Where are you looking to go? What do you intend to do when you get there? What apps, guides, and resources do you turn to when traveling?
Travel can be easy, but a lot of us make it more difficult than it has to be. How so?
Look at travel in three parts. Part one is selecting your destination. That’s the fun part. Part two is planning what you’ll do when you arrive. Part three is executing your plans, while allowing for spontaneity when you’re on the ground. Let’s separately examine all three.
Part One – Selecting Your Destination(s)
This is fun, but not always the easiest. A lot of people get paralysis when making choices. Travel is no different. The world is a big place, and there is a lot to see. Your options are vast, but your time is limited. You want to choose wisely. There are few things you can do to make the selection less tedious.
Center the destination around an event. This forces you to go to a particular city. Problem solved!
Focus the trip on your vacation time. For example, you may have time off in early November. Let the days you have off decide which part of the country or world make the most sense. The way to do this is focusing on the weather in a certain region. What destination in that respective time is the best?
Let the main airport you use be your guide. For instance, focus on which destinations are offered to you in an efficient nonstop flight. This makes travel much easier in general, and will effectively narrow your options.
Let your heart be your guide. What’s the trip you have always wanted to take? Where have you always said you’ll go before you die? Just do it!
Part Two – Deciding what to do when you arrive
There are two ways to go about this, and most people fall somewhere in between. You can plan the majority of the trip before you get there. Or, you can have one or two things you’d like to do, but that’s it. Both ends of that spectrum are instantly setting you up for failure. You have to find a balance in the middle that you are comfortable with. Don’t put unnecessary stress on yourself. This can be interpreted in two ways. You could be stressed out because you don’t know what to do, and you develop a paralysis selecting what to move forward with. The other side is you schedule too many things to do on your trip to the point where you are overwhelmed. Again, you need to gauge what makes you more comfortable.
Here is a way you can do this, regardless of the type of person you are. Schedule a reasonable amount of activity. This should be one thing per day. It definitely should not be more than two, and it isn’t ideal to leave a whole day empty, unless it’s towards the end of your trip. You deserve a break at that point! Be mindful of what you schedule. Check how long it will take you to get there, and how long the activity will take once you arrive. You don’t want to inadvertently throw all or most of your day away by mistake.
Another way you can schedule a comfortable amount of things before you leave is to ensure you are staying in the area most relevant. For example, if you are spending most of your time at an event, then you want to ensure you hotel is near the venue, or offers easy transportation to get there. If you want to explore a neighborhood, or part of the city for a full day, then you should probably be there. Look at it this way; stay where you want to spend at least 50% of your time.
Part Three – Executing your plans while allowing for spontaneity when you’re on the ground
The most important part. You’ll have your general framework of the trip, but now you need to allow for deviation from the plan. Make a list of things that are important you, and stick to the top two or three. The rest are things that should only be done in the event you can easily do it because you happen to be nearby, or other people in your group want to.
The spontaneity should be randomly walking into restaurants, bars, or events that weren’t planned. Also, don’t check reviews ahead of time. Just try it out for yourself. Try to get off the beaten path. Don’t base your trip on what everyone else does. Wandering around to the popular spots everyone else highly reviewed is a waste of time. Make your own trip. Discover your own places. It’s not difficult. Put the phone down, and trust your judgment. If you aren’t satisfied with the choice, just walk out, and go discover the next new place. You’ll be fine, and you’re going to find something you enjoy.
Travel is predominately about the time you spend with the people you’re with, and not about the things you go see or the activities you do. Good company is all that matters. Years will pass and you won’t remember most of the details, but you will remember how you felt at the time. The feeling is one of nostalgia to be back with those you love living in a moment that felt carefree, and like time stood still. This is the feeling you need to find on your travels. It will happen naturally if you allow it. Take a break from the plan and enjoy the moment!