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Vacation planning

My husband and I decided it was time to start finalizing some of our plans, so we spent 3 days discussing the pros and cons of airlines, direct flights versus layovers, searching AirBnB's and VRBO and setting up accounts, and finally actually pushing the button to book our stays.
I think planning the vacation is part of the fun; it helps us decide what we really want to do and what is and is not important. Let me tell you though, we were both physically exhausted! As much as we want to go on vacation, locking ourselves into specifics makes it real!
Does anyone else experience this or am I just overplanning, trying to make sure I read all the fine print so we aren't taken by surprise?

Posted by
2531 posts

Plotting new destinations to visit is more fun than returning to the same same. Get in the planning groove and various moving parts get sorted. Despite much planning, there usually are unexpected issues, so take a deep breath solve or accept them and move on to enjoy your trip.

Posted by
125 posts

I am in agreement, things happen and you either accept them and move on or brood about it and be miserable. As I have matured I have realized that unless I can change the situation I much rather let it go and be happy. My husband always tells me I am so easy going!

So, I am going into this trip with open eyes but am determined that I'm going to have fun no matter what.

Posted by
8877 posts

The art of travel is flexibility.

Planning helps but factors beyond your control are always a possibility.

As they saying goes, _____ happens. From my perspective it's all part of life's journey.

You've conversed, made your choices, created the intinerary, booked flights and accommodations.

You're ready.

Not everyone has the time or money to travel and explore.

Count your blessings, smile and go.

Posted by
166 posts

I hear what your saying, for years I planned all my trips to Europe but after I took my first Rick Steves tour I loved the simplicity of just planning a few days pre and post tour. Now, 2 out of 3 of my trips involve a RS tour. (you get a lot of bang for your buck)

Posted by
11493 posts

I love love love the planning! In fact, I am a little sad when the planning is over and all I can do is wait to execute. I do research things we might do, list alternatives, make sure I know opening days and times, double check train and bus schedules as well. I will second-guess my lodging picks until they can no longer be canceled. But it's fun to look at hotels and apartments, too.

That said, with a solid plan in mind (and on my spreadsheet), I am perfectly happy with ditching something if a compelling alternative rears its head and I will check and double-check details on-the-ground as well.

Posted by
3580 posts

I spend months on the planning. First I nail down a date and flight at least a few months in advance usually. I like non-stop direct flights. I prefer to fly into London or Paris, stay at least one night, then move on from there by train or plane.
Then I start looking for hotels and reserve if "free cancellation" is available. Then, maybe, I look at ways to travel from one destination to the other and shop for convenience and economy, purchasing tickets in advance. Meanwhile, I read travel books (mostly by RS) to figure out the details. I will pre-pay on special activities like Borghese galleries or the Uffizzi.

Posted by
7463 posts

I love the process of planning our trips to Europe, spending weekends and lunch hours researching the internet and thoroughly reading the RS guide book. It’s one of my favorite hobbies during the winter. The amount of time and my spreadsheets would definitely put me in the pre-trip “over-planning”camp. Yet, it’s just for ideas and necessary reservations; I like to be very flexible during the trip. We review my summary sheets and few attached RS pages on the train as we travel to the next location to decide what sounds like fun.

I agree with you that the time discussing and deciding a firm plan with my hubby is not as relaxing because it’s taking all of those possible ideas and narrowing down to a specific itinerary where we both are pleased.

Now you’re in the very exciting stage -you’re going to Europe! Have a great time!

Posted by
9876 posts

Discussing ideas with my husband is DEFINITELY exhausting!! If I'm planning for myself it's okay, but we approach things so differently that there's inevitably conflict. Oh well.

I do love planning even though I find it exhausting sometimes too. I guess that's weird.

Posted by
16110 posts

Plotting new destinations to visit is more fun than returning to the
same same.

Interesting, Bruce, as I feel the opposite. It's really nice the 2nd or more time around to have a handle on transport, acclimation and how things work so we can hit the ground running. It feels like a lot less work but the payoff is just as great. Granted, we do new things on return trips along with visits to a few old favorites.

