How Much Should You Plan While Traveling?

Travel Planning

Taking a massive trip can be a lot more stressful than people realize. While most everyone automatically thinks travel = vacation time, a traveler knows better. It often takes weeks on months to plan a trip that feels put together enough and well-planned. There’s a lot that goes into the details of a big trip: how to get the best deals on tickets, where you are planning on staying (whether it requires only a few nights at the local hostel or an apartment for the long-term), how much money you are willing to spend when looking into traveling by train or boat…the concerns go on and on.

I’ve been reading Beth Whitman’s blog as she plans for her Snowman Trek in the Himalayas. The amount of time and thought that has gone into planning this trip is crucial—she has the potential to face some real dangers without proper planning. Though some trips are meant to be spontaneous, this is one could be life-threatening if she doesn’t.

I’m taking some of Beth’s foresight into my own trip just a month or two away. It’s not nearly as harrowing, but I also have some questions that need to be answered before I leave (i.e. When is the best time to go out in Budapest for young women?). I’ll need to look into getting the right gear for that kind of trip, and I’ll need to increase the time I spend running in order to get into the kind of shape I want to be for this experience. Eastern Europe is not Mount Everest, but if I am hauling 50 pounds worth of my belongings, I want to make sure that I can handle it (hopefully I can pack lighter than that).

Which isn’t to say everything will go as planned. One of the best parts about traveling leaving some aspects of it up to chance and to fully embrace the adventure—even though it might go wrong. I can’t plan every train I might want to take or each sight I want to see on my next trip. Having a basic plan will keep me from getting too lost. Because we are Generation Y travelers, I think we are usually more likely to go off the beaten path a bit and to see what kind of unique and individual experiences we can have rather than sticking to a set plan completely.

What do you think? Do you like to plan while traveling or go with the flow?

Image courtesy of Elizabeth M.

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