“It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end.” U.K. LeGuin
Planning a trip is part of the fun, and fortunately we both enjoy it. I am the researcher and choose and make all reservations, and Jim is the one who documents and makes a detailed spreadsheet including costs.
Before we leave on an adventure we have a plan and a budget.
We start planning anywhere from 18 months to over 2-3 years out. We have been asked if we go on organized group tours or use travel agents. ****No we don’t, we prefer doing our own thing and not being tied to someone else’s schedule or choices.
****Now I have to amend this statement. For our trip to Africa Fall 2016 we have the safari company booking our flights out of London round trip, our flights within Africa, lodging and transport while in Africa. It seemed like the best way to do it. Other than Africa we do it ourselves.
When visiting a large city we like to stay right in the middle of the city if practical. Example, New York City we will be just off Times Square. We love to walk or use public transportation and see new things and be in the middle of it.
Not having to have a rental car is a big plus. Being in city centers really helps with that.
Right now we are booked into 2017.
All hotels/condos/apartments will be booked. The last thing we want to do is be someplace and not be able to get lodging we are comfortable with. However I do not book any lodging that is pre-paid in case we change the plan. Booking dot com is very good for this method.
Australia was fantastic with “serviced apartments”. The advantage of having an apartment with all appliances including washer & dryer, along with someone who comes in each day to service the apartment was wonderful.
Finding a condo on VRBO in a great location is also a big plus. Having a washer and dryer every week or so is an even bigger plus. We had a condo in Miami for a week before we left for South America February 2015, it was really nice. It was in a great area, and we could see the Miami Beach from the balcony.
Rental cars, trains, and flights within a country are sometimes not made until we get there.
Every day is not going to be perfect, and every place is not going to be Shangra-La. If you are looking for perfection while traveling, you will surely be disappointed.
I try to not go in with pre-conceived expectations when it is somewhere I have never been. It’s more fun to just let the experience roll out as we go.