#Travel Fever

Travel Planning for the Laid-Back Adventurer

The heart of adventure is the journey itself. Many of us don't enjoy planning, but a tiny bit can save future headache!


person with boots up on the dashboard holding a notebook

My wife and I are polar opposites when it comes to travel planning. She prefers planning out every detail, while I’m more of a “wing it and see what happens” kind of guy. I love the spontaneity, the unexpected discoveries, and the occasional “oops” moments.

Science is all about messing around and finding out.

After all, the joy of traveling really is in making new discoveries and experiencing the world in its natural state. Often the best stuff ISN’T in the tourist brochures!

Here’s the thing though: not every surprise is a good surprise. We’ve had trips derailed by bad weather, locations closed for the season, or wasting precious time on boring stuff when AMAZING experiences were just around the corner.

After several mishaps, we kind of agreed that a tiny bit of pre-planning could be useful. I’m not talking about a rigid itinerary, by any means. The key to laid back travel planning is finding surprises on your own terms, and not letting them find you.

Bare Bones Pre-Planning

So for all of you who, like me, enjoy a carefree level of planning, here’s the absolute minimum you should check before heading out:

  • Weather and Seasonal Conditions: Bad weather’s out to get you and rain all over your plans. Many locations close a lot of their attractions during their “off-season” as well, limiting activities. Knowing this lets you plan ahead or decide that finding a different travel date is better.
Storm cloud with lightning
I'm gonna eat ya
  • Variety of Activities: Don’t just look for the top 5 things to do. Dig deep! What indoor and outdoor activities are available during your stay? Museums, festivals, quirky restaurants, food eating competitions? Look up as many options as you can so that when plan A implodes, you have other ideas in mind you can fall back on!
  • Lodging Location: Many destinations are larger than they appear. Don’t get stuck in an hour's commute from anything fun! Find lodging that’s centralized or close to the majority of activities you found at the destination. Some locations may even include food and drinks minimizing the number of meals you need to spend on!
traffic jam
I don't think we're making it to that show by 5pm.
  • Getting Around: No one likes realizing their scenic walk is actually a highway trek, or that taxis cost more than the flight over. Do some research on public transportation, alternative transportation methods, and costs of transportation ahead of time to save yourself some headache (and money)!
  • Packing Basics: We don’t all need a suitcase for every possible “what if”, but if it’s monsoon season you just -might- need a raincoat. At least have peace of mind that you know it was needed and chose to leave it behind. Keeping an extra outfit or two is an ace if there are travel delays as well.
brown and gray leather suitcase
If I was meant to bring a rain jacket, it would look more aesthetic in this case.
  • Digital Communication: Finding out that your “unlimited” phone plan is going to turn into a thousand dollar bill the moment you cross the border isn’t so nice. Check your provider’s rates and plans for traveling to your destination, they might have discounted package plans for vacation. Alternatively check for wi-fi and internet connectivity at your destination to maintain communications back home.

The world is wild and unpredictable, but that’s half the fun of adventure! You can’t prepare for every situation, but if you plan enough to avoid common pitfalls, your journey is going to be a lot sweeter.

Don’t be afraid of a little detour, the heart of adventure is in the journey itself!


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