To plan, or not to plan

There’s nothing I love more than planning a trip.

It brings out the best and worst parts of me;

The fantasist who gets lost in thinking about what could be.

The compulsive controller who needs to have everything nutted out.

The queen of indecision, who can’t commit to anything, unless she’s vetted all other options.

On one hand, this can be a good thing. It usually means wherever we stay is the product of hours weighing personal preference against price points.

I like to play a neat little game where proximity to the beach comes up against included breakfasts, tiles showdown against carpet, the size of the pool against the state of the living areas, and Kings stare down Queens.

These decisions used to be made with the assistance of a vanilla manila folder, squished under the cook books and stuffed with clippings of possible locations. They’d be rifled through, cross referenced to the occasional guide book or conversational recommendation. Then it was simple. You’d phone and make a booking. Back when I was delegated the choice of house for Schoolies in Merimbula there was merely a photocopied sheet from the local real –estate agent to guide us.

It was a simple procedure. A plus B x how many people and how many days divided by concerns of the delegates.

These days it’s still an equation. But with an excess of information, there’s a greater obligation for investigation.

What does say? What about the hoodlums whinging on What’s the difference between the glossy PR pics on the hotel website, and those taken by real people own on tripadvisor? What if I go to Google street view? Satellite view? What does it really look like ? Is it really as close to the beach as they say? How far is that walk? What’s the price difference if I book everything all together through Expedia? What about if I go direct through the hotel? What about

I’ve found myself, lost for hours and hours and hours, unable to make choices, bemused and bewildered by the breadth of options, occasionally short of breath.

Once you’ve started filtering through all of that there are more mysterious x’s to then be isolated.

If there’s an espresso machine in the room, how does that weigh up against complimentary wine and cheese by the fire in the evening? How do promises of evian spritzers and pieces of pineapple by the pool face up to the whee (!) factor of a waterslide?

Days will disappear. I promise.

This was the magic I missed when planning the great honeymoon jaunt.

We had flights, we had the wonderful flat in Paris, we had a car. But after that we had nothing.

There were twelve terrifying days stretching in front; just us and all the roads of France and Spain.

We had a full buffet of choice, but no time to ponder. You see, we’d had a wedding to get under control. And some more colourful life issues to be sorted. There was no time for tripadvisor.

For some, this acreage of options might be something to embrace- fly by the seat of your pants. See where the world takes you.

Those people weren’t built like me.

It all came to a head one cold, lip trembling day. With a faltering internet connection and failing French, I was hunched over a tiny laptop with five guide books and three maps in front of me. There was Paris outside my window, but all I could think about was what was around the corner, and what we might miss.

It was all too much.

The Hungry One took control in an incredibly chivalrous way. He commandeered the laptop and ran to Starbucks for caffeine and weefee. Within an hour he’d booked the entire twelve days. It was like someone felling trees. Bang. Bang. Bang. Done. Smacked down. Booked. Choices made.

It was wonderful, but I couldn’t help wondering- what if?

We’re now staring down a four week jaunt through the US. It’s essentially a third honeymoon in a first year of marriage and we both know it’s over the top.

We’ll start in Maui for an exotic wedding, then up to Lala Land for four days, then Palm Springs and Vegas for what we’ve dubbed the ‘anti-Christmas’. Then up to Napa and San Francisco for New Years Eve. Finally we’ll heave our way down the highway, past Santa Barbara and Pismo beach back to spot celebrities like safari.

The cheapest flight home was with Air Tahiti, so of course it makes sense to break up the final leg with a night in Papeete.

I’ve had weeks to meander and plot.

This time, it’s serious. There are itineraries cued on tripadvisor. There’s a google spreadsheet with linked cells and formulas. There’s a google calendar with an itinerary and booking references, which is synced to our outlooks. There are folders and tabs and specially made google maps. These in turn will be synced with the Tom Tom.

There is something so perversely lovely when the greatest choice you face; the hardest decision we now need to dissect over dinner is which hotel to stay in in Maui.

But as for where to go on honeymoon #3- it’s almost finished. It’s nearly all locked in.

I’m now turning to other people, grasping and guessing at where friends and family might need trips planned to. I’ve even been caught creating phantom itineraries on the chance, of ‘what if?’.

If anyone needs a two week jaunt through Vietnam, let me know… it’s cued.

Good thing there are still restaurants to be booked.

  1. Fabulous post, Tors! Teach me, Obi Wan!

    The only way I handled the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants style traveling was when it was with the parentals, on their dime and in 4-5 star places!

    Otherwise, I’m with you – I want to know where I’m laying my head of an evening, so I can concentrate on what to see, and where to eat!

  2. Feeling woefully underprepared. If you’d like to also plan my trip, I woudln’t say no!

    K xx

  3. What about doing all that in japanese? Please help here – send the Hungry One and we’ll feed him..

  4. spreadsheets, google calendar, little bits of paper, folders, tabs, maps and bookmarks in your browser, it’s all wrong dear tori.


    Makes it all a breeze. Forgotten where you’re supposed to be next? point your wifi-enabled equipment at and there, you’ll be reminded that you need to leave in 3.45hours for that drive down route 1.

    Have a great trip.

    And tell us about it!

  5. Woah.Fishzle. You’ve just rocked my world completely. I feel like I’ve just discovered frozen puff pastry for the first time. It’s something I’ll never live without, but feel kinda silly for spending so much time creating my own version when someone else can do it better. But thank you- now much less time needed for data entry, and more for researching where to take the hungry one to eat- or to plan the trip to Japan- we promise Naomi- we promise (!)

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