There’s nothing I love more than to plan a trip and yet, I’ve found it to be one of the most stressful things a travelholic such as myself can do as well. I spend hours planning trips, and when I say hours, I don’t mean a few…I can waste days researching, planning, searching websites, writing notes…
I’m in the middle of planning two trips and I’m reminded again about these five mistakes I’ve made in the past. Hopefully my mistakes can help you when planning your next trip.
Avoid these 5 mistakes when you plan your next trip…
There’s so much you want to do and see and experience that it’s so easy to over plan. I’ve actually made this mistake too many times to count. I have notebooks full of things I want to see, places I want to go and I’m always a little worried that there might not be a ‘next time’ (you’re with me right? I’m not alone in this?).
Are you the type who likes to plan your trip down to the last minute (you know what I’m talking about, you create an itinerary that reads as follows:
Day 1: Flight arrives at 10am. 1 hr travel time to hotel. Pub by 12:30pm. First attraction at 2pm. Walking tour booked for 5pm. Dinner at 7pm at another pub. Back to hotel by 10pm.
Day 2: Wake up by 7am. Breakfast by 8am. Walking tour starts at 10am.
If that looks familiar…oh oh. This used to be me for my first few trips. The stress of falling behind schedule because life gets in the way was too much and I’d end up drinking too much that night, sleeping in the next day, and then rushing through my trip without really enjoying anything.
Don’t do this.
Something is always going to happen. Remember – you’re on vacation. How about taking the time just to enjoy your trip, soaking in the moments and relearning how to relax?
Cramming in too much
My number one worry is that I’ll ‘never be back’. I don’t want to live with regrets and that includes wishing I’d done things or seen things or gone places during my trip. I don’t want to feel like I missed an opportunity – you know? But I’ve learned that by wanting to make sure I don’t miss an opportunity, I tend to miss so many.
If all I’m doing is rushing around, then I don’t take the time to really enjoy the trip.
I’ve been to Paris three times. Each time is different. My last trip, it wasn’t rushed. It wasn’t jammed packed with places to go, things to see, in fact, it was so relaxed that I found myself taking in more moments than I had in the past. Instead of only giving myself an hour at Angelina’s, I sat there for longer and savored everything about being there – sipping that cocoa (I even cried…yes, it’s true), I looked around the room, I listened to the conversations around me. I soaked it in and remember that visit with more clarity than the first time I visited the restaurant.
For my upcoming trip, instead of cramming three main things to do each day, I have one. There’s no time frame to get there, no time length to stay, nothing to rush to afterwards. I’ll see and explore the city differently this year and I can’t wait.
Not planning enough
This might sound silly, especially after everything I’d just said…but a huge mistake is not spending the time to plan enough. By that I mean, research. Are there things you want to do, to see? Don’t book the first tour you find online. Don’t reserve the first hotel that looks like a good deal. Research. Research. Research.
Hands up if you’re a habitual over-packer? You’re never sure what outfit you’ll need or what the weather will be like or… there’s always an excuse for why you overpacked but basically it boils down to not being prepared. I tend to pack three times. The first time is me throwing all the clothes I want to take. Then I go through those clothes to create outfits. From those outfits I see how I can double up items – one shirt can be used for three different outfits and no, I don’t need to take three pair of jeans plus two pair of leggings, plus skirts, plus a couple dresses for a one week trip. You know what I mean, right? Find out if where you’re going has laundry access. Really consider if you need all those shoes or if you can get away with only a few.
Also consider the weight of your suitcase. Will you have to carry it up stairs if you’re headed to Europe? What about getting on and off the train with your luggage? Will you need room to bring home things you’ve bought? Will the airline charge you extra?
Not being flexible
When planning your trip – be flexible!
Things are going to happen. You might get sick. Run out of money. Decide you want to visit a different city/town than the one you’d planned. Maybe you find out the restaurant you’ve waited months to visit really isn’t all that great or while you’re wandering you discover a town you’ve never head of but locals swear you must visit.
Those moments you’re most flexible will always be the moments you remember!