1. What is the purpose of this trip?
Some trips are adventures, others are vacations. What is the purpose of this specific trip? Will the destinations and activities you have planned align with this purpose? Keep your purpose in mind when trip planning becomes chaotic and you start to lose sight of the goal.
2. What is my travel style?
What gets you excited? Do you like outdoor activities and adventures or relaxing on a beach? Are you fast-paced and constantly on the move or do you prefer to take your time and relax? Do you like sightseeing? What about tours? Art and museums? How important is food? All of these questions can make or break your next trip. Figure out what you like and then create your trip surrounding that. Your answers can change from from city to city. Identify your travel style and align it with the purpose of your trip. Just because someone recommends 6 days in a city doesn’t mean you can’t do it in 3. Follow your style.
3. How much traveling can I really handle?
If you’re a fast-paced traveler, then this is especially important. How many destinations can you really squeeze into a trip? How often can you handle traveling on trains, buses, planes, etc? Does this type of traveling exhaust you or allow you time to rest and relax? My personal pet peeve is unpacking and repacking– how many nights should you stay in a city in order to settle in and take advantage of your accommodations? Waiting around for check in and having to rush in the morning to check out annoys some people but doesn’t bother others. How much can you really handle? Should you cut down the number of cities you’re visiting to save some sanity?
4. What will I enjoy?
Don’t speed up or slow down your trip because of someone else’s travel style or interests. This is your trip, what will you enjoy? What speed? What destinations? What activities? It’s okay to skip a few “must-see” attractions if they don’t interest you. Don’t feel guilty, DO YOU!
5. Should I plan (and book) every detail?
This depends on so many things, but mainly the purpose of your trip. Relaxed? Long term traveling? Flexible schedule? Skip the detailed planning. Rushed? Short term traveling? Trying to squeeze a ton in? Spend time mapping out your trip to make sure you have time to do everything you desire. You do not need to book everything in advance unless there is a specific event you would like to attend.
6. Will I be upset if I can’t do everything?
Life happens and unfortunately not everything works out as planned. Are you okay missing a few “highlights” if a flight is delayed or you miss a train? What parts of the trip are negotiable? If you are moving quickly AND have a non-negotiable list, then you might be in trouble. Set extra time (even if its half a day) to offset last-minute changes such as a tour being postponed or a museum being closed.
7. What’s my budget?
This should be #1 but that’s no fun to see first on the list. How strict is your budget? Will you actually try to stay on track? What matters most to you?
Adventure awaits my friends! Where are you headed to next?