Posted by
1229 posts

Demalkinski,
I have that exhausted feeling every time I plan a trip. My sleep gets affected, I get kind of manic and anxious. Its weird. I do also enjoy it, but when its done I feel like Ive just competed an athletic event. I agree that committing is emotionally stressful (first world stress, to be sure). I usually try to book as quickly as I can once we decide where we will go, which requires figuring it all out. I don't know if I overplan, but last year we went to 3 countries in 5 weeks and I planned and booked most of it in about 10 days. I did purchase tickets to every major site we wanted to see (and over 5 weeks that was a lot), plus airbnb's and b&b's and car rentals and train tickets, oh my. Sure things can come up and change and I am fine with that, but I like to know that the skeleton of the trip is in place. And I have to say, that 5 weeks was stellar. The planning could not have been better. So maybe i am an over planner who stresses way too much or maybe I am an amazing family tour-guide ;p

Jessica

Posted by
228 posts

Just remember that the cheapest airfares are the ones advertised just after you booked yours.

As for planning I agree, it's part of the fun. The internet makes it so easy, too. Like others on here, it could be argued I plan too much and research too much, but though I love it when spontaneity produces a lovely day, I hate leaving things to chance. I even go so far as to do a drive around prospective hotels/accommodations on Google Maps, to check out the neighbourhood, and past airports/train stations to figure out where to catch the shuttle or which entrance to use. I drive Mrs Wife to distraction. Perhaps I was a military logistics officer in a previous life.

But (I hope I'm not tempting fate here) my OTT planning has produced some wonderful trips so far. I print out a spreadsheet 'running list' that shows where we need to be, where we are staying and what we might have booked for each and every day. This is then put in a lightweight folder, along with all necessary contact details, instructions, directions, tickets, etc. It becomes our 'travel bible' and really eases the stress that can occur when on a complex, multi-destination holiday.

I didn't always do things this way. many years ago I would leave more things to chance and just work around things. However, I do recall wasted days when we would head off in a certain direction, only to find we were in a boring commercial district miles away from where we ought to be, or our hotel would turn out to be overlooking a motorway or four-track train line. One guest house was just across the lane from a working quarry - Boom! It must be 10am.....

Posted by
5697 posts

Wow! Three day marathon to select and book flights AND lodging! Kudos to you!!
I booked RT flights on sale last October ... just booked lodging for the first location and train to the next location yesterday. Took a while to decide on a general itinerary, then my husband threw in some "it's so close" destination suggestions (he has learned NOT to do this after the bookings have been made)

Posted by
125 posts

Oh we have been narrowing things down for months and had a list. We decided to choose something and book it so that's where the stress comes in. Are we choosing the right spot? What if something better comes along? Just the second guessing, which is silly I know. Go with your gut, I keep saying, it's usually the right choice.
I am just a detail person, I like to research and plan, or at least know what to my choices are if something doesn't work out as planned.

Posted by
5697 posts

Yes, one advantage to the pre-Internet days was that if you made a mistake booking a hotel, you knew it right away (advice was to see the room before you paid for it) so there was no time spent wondering -- just time spent regretting, or looking for a replacement.

Posted by
8239 posts

I'm the 70's, we would be looking for the big "T" in every city. Pay the tourist bureau a couple of bucks and they would book is in a cheap B&B or hotel. Now, the T means carrying your own Tablet and looking for a Starbucks and their WIFI connection. Making room reservations on the fly has never been easier.

Planning for a trip is enjoyable, but it can also put pressure on the traveler. After being an incessant overplanner for many years, we are now into simplified itineraries.
We used to travel to as many cities as our rental car could make it to, we are now traveling slower and getting so much more our of our trips.
It is so easy to attempt to plan every minute of every day/night, and we avoid that. It is just so much easier to read travel books and Wikipedia about a city and roll with the flow. We no longer plan eating in great, famous restaurants that we usually don't care form the menus and/or prices.
If we take two weeks and three weekends, we also will take a break and stay in one place doing nothing--to recharge our batteries.

Posted by
996 posts

It's not just you. When we book solo trips that are not part of larger tours, I spend an inordinate amount of time making sure that I have done the best I can with the time and money available. Even when I book a tour, I have the same feelings about booking flights and additional tours.

But I am lucky to have this problem. No matter how exhausting and frustrating and nerve wracking (I JUST booked my first tickets on a British train for later this year.) it is a privilege to be able to travel. And no matter how I feel at any one moment in the process, I try hard to remind myself of that fact.

