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Should I Plan My Vacation in Detail or Fly by the Seat of My Pants?

Should you plan your vacation in detail or fly by the seat of your pants?

Should you plan your vacation in detail or fly by the seat of your pants?

Until 6 years ago, I always planned my family’s vacations in detail.  I would schedule all the unique experiences offered in the destination, make a list of must-see sites and schedule a day and time to see them, select special dining locations and make reservations, schedule down time for relaxation and shopping, and make a list of alternate options in case we needed them.  We always had something do to and never had to ask “What now?”  While I was struggling with Fibromyaglia symptoms, I could not plan our vacations. As a result, we flew by the seat of our pants while vacationing.  We just kind of tried anything that sounded interesting and was available.  Surprisingly this worked well most of the time.   Following are my thoughts to help you decide if you should create a detailed plan or fly by the seat of your pants.

Are you visiting family or a familiar destination?

If you are going to a city you know very well and visiting friends or family, then you absolutely do not need a detailed itinerary for your getaway.   Usually your host will plan your itinerary for the visit.  As an idea, you could plan a one-day itinerary to experience something special as a thank you for your hosts.  I’ve had clients surprise their family with a special culinary experience, a joint spa day, a balloon ride and brunch event, and other local activities they wanted to experience and share without imposing on their hosts.

Are you exhausted and just want to check out for a few days?

If your getaway is 2 days, then I would say you are pretty safe going without a plan.  However, if your vacation is 4-5 days, you should consider a plan.  After a day or two of lying around and relaxing at a hotel, you’ll likely be well rested and ready for some fun.  When planning your itinerary, I recommend you relax the day of arrival and the day after.  Then have a few fun options that are unique to your destination scheduled over the next day or two.   Last thing you want to do is get home and feel you missed out because you did not know or forgot about a special experience.

Are you planning a once in a lifetime vacation?

When traveling for a length of time and/or to a destination you have never visited before, it is essential to have a plan of attack.  Again, you don’t want to get home and find out you missed a once in a lifetime experience.  I belong to the “If you’re going to do something, do it right” group, and recommend you plan ahead.  Find out about any of the unique one-of-a-kind experiences offered at your destination and make those your priority.  Next, select your dining locations and make reservations, if necessary.  Fill in the rest of your vacation schedule with a visit to a local spa, shopping, or relaxing at your hotel.

  Do you plan your vacation in detail or fly by the seat of your pants?

Because I got by with a little help from my girlfriends, I want to help you get help from your girlfriends. As always, please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences.

 Carmen M. Perez, Travel Planner

Your Florida Travel Expert and Girlfriends’ Getaway Specialist

You dream it, I plan it, you deserve it.

Call me now to get pampered, play around, or just bounce back, with your girlfriends –and without all the drama.

Visit My Website: www.GalPalBounceBackGetaways.com

Telephone: (407) 900-9258 E-mail: Carmen@CmpTravelCounselor.com

“Like” Me on Facebook: GalPalBounceBackGetaways

“Follow” Me on Twitter: @CMPTravel

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10 comments on “Should I Plan My Vacation in Detail or Fly by the Seat of My Pants?

  1. Hey Carmen! I usually haven\’t planned them bit-by-bit but the more I take vacations and getaways on my own I lean towards heavy planning. I just hate that \”what now\” feeling and like you said, sadly missing once-in-a-lifetime experiences. I think your tips are sport on. Shorter vacas, wing it!

  2. Have a plan, even a loose one, eliminates the “what can we do” question and makes for a much happier vacation!

    • Hi Martha,

      I couldn’t agree more. It’s one thing to ask, “What can we do,” at home, but on vacation you don’t want to waste any of your precious time. Thanks for your comments. Have a great day. Xx

  3. I always have a very Loose, basic plan of what I would like to do while away and then when I get there I map it out a little more… however for me, part of the whole adventure is exploring once you get there and finding stuff out from the locals or the experts once you arrive.

  4. I don’t plan much at all when I travel, except the initial hotel; I’m much happier letting the trip take on a life of its own. But I do lots of research in advance. Probably my most successful “planned” trip was when I played Auntie Mame to my 13-year-old niece. We crisscrossed France for several weeks. I had made hotel reservations every third night, at extraordinary refurbished grist mills or nunneries or whatever. In between, we stayed wherever we wanted and had flexibility to explore and wander. It was the perfect blend of structure and adventure!

  5. It depends on the trip. We need some plan, but let’s not stick to it. We are talking about holiday! 🙂

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