My trip is coming up soon, and everything is pretty much taken care of for it. I've even done a practice pack to make sure everything will fit. But now I have nothing to do to keep me occupied before we leave. What do you to in the days and weeks before a trip to keep you from going crazy with excitement?
Count the hours until we leave. Also do a last minute review of electronic gear and wires/chargers to take.
Wow in at least 30 years of independent travel I have never found I had time to waste until I was on the plane! I constantly look up places to do and see, best routes to get to them by public transport, best places to eat, make lists of shops or restaurants, check weather reports so I can adjust packing ( as departure day draws nearer), then there is the cleaning of the house, the emptying of fridge , the stopping of mail, the banking ( making sure any bills that may arrive or be due when I am away are paid) . I scour second hand book stores for books to take and leave there, ( even though I bring an ereader I still think a throw away paperback is best bet for beach portions of holidays. There usually is a lunch or drink out with friends to make me feel like I am already on holiday, and last minute visits to my kids , ( my oldest two do not live at home so I tend to do stuff like go to Costco and buy them a flat of juices or a carton of pizzas as I feel so guilty leaving them , even at 20 and almost 23! ) Oh yes, totally forgot, there is the personal grooming.. lol Hair freshly done a week before. Pedicure.
And only if going on a beach vacation , I get my eyelashes dyed.
Maybe I did too much pre-planning. I made a little personal travel guide with all the places we want to go, how to get there, back up options, where to eat. My husband just laughs at me. I guess I'll clean out the fridge. that doesn't sound like fun, but will at least keep me occupied for a little while. I can also look for paperbacks to take. I think I've been checking the weather twice a day and seeing how beautiful it is there right now and hoping it holds out for us.
I read books, usually non-travel books on that country (history or fiction) to get as educated as I can & learn about the background of what I'm going to be seeing. Also, I spend a lot of time brushing up on the language (Spanish, Italian, German, etc..I studied them for years in college and post-college) so I can speak it on the ground with ease. For more light fun, I watch tons of Anthony Bourdain episodes.
What time? Three days ago I was in Hobart. Now I'm in Pitlochry. With less than twenty-four hours at home, I got a nap, ran to the post office, paid some bills, did some laundry, and cut the grass. Not that shabby for an old fart. Planning consisted of changing kit, repacking, and tossing another mail hold notice in the box. Car reservation were made at the gate in Atlanta between planes. I found a bunch of stone circles on the way up from Edinburgh yesterday, a place to stay when I got here, more stones today. I'll start thinking about tomorrow after supper. I've got ten whole days to screw off until I go back under adult supervision in Marrakech. One of which has to be spent getting the mussel juice off the front of my shirt before I catch holy hell. It just ain't that hard.
Get as much rest as possible; the plane ride will probably suck some life out of you, and you'll lose hours flying west. Watch travel videos, but only of places you'll be visiting - NOT anywhere else; you'll be trying to rearrange your itinerary to fit the new places in LOL! Obsess over your pre-trip checklist - call the bank, the pet sitter, stop mail/newspaper delivery, pay bills in advance, get a haircut, get a dental check-up, double-check your passport 375 times, buy snacks for the flight, keep tabs (seriously) on your flight (some airlines will change flights and neglect to notify passengers)... I have no experience with twiddling my thumbs before a big trip, unfortunately, so I hope that helped 8^P
Read books. Rest up. Read the Helpline.
Take a nap.
Watch some movies filmed in the places you will visit (you'll pick up a few phrases that way, too). Make sure you have contact info for banks, utilities, friends, etc.
I read any book I can that is set in the location I am going to. From history books to murder mysteries. I also keep researching my sightseeing options. We have put last minute changes to our itinerary that was our favorite part of the trip. Just enjoy yourself and have fun, it will pass faster than you think.
Start planning the next trip.
"Start planning the next trip." That won't work, because that's an activity for the flight home. If you do that now, what will you do on your return flight? Problems, problems. :)
A very good point, Michael.
My favourite activities: * watch movies set in the places on your itinerary * put together a playlist with music from the country you are going to visit
* brush up on language skills And if you still have too much time on your hands after doing all that you are welcome to come to my place and clean the fridge ;-)
You could always drive yourself crazy by trying to figure out the very best way to call home, make reservations in local restaurants, how to get data service at your destination, etc.--something travelers a mere 20 years ago didn't think about much.
I'm scouring Chowhound.com for great restaurants, and never end up going to them to eat. It's also time to transcribe all my travel notes (many of which come from here) and put them city by city on index cards. I also print out directions from place to place on Mapquest or GoogleMaps.com. I fine tune my itinerary to every address, directions, phone numbers, reservation and flight numbers and print them out for the family. When I hit the ground, I know exactly where I'm going and how to find the tourist sights. Many people read magazines and books; I closely study maps. I really am an over planner on my travel studies, and spend mega hours finding out where to go and what to do. As I get closer to leaving, I stop studying my itineraries completely.
I really like to take trips on very short notice to avoid getting so anal about planning. And being the original frugal traveler, I seldom meet anyone that's spent less money than my wife and I spend on the same itinerary.
I never have enough time... being self-employed leaves me little time before I go out of town... but, even if I had it, I would probably start painting a room or redecorating my bedroom. Maybe next time try planning your trip just a few weeks out...you'll have plenty to do then:) (I'd go for the movie suggestions)
Now that you've done a practice pack, start culling! Seriously! The less you take, the better!!! It's a great way to keep you occupied and will help you on your trip, too! Happy travels.
Please come and help me get organized. I leave in three weeks and I'm not anywhere ready! I'm still researching and gathering info, changing hotels, buying rain gear and shoes. I'll pay for you to come spend a few days with me, lol I do most of what Pat mentioned, including cooking and freezing meals for my Uni aged kids. It's a maternal hazard! Hiya, Pat :-)
I am a history buff, so I would spend time online researching some of the places and sites I was going to visit. Sometimes I like to know about the architecture, when it was built, who built it and why, and what exciting or historic events happened there. It makes it all more relevant to me when I finally see it in person. It may be as mundane as information about how to weave a tapestry, how long it took, what it cost and who would be doing the work. It may be important events like a battle, where the Reformation took place, what happened in WW1, or WW2, or the 30 year war, or what the heck Napoleon or Charlemagne were doing all over Europe. What was court life like for the various kings, queens and emperors or popes? Who was the patron for various artists, and why were certain pictures painted, how did this style of painting evolve? Why was this saint important to this town? How were city walls built, why were they torn down? The more intense I delve into all of this research, the more I enjoy my visit.