i think of it most of my best trips are the ones with the least amount of planning and making an itinerary as I go.
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Old Dec 15th, 2023, 09:43 AM
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It's different for different people. My wife loves spontaneity and just thinking of something and doing it without thinking it through. I'm more of a planner and that's when I'm relaxed. So on a trip to Jamaica where she was on a work trip, I joined her for the weekend. I was thinking we'll chill at this nice hotel which would have been fine with me since it's a controlled environment compared to the city (where we could hear gunshots echo in the hills every night). The drive in from the airport at night showed a lot of the city too--quite destitute and no place I would 'want' to visit.

But my wife had planned for us to rent a car and drive across the island to the other side to another resort for the weekend. I was pretty much terrified the whole time. The cars are right hand drive, which I've never driven, the road was a chinese toll road that no one locally could afford to travel, and while the speed limit was 60km/hr people that were on the road were passing us like we were standing still. We made it to the other resort without incident and while my wife was invigorated, I was exhausted and slept for 12hrs straight.

So it's all about what seems to work for you and the balance between spontaneity and planning. And only you know the answer to this, and I think you're figuring it out.
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Old Dec 15th, 2023, 01:35 PM
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I do a lot of research & make a list, not a plan. Unless there’s a need to book ahead to see places of particular interest I like to decide over breakfast what I feel like doing that day. The list is arranged by proximity of one thing to another with best transport to the vicinity. I also tend to stay longer in each locale than the average visitor & don’t worry about seeing everything, the list being mostly possibilities rather than must-sees. And then there are those I didn’t know about until someone I meet along the way tells me about them with most days open for such opportunities.

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Old Dec 15th, 2023, 04:52 PM
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That sounds like a great way to do it! You have all the info you need so you're not wasting time when there trying to find out about stuff and you can just pick what you want to do as the day unfolds--brilliant! I want to live my whole life like this!
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Old Jan 9th, 2024, 05:34 AM
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I do the same as MmePerdu - research well, and then decide what most appeals on the day. I do occasionally have a must do or two, but more often than not my meticiously gathered notes fall by the wayside.
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Old Jan 15th, 2024, 09:25 AM
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A list, but nothing set in stone other than places/events you have to book ahead or will not get into. Like the Last Supper in Milan.
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Old Jan 16th, 2024, 05:49 PM
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I think it is simply a personality trait. I have never been an over planner and things have always worked out OK.
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Old Jan 19th, 2024, 04:49 AM
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I no longer do research other than finding a hotel or hostel around and some must-sees, pubs or clubs I might go to. Might if I feel like it, if not I'll just be joining a free walking tour group or be seen relaxing in the common areas of my hostel. I'm from Europe though, I can see someone from another continent trying to cram as many sights on their trip. Or me if I travel outside of Europe for that matter. But I can see what I've missed in Europe later.

On my last trip to Athens I just booked the hostel, plane tickets and the Acropolis. Northing else. And it was less stressful than if I had a must see itinerary. I did all I planned to do except eating at a restaurant as I hate eating at them when I travel solo. 2 nights were enough for all that plus a walk on the promenade by the beach. It was still too crammed so for my next trip I plan 10 days in 3 cities in 3 countries and day trips while passing through 2 other countries so I'll see 5 countries in total.

For my next trip I'll just book my bus tickets and the room at my first location in advance. I no longer book train tickets in advance and just book them at the stations.

For the 2nd and third city I'll probably book the buses/trains and even hotels as I go. With mobile phones today that's easily done. I'm also considering free accomodation (Couchsurfing) to cut down on cost as I'd like to return to the city I liked most and stay more there.

