On planning (or lack thereof)

I’ve got my travel mojo back and have been spending hours trawling the internet for ideas, itineraries and tips. One thing that strikes me is that there are a lot of organised people out there. People who actually prepare maps marked up with daily itineraries for their cycle tours and who want to pre-organise meet ups with others walking the Camino de Santiago de Compastella. Now, I know I’ve booked a lot of flights in advance (see What’s Booked Next page). But I haven’t actually given that much thought to my actual itineraries when I arrive in the countries. The only exception so far is Malaysia but that’s because we only have 11 days, a tighter budget than Thailand and needed to book car hire for a few days. But, by and large, I am finding it impossible to plan my itineraries ahead of time. The airplane on the way over to a country seems to be where I finally decide to look properly (in the case of Korea I just sort of made it up as I went along).

I often wonder whether I should be planning my trips more. Should I be looking at a route before I book flights? Or should I just keep spontaneously booking them when they are on sale (case in point – my upcoming trip to Cambodia that I booked because airfares were cheap)? Sheldon Brown suggests working out an itinerary 3-6 months before departure but I will be in Japan in about 3 weeks and all I know is that I fly into Osaka and out of Tokyo (and that some roads in the Japanese Alps will still be closed due to snow).

A big part of this period in my life is learning to accept me just as I am. Perhaps part of that is learning that I am too lazy to prepare itineraries and route maps. Or maybe I just have so many things going on at once that I can’t look beyond the next step; let alone to the specifics of a trip that I will take in 3-6 months time. Oh and then there’s the issue of me being incredibly impulsive. Sometimes I just go ahead and book something because I don’t want to overthink it.

So on that note, instead of planning my cycle touring itinerary in Japan, I might work out how many days I can spend in Swedish Lapland without going over my 90 / 180 day Schengan region entry allowance. And then I think it’s time to watch a movie. Because I just don’t feel like planning … I rather just get on a plane and go.

(PS: My post is not meant to offend those who do like to plan … you will see more “sights” than me and probably find cheaper more comfortable accommodations too)

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6 thoughts on “On planning (or lack thereof)

  1. We find that planning in too much detail increases stress and detracts from the pleasure of being on holiday. For our up-coming holiday we have a list of places we want to visit, but won’t lock-in days to do them unless by nature of the attraction/event it becomes necessary.
    Not everyone works this way, but then it takes all types. I’d probably plan more if I didn’t know the place I was going very well.
    Happy planning – for as much or as little as you end up doing! 😊

  2. When I get organised, I’ll share my itinerary with you… but I’ve kind of left it up to the two others I’m travelling with – I’m just happy to go with the flow and I know our plans have changed as we weren’t all able to arrive at the same time.

    • I’d love someone to plan my ride for me too πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ You have so much else on your plate with training that I can totally understand going with the flow. I found a website with cycle touring tips from the south of Honshu up to Tokyo. I am going to follow a large chunk of those instructions but probably won’t be able to cross the Japanese Alps using the guide because some of the roads stay closed until July. I suspect my trip will be like Korea – intended itinerary that turns into rough route decided each day. πŸ™‚

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