To Plan or Not to Plan?

WhiteBoard-1This is the age old question when going on long trips – How much do you plan and how much to you leave up to the Fates to determine where you go and what you do? We’ve wrestled with this since we first started thinking about the trip.  While our adventurous spirits would be largely open to leaving transportation unreserved and accommodations unbooked, our limited wallet and timeframe are not.

Cost: As the trip has gotten closer, the reality of traveling through Europe during the summer has set in. Prices for trains and rooms have already gone up since we started looking a few months ago.  During the busy travel season, waiting until the last minute when cheap rooms and hostels might be entirely unavailable could put some limits on other parts of our trip.

Schedule: We don’t want a death-march style itinerary, but we want to get around. There are some cities where you could just go and get lost for a while. Paris – with its endless array of cafes and museums, could occupy months of the unfocused traveler. The same goes for Rome and its mountains of history, and for the Mediteranean coast with stretches of beach and scenery.

The verdict: We’re planning more and more of the travel as we get closer. Steve has a spreadsheet (of course) that’s turning into a master trip organizer.  We don’t want to blow our budget by being forced into expensive hotel rooms or waste entire days on trains because we didn’t reserve overnight cabins in advance. Since it’s the direction we’re leaning, we’ll just assume that the maxim – the more you plan, the more freedom you’ll have – is right.

*For those asking “WTF is up with the drawing in that picture?!”*  One of the many weird things we enjoy doing is having one person start a drawing with a couple lines or a shape, then the other person adds some lines, then the other person goes, and so on. This gets fun when you notice a new addition on the white board after a few days and all you can do is shake your head and laugh at the other person’s craziness. We’ve got some long train rides ahead, so we’ll be sure to take some paper.