We all seem to have our own approach to Travel Planning. I have some friends who are real spur-of-the-moment types. They quickly (dare I say impulsively?) pick a destination, buy a ticket, throw a few things in a bag, and they are off! And you know what? They have a great time. It works for them. Me, on the other hand? I’m the guy who does lots of pre-trip thinking and planning. I have to admit, there have been times when I have been a bit envious of my fast action pals. And of course, they seem to take great pleasure in hassling me about my well thought out, thoroughly planned approach to travel. “Obsessive” and “Compulsive” are words they like to toss in my direction with great élan.
But I’d like to let you in on a secret. From my point of view my quickie buddies are missing out on one of the very enjoyable aspects of travel. They just don’t get it. Travel Planning is a great part of the adventure. I am not (yet) at a point where I can travel all that frequently. Hopefully that day is coming. But in the meantime I find that my pre-trip travel planning serves two very different but important purposes. The more obvious purpose is that my planning allows me to Be Prepared for my travels. (Nope – wasn’t a Boy Scout – still some of their ideas work for everyone.) I’ll share some of my planning approaches in the future. And yes, some of them probably are a bit “compulsive.” But for the moment I want to emphasize a less obvious, but to me equally important, purpose of my planning. Trip planning actually allows me to Extend The Enjoyment of my travels. It’s a great part of the fun!
I love to travel. I would do more – lots more – if I could. But since I can’t always be traveling, I find that my travel planning is a really enjoyable pre-trip phase of my travels. As I do my reading and research I am mentally experiencing and enjoying my trip before I have even left home! As I visualize myself at my destination the pleasure is very real. I have fun thinking about the best time of day to visit a location or how I might best travel from one site to another. The thinking and planning – the anticipation – they are half the fun of the journey. I find that I frequently plan and refine, then reconsider and replan again – not because I have to, but because it’s great fun. (Ok – it’s fun for me – not so much fun for my spur-of-the-moment friends.)
Currently I am in the midst of another round of Pre-Travel planning. I’m heading off to Asia this Spring, visiting China including Tibet as well as Hong Kong. And I am really enjoying all of the advanced study, thought, and research. For example, I’ve mapped the route from Beijing Airport to my hotel, checked out subway versus cab options, and have printed out the name of my destination and loaded it to my iPhone so I can show it to local cab drivers, etc. (Yep – it’s in Chinese – I downloaded a Chinese Character font to my computer as well as a translation program to accomplish this type of task. It’s amazing what these computers can do for the avid traveler.) I’ve also loaded up a map where I have pin pointed sites of interest I want to visit – The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, The Summer Palace. Heck, I’ve also pin pointed several McDonald’s restaurants just in case I get a craving for good old U.S. Cuisine!
So in a way, my trip has already begun. Travel Planning is half the fun. I love it. Care to share what you do for your planning? Or share your comments on this post. Leave a comment – I’d love to hear from you.
Planning Now To …..Enjoy The Adventure!
Dr.B, The Photo Trekker
© 2012, Bruce W Bean, Ph.D. All rights reserved.