I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned, planning a trip is the next best thing to taking it. You can stretch the anticipation out for weeks.
I love the excitement of making the decision to go. Yes. On that day I’ll leave. On that day I’ll head home. Now I have a framework on which to hang the magic that is a visit to a country not my own.
I love thumbing through the guidebook, looking for ideas of what to see. If it’s someplace I’ve been before* I’ve probably already been to the main sites and I’ll be looking for something different. I also use the Internet, of course, but I almost always start with the guidebook.
I love deciding on a tentative list of things to do, then locating them all on one map. When I do this, synergies become apparent: what order to do things in, say, or maybe noticing that one thing that is so far off the beaten track I need to make a decision about whether to do it at all. Time is limited, always. Locating things on one map also helps decide on where to look for a hotel or other lodging.
I love skipping around on the Internet looking at hotels. Does this one have parking? Does that one have (unexpectedly) a swimming pool? Pack a suit! I love having that confirmation number in my file.
I love that if you zoom in on Google Maps—mostly if you’re looking at a large city like Dublin—you can see all sorts of venues large and small, from museums to churches to restaurants. And I love the street view aspect too: I just got a good look at the storefront of a cheesemonger I plan to visit soon.
I love choosing to read literature by authors from the country I’ll visit.
*And there’s a special wonderfulness about returning to a place you’ve been before, right? I love reminding myself of restaurants I want to return to or ones I’ve read about or been recommended by friends or ones I saw on the last trip but couldn’t get to … I love making that list of things I want to be sure to pick up, like the Moulton Brown hair care product I love.
Oh yes, the list.
I love making the itinerary. I have the dates of departure and return. I add the other things as they crop up. We’re going to a wedding out of town; that’s on the itinerary. All the lodging reservations are listed, day by day. Those things don’t change. Everything else is fluid. There’s a list of potential things to do or see, but we’ll decide on the fly when to do what. So many things can happen … and often do. 🙂
I’ve had to squeeze out the time to do all this in odd moments, usually late at night. My days are consumed with work and other responsibilities. But the smile you see on my face is sweet anticipation.