I think there are several quotes about journeys and destinations and how they are all important. I of course agree with that, and if I would like to add my bit to it, I believe that a build up to a holiday is as much fun as the holiday itself. Preparing for it, doing research, homework, where you want to go, what you want to do, where you want to eat is all part of the build up. Somehow difficult days get so much bearable when you know there is a holiday at the end of the tunnel.
While of course preparing for a holiday begins simply with deciding on the destination, after that is when the fun work starts. Heres a little list of things I like to do, which I believe make holidays more fun. We are able to pack in more and I’m thinking about it for a good while before that in my head makes it seem like my holiday has already begun, even if it is weeks ago. T
- Phone Screensavers.
Once I’ve decided on the destination, I like to have a map of the place as my screen saver, especially when the place is out of India. It helps me familiarize myself with the layout of the place, because let’s accept it we dont look at ANYTHING as much as we do at our phones right??? It also helps in holding me back from making irrational shopping choices, because the money can be used in better ways.
The map also helps me put other planning in perspective, and frankly there are such cute illustrations out there and they look pretty cool as screensavers!
2. What, Where, When and How?
We planned a 17 day vacation and when you are not familiar with the country and want to ad some off beat places and the regular itineraries don’t work for you, the internet has some magical and really useful forums that one can take advantage of. We used inspirock and it really simplified our itinerary planning for us. From rearranging our list to suggestions on how best to travel to your destination, it simplified a lot for us. They specialize in US and Europe itineraries
Here’s a sample. I love this site check it out http://www.inspirock.com/
Once you have planned where you are going and when, nothing makes life simpler than booking tickets in advance or checking out if there is a concert on, or anything else that you would like to watch in advance. Saves the trouble of trying to get these mundane things in order when you could be doing more fun things on a holiday like being on a beach, people watching or drinking wine.
3. Reviews with a pinch of salt – See what Real People are saying
Of course deciding on where to stay is one of the most important aspects of travel and we’ve realized that location makes all the difference. Simple math, choose where you want to stay depending on what you want to do. Do more and spend less time and money on travel. Having had bad experiences with a lot of trip advisor reviews, while I do read them, I like to see what regular people like you and me are sharing on the internet. I think that’s the true testimony for a place, and when you see for yourself you make better decisions.
I personally like to read a lot of blogs, check out places on instagram and Pinterest as well. All these tools help with research and paints a fairly realistic picture of what’s out there.
4. Get that Lonely Planet.
I am a bit old fashioned, so I love ordering a physical copy of the Lonely Planet. Believe me the book seems a liability because it is invariably heavy and every morning before we set out there is a discussion about who will carry it. But it is the most useful guide. I would love to be the person who goes and discover a place on my own, but i feel neither do I have the time or the money for it, so I will take help from experts who do that for a living! I also mark out pages that I feel are useful and believe me, it makes those exhausting visits to museums & monument focused and productive. I dont remember any bad experience even with food. Holidays are way too short to deal with mediocrity anyway.
5. Download Offline Maps
Downloading Offline Maps is super useful. Over the last two years I find myself dependent on google maps even in the city. You are never sure about the data situation in a foreign country so offline maps are always helpful. Even if you are a wanderer and want to walk around etc… a map will still get you back to your hotel when you need to. It worked like a dream for us, with not one hiccup.
6. Work on your fitness.
No better way to discover a place than walking. Walking allows you so much holiday luxury, you can simply stop sit at a park bench. Stop and stare/ admire. Whilst this is great on holiday, however the fact remains that in our day to day life in India we rarely walk too much. There are days when i barely touch 2kms. This holiday, I kid you not we walked an average of 17 kms everyday and we were not tired the next day. We had enough energy to get out by 8 in the morning the next day or earlier if required.
The important thing to remember is that we cannot shock our bodies in to this physical activity, it needs to be a gradual build up. It is a holiday dampener if you are too tired, or cannot climb up to a vantage point for breathtaking views of the city. So a gradual build up to be fit is imperative.
Both my husband and I thoroughly enjoy the process of planning. I like to think of it as a project, a process of learning and internalizing the destination.
I hope this article was of some interest to you who are reading it. I would love to hear what you do on a build up to a holiday, would love to add to the list 🙂 and if anyone thinks I can help with planning your holiday, I would be happy to help. 🙂