When it comes to vacations or adventures of any kind, it’s important to strike a balance between being prepared and being too structured.
If you go with no plan and no knowledge of your destination, you’re apt to miss out on something great. However, if you go with a plan that’s too structured, you’re likely to feel stressed and maybe miss out on spontaneous fun.
I happen to think that planning is half the fun. This is partly because planning IS fun but also because the planning period provides opportunity to dream and to look forward to your trip.
I am not a sit-by-the-pool kind of girl. The hotel is the place where you keep your stuff while out on an adventure and where you sleep and take a shower before heading out for more fun.
In other words, I pack a lot into my trips. You can sleep when you’re dead but you’re only in town for a few days so best take advantage of it.
It’s a challenge to piece together the days in a way that there’s still time for spontaneity as well as the things you know you want to do.
So here’s my advice – make a list of the things you must see and do as well as a list of things you think sound fun but you won’t cry if you miss. Be sure to include all the attractions, restaurants, stores and activities that are important to you.
Then start batching things in terms of proximity to each other. Be sure to study hours and think about things like clothing choices and how you will feel after each activity.
If you’re walking ten miles in the morning, you’ll want a good meal afterward. However, you’ll want to opt for something casual and close rather than the fancy restaurant across town.
It’s common sense but it’s easy to forget these questions.
Also, don’t overschedule. I tend to break up each day by morning, afternoon and evening, assigning an activity or set of activities to each time period. For example, I’m going west this summer and plan to hike in the morning and evening while spending afternoons indoors or in the car.
You will never catch me creating a rigorous schedule that has to be followed perfectly. Instead, I like to say we’ll be on the trail by 6 a.m. and try to be at the museum after lunch. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule. Some attractions require advanced tickets and events start at a set time. However, I refuse to impose a strict schedule when it can be avoided.
It’s important to be adaptable because I never want to miss out on something great just because I’m supposed to be somewhere at 2:15 p.m. and somewhere else at 4:30.
One more planning tip – don’t schedule something you’re dying to do for the last day. There are too many things that could go wrong on the last day of a trip and prevent you from doing something important.
As mentioned, I’m planning a trip to Utah this summer. I’m also headed out on shorter trips later in the year and am already working on those while finalizing a plan for Utah.
Comment and tell me – where are you going this year? I’m always looking for inspiration!