How to Plan for a Trip (or not)

I often get asked how I plan for a trip. This is one of my favorite questions, because truth be told, the answer is always “as very little as possible.”

It can be incredibly tempting to want to know as many details as possible about a foreign and strange place as possible. It helps us feel more secure in uncomfortable territory. It is this uncomfortable territory, however, where we learn most about ourselves, our travel partners, and of course–the place you want to get to know!

Leaving plans loose allows for adventure. The best stories never start with “we were waiting in line to get into the Louvre, when…” Not a chance (no offence to the Louvre). The best stories come from the unexpected. Of course, however, there are a few things that are perhaps wise to plan, and put me at ease knowing that I have the following things lined up.

When going on a trip, I do plan:

  • an overall structure for the trip.
    • In other words: what type of trip it is. Is this going to be a girls’ trip? City trip? Off the grid? Can I expect to relax or will I need to pack extra coffee grinds?
      • This then decides lodging: Airbnb? City centre? Sometimes I don’t book the whole trip, just to be free for options.
  • the first few hours
    • This is all about logistics!
      • How I am getting from the airport to the place I’m staying
      • How the city is laid out, and how the public transit works
  • what to wear
    • What season is it?
      • Packing is another topic entirely (post forthcoming!), but always pack at least one sweater, I don’t care the forecast. Cause even if you’re going to Thailand, you have to go on a plane to get there! I’ve regretted not following this many a time.

Related to the reason for travel, the type of atmosphere of the destination plays the biggest role. I simply consider the personality of the city and let that guide me. If it is a busy, compact city, for example, I know I’ll expect something different than a trip to the countryside. If I am in a place known for its coffee, then I know that I will probably be wanting to prioritize breakfast out.

Basically, allow yourself to have a few things under your control, but try to let the rest flow on its own. Side effects include:

  • increased enjoyment
  • increased self-confidence
  • lowered shoulders
  • fonder memories
  • comfort zone expansion

Happy travels 🙂

You may also like...