I’m in the process of planning my next trips, yes trips. I am overly ambitious but we all know this. I’ve had a couple of people recently ask me about how I come up with where I stay, what I look for, what prompts to do what when I’m there, etc. And I realized that when I say “process” I really mean, I’m kind of just picking and choosing based on whatever site I’m looking at. But in order to answer those questions, here’s what I think I typically do to plan my trips.
1. I love doing the tourist activities, don’t get me wrong. But I love doing it as quickly as possible for as cheap as possible. So while people plan full trips around those activities, I try to keep the amount of time I spend doing that to a minimum. So what I do is actually pick the number one thing that I want to see. For example, in Barcelona I really want to see the Segrada Familiia. In London, I want to finally see Platform 9 3/4 (yes, I’ve missed it the last 3 times…), etc. And that is what I’m basing my trip on. Those are my end goals, and I will dedicate the rest of my trip to finding out how to get to those places.
2. I pick my hotels/hostels/Air BNBs based on where that activity is. That way, I can either get it done right when I arrive or else I can do it on my way back before the night is over.
3. I do a little bit of research on how the public transportation works in that city. It’s key for me because I’ve had such bad experiences on public transportation that I ned to do something to calm my nerves. Even then, reading about how the public transportation works can be daunting if you catch a bad review. There’s nothing that can really prepare you for that moment you have to utilize the options but it’s got a nice placebo effect for me.
4. I check the weather. I’ve been watching the weather in all the places I’m going to for the last month. Yes, it’ll still be months before I actually go to visit but I like watching the weather patterns so then I’m not as confused on how to pack for those trips.
5. I look up things about the streets. That sounds weird. But it’s true. I need to be prepared with the proper shoe wear. Last time I was in Guatemala, I did not realize that the spacing between the cobble stone roads was about two times bigger than what I had experienced in Europe. This mean that my shoe fit perfectly between each stone and I lost my slip on Toms a few times… There’s nothing more embarrassing than having to stop traffic to grab your shoe because it’s literally stuck in the road.
6. I look up the key food to try. All countries have fantastic food, and they have ones that are unique to them and their culture. There’s no way I could try it all, so instead I find the one that sounds the most delicious and I make it a goal to try it. For example, I had to eat a hot dog in Iceland and schnitzel in Austria.
Other than that, I just try to make sure I’m mentally prepared to be lost, to be flustered and to take in the entire experience.