IMPORTANT NOTES About My Travel Plans

I was born with a desire to travel. I inherited that gene from my father. The very second life handed him a little extra cash, he used it to load our family into the car and take us on family vacations. Before each vacation he spent days pouring over the Rand McNally road atlas and the free tour books he got from AAA.

As an adult, I have traveled by car, camper van, plane, train, and cruise ship. Regardless of how I travel, I always make a plan. Like my father, I spend hours researching places of interest, reading reviews and comparing prices to create a plan that will suit my needs and those of my travel companions. A good travel plan can make the difference between a great vacation and one filled with indecision and wasted time. I enjoy designing travel plans and I am sharing a few of them here. If you don’t have hours to spend pouring over travel guide books and websites to create your own travel plan, feel free to borrow one of mine.

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

Timelines: Many are turned off when they see that my plans include specific places to go and specific times to be there. People often tell me that they don’t want to be “bound by a schedule.” Neither do I. The times and places listed are not goals to be met. They are simply where I expect to be on a particular day and time based on knowing my own travel habits. If my plan says “Leave at 8 a.m. it does not mean that I will set an alarm. It means that being an early riser, I am likely to be packed and out the door by 8 a.m. and I know it. Having a plan does not obligate me to conform to the plan. I always have the choice to follow the plan or to do something else.

My timelines are always generous. I build extra time into each plan which allows me to browse a gift shop or throw in an unexpected activity if I stumble upon something interesting that I was unaware of when I wrote the plan.

Air travel: I am too old and too cranky and I live too far from the airport to book those cheapest of flights that make me get out bed at 2 a.m. to be at the airport by 4 a.m. in order to catch a 5 a.m. flight. If you are an early bird flyer and following one of my plans, you might have extra unplanned time when you reach the destination early.

Restaurants: I list a few restaurants at each destination to give myself an easy choice of different cuisines that I know will appeal to me.

Lodging: I usually make reservations before leaving home, but only for the first couple of travel nights. Travel plans can change in the middle of a vacation. I like to stay flexible and to make reservations as I go. One exception is when traveling in an area that has limited availability or when I want to be sure to get a room at a specific place. In that case, I will reserve the room.

Chain or. Independent?: I like an independently owned lodging and restaurants because they are an adventure. You never quite know what you are getting into until you get there although online reviews have made patronizing these establishments less of a risk. Chains, on the other hand, are familiar and consistent. Chains also offer reward programs that can worth signing up for. I use both chain and independent places in my plans.

Budgeting: The choices I make are not usually based on cost. My plans would not be considered “budget” traveling although you won’t often find me selecting an expensive luxury resort or fine dining option either. I consider every minute of my vacation, including where I eat and sleep, to be a part of the experience. I like a room or a restaurant with a view. I also like historic properties. These sometimes cost more and I’m willing to pay for that experience. There are a few things I won’t remember about a vacation. I won’t remember any of the nondescript budget chain rooms which saved me money. I won’t remember any fast food meals. And six months from now and forever after, I won’t remember how much money I spent on the special experiences that has given me great memories. We remember experiences and we don’t miss the cash once we have spent it. Great memories are always worth their price.

I do try to balance my budget. If I splurge one night on a room or restaurant that is pricey, I will often choose a budget room or a “cheap eats” restaurant on another day when all I need is a quick meal or a place to sleep. In that way, a traveler can balance out the costs.

Photo by Thom Holmes on Unsplash

Other things to be aware of when using one of my travel plans:

  • Most of my plans do not consider the pet or child friendliness of any establishment since I travel with neither.
  • Any listed prices are for my own reference and are not reliable for travel dates other than my own.
  • Double check all information such as hours of operation and costs. What may have been accurate when my plan was written will not necessarily be accurate at a later date.
  • My plan will show attractions that interest me and not necessarily those considered a “must see” by someone else.
  • Plans typically end with dinner and rarely include information about bars or evening activities. I prefer quiet evenings and a good night’s sleep.

Most important, remember that these plans were designed for me and my companions. They may need adjusting to suit you and yours.


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