Posted by
125 posts

Ooh I feel so fortunate to be going on this trip. In H.S., Many many moons ago, I had a German language teacher that took a group of kids to Germany every year. My Mom didn't have a lot of money so I sold candy bars, saved babysitting money for 3 years, whatever I could to pay for my trip but, I moved in my senior year. Since it was a school sponsored trip....I couldn't go!

It's been (gasp) exactly 30 this year since graduation and I am finally getting to make that trip!!!

Posted by
737 posts

I agree - planning is exhausting!!! I do love the planning, but it does take a lot of energy and stress. the internet is great, but i find it tiring visually ( might be an age thing). We did a group tour last year - it was so relaxing!!!! We did a single leg on our own and planed and replanned those 4 days a million times. LOL.
Now planning the next trip. There are many group tours to the places we want to see, but ,as usual, have too much time on bus . Any way - as others have said, its a blessing to be able to travel - having the time, money, health and energy .

Posted by
396 posts

I have to admit, I love planning. It's like taking the same trip twice: once during planning and then as the actual trip. I almost feel selfish about it because I arrive on the trip much better 'briefed' to enjoy it than my companions, because of all the background and history I've learned the process. It can be a little lonely sometimes because DH doesn't care to discuss at the level of detail that I do, and I do put a lot of time into it. That's one of the great things about this forum; you can find others who are willing to go in-depth on a question, from 'where can I leave my luggage?' to 'I have to skip something, can you help me prioritize?'

Posted by
228 posts

Lia said: "I almost feel selfish about it because I arrive on the trip much better 'briefed' to enjoy it than my companions...."

I know exactly how you feel, though I don't feel selfish so much as guilty. I love learning, so today's easy access to knowledge through the internet allows me to flit from flower to flower, stuffing my brain full of mostly useless trivia which I regurgitate at the slightest encouragement. Friends and long-suffering family have had to put up with my endless "Did you know.....?" for a long, long time.

And so holidays provide me with an opportunity to focus this on something semi-important. It is a double-edged sword though because, on the one hand this research has allowed us to skip lines, visit lesser-known yet iconic locations or just smooth out the kinks that inevitably occur when travelling, but on the other hand, it can get a bit tedious for my companions, who must feel like they're being accompanied by a half-wit tour guide.

I mean well though :-)

Posted by
396 posts

Yeah steves_8, remember that character Cliff Clavin on Cheers? He was always spouting inaccurate and arcane trivia. In my worst moments I fear I come off that way to my family : ) I really try to edit all that's going on in my head to share just the best bits.

Posted by
8 posts

This thread makes me feel so much better, thank you. I am such an over planner. I have a three ring binder with dividers. Everything goes into this for the upcoming trip. Yep lifetime in the military, so it comes naturally to plan for trips like I did deployments. Since I'm on my own with these plans I do not want to forget anything. I also have a travel list on my phone. Need to go to library to check out some books for my tablet. Of course the packing of clothes was easier on deployments lol.

Posted by
3363 posts

Oh I have found my tribe! I love the planning! I can relate to something everyone has posted so far!
@Lia-my DH lets me do all the planning too and doesn’t care to discuss it much. I have all the control and power, but I just love to talk travel! Him, not so much! Sometimes, I wish he would give more input, but then I read about the previous poster who says they disagree on what they should do with their time and then I think, yheah, it works better if one person does all the planning and I am glad its me!
I also have a folder I bring with a rough itinerary of each day planned. Sometimes tickets are prepurchased to avoid lines. It lists costs of attractions and opening times. I also have driving routes planned out. I have not gone on google earth to look at street views though! Thats a new one, might have to try it!

Posted by
396 posts

Another thing that drives my planning, frankly, is just how much I delight in delighting my family. While we've spent a lot of beautiful time together, it seems like those moments when we were traveling stand out. In my minds eye I can see us relaxing together in a park in Paris in 2013, marveling over the Alhambra, etc. I'm not much of a cook, so this is one way to enjoy making them happy : ) We have common interests, but each of us has our favorite things, and perhaps a different idea what we're excited to see and do on a trip. I try to balance a trip so there's something for everyone. Not saying I've ever pulled it off 100% but I like a good challenge.