Doing it Right
|The author, in Hell|
In the planning of your trip you have four major considerations: destination; time; transit; and budget. Everything else will fall under each of those categories. Sometimes these parts of the overall adventure can be as much fun as the trip itself. Sometimes.
|Take an Umbrella|
So. Where are you going and why??? If the destination is the thing (going to
for a week), that’s where you ought to focus. If it’s the trip, then that is where the energy should go. Don’t sell yourself short and spend time on things that will mean little to you in the long-run. Make the trip memorable, and to do that you need to understand what it is you truly want to accomplish. Key West
How much time do you have for the overall vacation? Do you really want to try to see the entirety of the middle
if you’ve only got seven days? (It can be done, but you’ll look back and realize it was more like counting coop than actually seeing anything). United States
Likewise, don’t eat up your time in transit. If you want to see
but only have a single week for the trip, do you really want to spend nearly a quarter of that precious time on a plane? Be realistic. Unless the point of the visit is to “count coop” -- for example: I intend to visit Point Barrow, Alaska, some day. It will be a day up and a day back. I don’t anticipate more than a day or two in Point Barrow, but it’s the seeing of the Australia Arctic Ocean I’m after not visiting the surrounding tundra. In this case, the destination is the purpose, but won’t require more than a day to take in. (I could be wrong -- I'll let you know if this earns me a nasty-gram from the Pt Barrow Visitors Bureau...).
How are you going to get there – and is the conveyance part of the enjoyment? Is it a necessary evil? Do you intensely dislike airports but are headed for a small
Caribbean island? There are compromises, but also common sense.
If your destination is
, for example, and you live close enough to drive there – but you know you won’t need a car once in the city, why would you pack everyone up into your Ford and spend the money on gasoline? If you’re lucky you may find parking for less than $100 a day somewhere near your hotel, and – if you’re lucky – getting into the city won’t be too difficult with the traffic patterns, and – if you’re lucky – you don’t get too lost in the one-way streets and racing taxicabs. New York City
I’ve driven in
New York -- and Paris and Washington, DC and London and "Behind the wheel" isn’t a good way to see Los Angeles, to name a few. Times Square. Trust me on this.
I’ve driven in
Take the train in or a plane. Likewise, don’t count on driving to Santa Catalina Island off the coast of
. You can’t get there with a car, so renting one from the airport just to park it at “Catalina Landing” is likewise not a good idea. Long Beach
On the other hand, a car is essential to trips to the Grand Canyon or most of the other destinations you may be considering – while it would be ridiculous to plan on driving from
Florida to if you’ve only got a week. Seattle
Look. I LOVE to splurge as much as the next guy. Okay. More than the next guy. Okay. A LOT more than the next guy, but that isn’t my point.
Overdoing your budget might make for an extravagant vacation, but the stress of each swipe of the credit card – not to mention the months’ long process of paying it off – negates the very purpose of the trip. Understanding and accepting your budget will pay off (*ahem*, forgive the pun) in the long run. If you genuinely, truly, must splurge find an expensive restaurant on the waterfront somewhere and ask for patio seating. That is far more memorable than the extra bucks you might plunk down for that suite at the Venetian – and a much more relaxing way to count the dollars as they peal out of your wallet.
If you have a champagne budget, weeks of freedom, love the airports and have been everywhere at least once before, then knock yourself out and let others plan your vacations for you.
If, on the other hand, you enjoy the process, know what you want to see, know how you want to get there (and spend the time once you have), and understand that monies are not unlimited -- then get involved, get your hands (and feet) dirty and plan the trip out so that there is room for adventure but not for unpleasant surprise. You’ll be astounded how much more fun you have while actually vacationing instead of counting coop.
|Blaze your own trail!|