What Kind of Travel Planner are You?

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*Editor’s Note: Here at The Travel Belles we believe that when it comes to travel preparation, there are many ways to do things the “right” way with few absolutes. So for this month’s question, we are asking the Travel Belle writers, “How do you prepare for traveling?” (besides reading The Travel Belles for inspiration, of course.) To get it started today Cailin Szczesiul gives us her answer.

When it comes to travel preparation, Cailin comes down strongly in the camp of not wanting to leave things to chance

A Successful Trip starts with a plan.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of person.  So it’s no surprise that when it comes to planning my husband’s and my trips and vacations, I don’t leave anything to chance.  Although it really depends on the type of trip, I always plan our activities right down to the exact date and time.  Planning our agenda in advance ensures that all places of interest are visited and that our time is maximized.

For me the first step in creating a successful itinerary starts with a book.  Travel guides can be worth their weight in gold.  I personally use the Eyewitness Guidebooks. They are easy to carry around and breakdown destinations into sections that provide outstanding hotel and restaurant recommendations.  I love that the books contain so much information including images and helpful maps.  They are the perfect starting point for planning itineraries and a helpful resource during our travels.

Over the past several years I have learned that for me the key to planning a successful itinerary is organization.   In order to ensure that all attractions, museums, and monuments are visited, I create an itinerary using a program such as Microsoft Word.  In addition to a guidebook, websites (such as The  Travel Belles!) can provide a wealth of knowledge.  Almost all countries and cities around the globe offer comprehensive websites featuring attraction and even restaurant information.

Breaking down a given day by time really ensures that we can make the most of it and see as many attractions as possible.  I strongly advise you to check and make sure that your attraction is open the day you have scheduled it.  For example, the Louvre in Paris is not open on Tuesdays, so when making our itinerary for Paris, I made sure we went to Musee d’Orsay that day instead. I like to include addresses and phone numbers within the itinerary document, to make it easy to both find and contact the attraction or restaurant if need be.

I have found that using these trip planning tips in advance ensures that our travels go off with as few hitches as possible. By avoiding last-minute planning, more time can be spent taking in the beautiful sites!

Bon Voyage!

* Thanks, Cailin! Now we’re curious: What kind of travel planner are you? We really want to know! Please tell us in the comments!

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About the author

I’m an office worker by day & cook/baker/photographer/writer by night. I love all types of music despite my husband playing in a heavy metal band. Happily married, I enjoy traveling often with my husband much to the disappointment of our miniature dachshund Minnie. My favorite place in the world is Paris, France but Myrtle Beach, South Carolina will always hold a special place in my heart. Julia Child is my idol.

17 thoughts on “What Kind of Travel Planner are You?”

  1. Great post! I’m a bit of a mix myself – I like to plan things pretty thoroughly, but then am very open-ended to changes along the way. Getting a little lost in any country is part of the fun 🙂

  2. Traveling with kids made me even more of a planner than I used to be. But it also forced me to realize that I have to be flexible about it. This has sometimes been a hard lesson to learn but has served me well.

    I do love information gathering before a trip though – for me it just prolongs the pleasure of the trip itself.

  3. I am a hybrid type..first I read EVERYTHING except a guide book, i look first for novels, then I scan the internet for online newspapers from the place where I will visit, check exchange rates, cheap airlines, trawl through trip advisor and other traveler sites, book my first two days online and then fly with less than 8kg of luggage planning to travel by the seat of my pants when I get there using local information and advice!

  4. I plan ahead – but also leave time for unplanned exploration. I love just wandering around new destinations & discovering the unexpected. So, I try to have a balance – enough planning to insure we see the major sights we definitely don’t want to miss, but also enough flexibility and free time just wander the streets…

  5. Hybrid-type here. I think for me it often depends on the destination… If it’s a place with way too many things I want to see, and I’ve only got a few days, I like to try to be sure I plan for at least one of them a day, leaving room for “if we have time and feel like it” doing another. I like to avoid squeezing too much in, even if it means missing something– allowing for things like long lunches or interesting things that come up along the way .

  6. I love armchair travelling, sitting with guidebooks and planning out where I want to go and things I want to do and see, but once I get to my destination, I like to be quite carefree and play it by ear. I’d rather have a chat with a local and find a hidden-away bistro whilst getting lost in a network of little streets than queue up for a museum. Having said that, I like to have an idea of places to go and there are some things I plan for which I don’t want to miss, so like most people here, I’m a bit of a mixture. My plans are written in the air rather than on stone!

  7. My ex thought I was crazy when we went to South East Asia for a month and I had a calendar printed out of how long we were spending in each place. But I really needed that to organize things and when we decided to stay longer in one place I could easily look at the chart and take a day out elsewhere.

    But now after traveling 11 months that calendar seems so ancient as I can´t even plan for the remainder of the week.

  8. Depending on the time I have I usually plan the days I have allocating time to the places I want to make sure I visit. The rest I play by ear, and at the end I usually end up changing everything anyhow 🙂

  9. I’m also partial to Eyewitness… Love this series. For big trips, I love to over-plan — but be absolutely flexible about throwing it all away if something unexpected comes up, or I love something more than expected. So fun to read other people’s planning styles.

  10. Travel Planning is a great thing but still we should enjoy each and every moment.I would add, that cycling around the Paris on famous Velib is great fun, and allows to move around the city very quickly:)

  11. ooh, I would definitely want to do that next time I’m in Paris! And I couldn’t agree more – no matter what a travel day brings, I agree – we should enjoy each and every moment. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Alex! 🙂

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