Where are you going first? Trip Planning 101

signsWhenever I tell anyone of my travel/life plans, the first thing they ask is: Where are you going first? (Sometimes they ask how I can afford it, but that’s a posting for another day.)

The truth is….I don’t know. I’ve been so busy packing, purging, moving, and taking care of loose ends that I haven’t given much thought as to where to go first. While I still have some purging to do of a few items in my hotel room and storage unit, I need to start thinking about moving on.

But where should I go first? This is not as easy as you might think. I have so many places on my “wish list” that it’s difficult to pin down just one.

So, how am I going to decide? I’ll let you in on my procedure. I’m calling it Trip Planning 101.

Make a list of everywhere you want to go and why?  The “why” is important because you may think about going to a place because someone else suggested it even though deep down you have no desire to go there.  Even if your travel time is only a week or two, think about how you really want to spend that time.

Don’t play “follow the leader.” It’s your time and money, go where you want to go.

I read quite a few travel websites especially those of people who are traveling full-time. While they all claim to be “travelers” and not “tourists” meaning they believe they are superior to the average tourist, they all seem to copy each other. They pack the same items, go to the same places–mostly in Southeast Asia–stay in the same hostels, and go out drinking every night with the same people.

Be real about your budget.  You may want to spend a month in Paris, but your budget might be more to a location closer to home.

Think regionally and even domestically. Flying around the world can seem exciting but it’s best to plan your travels in regional blocks and not go haphazardly from one place to another. And don’t rule out domestic travel. So many people think they aren’t really traveling unless they leave their own country. That’s fine, but have you visited your own country. You might be amazed at what you see.

Travel against the crowds.  If possible, don’t travel to places at the height of their tourist season. Go during shoulder season or even off-season.  The crowds will be less and you’ll more than likely save money.

Look at your calendar.  Do you have any previous engagements or places you need to be at a certain time. How will that effect your travels or could they be the starting point of longer trip?

Decide how you want to travel. Plane, train, automobile, bicycle? This will affect how long and where you go? A bike trip may be a beautiful way to see a place, but you’ll cover more ground with a car.

Get a good map. Online or off, use a map and plan out where you want to go. See how far it really is between the places you want to visit and realistically how long it will take. If using public transport, check out plane, train and bus schedules and don’t forget travel to and from stations. If possible, travel in one direction and don’t backtrack.

In the next post, I’ll go over how I’m using these steps to plan my own trips.

Any other ideas I left out?


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3 Responses to Where are you going first? Trip Planning 101

  1. D M says:

    CHECK THE WEATHER. Don’t forget to consult Mother Nature. Paris in winter might have its own charm compared to summer, but some places are drastically more difficult to enjoy depending on the seasons. Yellowstone in January? Hurricane season in the Caribbean? Etc.

  2. Paula Bag Lass says:

    Some places, i.e. France (especially along the coastline), close up after Summer.The larger hotels and restaurants stay open but a lot of small places are boarded up for the off season. Found that out one September in a small coastal town just south of Brittany……slims pickings for a lunch time meal and had to drive further north for an open hotel.

  3. Rene says:

    Go farthest first, while you still have the health and appetite. I recommend India, China, Oz, first. And yes I have enjoyed holidays in those places. The smaller countries in Asia are fantastic as well, but there is something to be said about India and China, plus they are so large.