I don't really enjoy traveling with an itinerary anymore and I find deciding on the go more expensive but it's more like real adventure that travel was supposed to be. Like the travels in the novels. I;d love an organized trip but they all try to cram too much things and offer little free time for roaming. And the breakfasts are like at 7:00 AM. I'd like to avoid getting up that early every day. I get up later during work days.
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Old Feb 7th, 2024, 01:04 AM
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It's great to have a general outline of what you want to see and do, but it's also important to leave room for the unexpected. This balance allows you to have a sense of direction without being chained to a checklist.
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Old Feb 7th, 2024, 01:33 PM
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I try to have a plan for every day, but I'm not inflexible. I like to have transportation and hotels booked in advance, and any museums that may be popular or have lineups. Planning a trip for two couples in the fall, I would prefer to have a general outline, rather than sitting around in the morning over coffee deciding what to do.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 09:09 AM
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I will only book the hotels and tickets and if I feel like it join those free walking tours. I travel mostly solo so I wouldn't go to a museum alone. Most of those free walking tours are in the afternoon, so no need to get up early like on trips with travel agencies.
For Scandinavia I'd just book a travel agency, however. It's actually cheaper that way than if I have to book everything by myself.
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Old Feb 11th, 2024, 02:28 PM
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A good plan must be flexible for more than just one's own possible disenchantment. Museum staff can go on strike, ditto the railways and local transit.

Munich is a large city, and you may not like the vibe, although I would say a 20 minute stop was pretty perfunctory. And you may not for that matter care much for art galleries. But Munich certainly has a few of those - the various Pinakotheks, for example. On the outside the city may not attract you, inside a gallery on the other hand...

Me, if I were ever again in Munich, I'd visit the BMW museum and factory. Which may not be your thing, but if you think it is, you would need to book a tour especially if you want an English language one. For me, a city is not just what one sees on the outside, it is how it earns its living. This kind of tourism in particular takes a bit of research and planning, since the BMW 'Werk' (works) is about a 30 minute bus ride from the rail station. No way you could just hop in and back out in 20 minutes.


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Old Feb 13th, 2024, 08:34 AM
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I do lots of research but only book tickets for options that are necessary in advance.
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Old Feb 20th, 2024, 06:24 AM
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I don't TRY to "stop planning" -- I'm a believer in planning, because I don't want to get to an anticipated destination and discover, for example, that I SHOULD have acquired, far in advance, tickets to the thing I wanted to see in that destination, or that the museum or whatever is closed on the day I had allotted to see it, or that we must wander from restaurant to restaurant trying to get in to eat dinner, or settle for a bad place to eat. HOWEVER,
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Old Feb 20th, 2024, 06:26 AM
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..... HOWEVER, I don't always stick to the plan but am open when good alternatives present themselves or we simply change our minds about something. I subscribe to the Dwight Eisenhower philosophy of "Plans are nothing...Planning is everything."

(I think he meant it for war, but I use it for travel.)
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Old Feb 20th, 2024, 08:44 AM
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I was almost looking for tickets for beginning of May and at my job they told me we cannot take any days during May off.
I try to avoid flying as much as possible whicthin Europe. I hate airports and that planes are always 100% full, plus they're horrible for the environment.
So I have to plan some things like buying bus/train tickets in advance and booking my rooms. I just do rough lists of what I might see once there but I don't expect to see it. Sometimes one doesn't feel in the mood for sightseeing.
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Old Feb 26th, 2024, 06:47 PM
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We adjust for museum openings and closures but otherwise wing it. We know what interests us, have guide books and maps. But we never plan too much.
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 04:27 AM
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I plan in blocks of time and list by inside(bad weather options) and outside for good weather days.

I usually try to do my favorites choices first. I plan fun filler activities for an unexpected block of time.

I make a list of good places to eat close to the activities.
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 12:02 PM
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I will no longer make any lists but just book free walking tours.
Bucharest was supposed to be the 1st city where I do a free walking trip but I cancelled it as I just found out I'm bored with the hussle and bussle of cities that big. I tried to walk alone but the distances are large compared to Sofia so my legs hurt me. And I visisted less things than on a walking tour but I couldn't have the energy for the full thing.
I think I'm done with big cities. I'm only willing to try Copenhagen, Rome and Budapest but will just focus on small towns and small 2nd and 3rd tier cities or capitals that are already quite small from now on. Think Bratislava, Kosice, Graz, Salzburg, Padua, Lecce, those kind of places. They require little to no planning anyway as most are really walkable and compact. I'd rather be a bit bored than overwhelmed and stressed out.
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