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July 10, 2013

Discuss: How Much Travel Planning is Too Much?

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Nothing divides travelers quite like the issue of planning. Some like to wing everything, barely even knowing where they’ll be tomorrow night. On the other end of the extreme are people who like to plan out every second of their trip, no matter how long they are gone for. So, for this week’s discussion post, I want to know how much planning you think is appropriate, and how much is too much?

I definitely fall much closer to the realm of people who like to make detailed plans for their trips; however, I also understand that spontaneity is worthwhile, so I like to build in time to get lost. Yes, I realize that there is some irony to planning some unplanned time, but that’s how it generally happens.

For me, planning my travels is nearly as fun as actually going on them. I like to delve into each aspect of the trip so that I don’t miss anything. I’ve found that when I don’t plan my trip, I tend to miss things I would have liked to have seen or piddle away time and miss out on some of the places I wanted to visit.

My passion for travel planning is what led to my brief career as a travel agent, and then led me to start the Tripologist Travel Planning Service. I love helping people plan their travels!

What about you? Do you like travel planning or hate it? Do you like to fly by the seat of your pants when you reach a destination, or do you like to plan it out months in advance? Let me know in the comments section below.

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  1. We sound like the same person! 🙂 I have always been a planner – since I was a kid! Mostly it’s because I hate wasting time – and I feel like if you haven’t researched all that you want to do in advance you end up wasting time trying to figure it out as you go and may end up not having enough time to see and do what you want to. I certainly don’t plan every minute, in fact I too love getting lost and having spontaneous adventures!

    I’m also a travel agent (on the side) for these same reasons! Although, I have gone overboard on the planning – where I enjoyed it so much that when I actually got there, it was a let down. So I’ve tried to find my happy-medium! 🙂

    Happy Travels to you! I look forward to reading your blog!


    • Glad I’m not the only one who loves travel planning. Ironically, I don’t plan much else in the rest of my life, but I love planning my next trip. Helps me feel like I’m traveling even when I’m not.

  2. I absolutely love the whole planning process – maybe even more than the journey sometimes! To me, there is never enough planning but I’ve quickly learned that many people absolutely hate the process. I love to research a destination extensively before going and love sharing my finds with others. I sometimes wish that I could just pick up and go without any thought but really, it’s not in my DNA. Fun post!

    • Definitely agree with you. Travel Planning is at least half the fun for me too. However, as you said, some people don’t like to plan their trips. That’s why I created the Tripologist Travel Planning Service. That way, you have the benefits of having your trip planned without having to do the work.

  3. I have to disagree. I’m parked up in a lay by on the A1. It’s 2.10am. I’m heading for France and/or further for a month or longer and that’s the plan. Nothing booked at all. Not even the ferry. You don’t get in my view anywhere near the real sense of travelling until you let go. To wander, to explore on an hour by hour basis is magical. I often leave home without even having considered if I’ll go right or left at the end if the road.

    Planning for me was a key component if the hamster wheel of work. Planning is time lost to living.

    Just a friendly banter but I’m passionate about being care free. It’s almost a spiritual experience. No bagging tourist hotspots and holiday snaps for me. Ill be sitting on a remote beach or headland of in a village cafe in France I stumbled upon.

    • There’s definitely a need for time to get lost while traveling. I couldn’t agree with you more about that. However, for me at least, when I go somewhere without looking into what a want to see and trying to scout out a few hidden gems, I tend to miss a lot that I regret later. To each his own though. Thanks for the comment and enjoy your trip!

  4. Matias

    I am realy jealus of you guys who always plan your trips! You have so much to look forward to when it comes to enjoy the random things that cant be planed. I prefer traveling as light as possible, as you do after a few trips. Not knowing where you are going is another thrilling feeling. Normally I also enjoy traveling without a return ticket. And this i feel gives the ultimate freedom and it makes everything possible.

    A poorly planned trip three years ago – and I am still in Lebanon 🙂

  5. I love to read about trips and so know a lot about the place, what to do,see,sleep,eat etc but I also end up formulating an idea of the place – often the idea is shattered and the true atmosphere is revealed (which is great!), and I am happy going with the flow. But I think i am happy to relax because I did research beforehand, if I don’t have time to read up then i’m a little stressed.
    Planning allows me spontaneity in my travels without the potential downsides.

    • Totally agree with you! Love what you said: “Planning allows me spontaneity in my travels without the potential downsides.”

      Thanks for the comment.

  6. Janelle

    I agree that planning is half the fun. I’ve never regretted any of the planning I’ve done, but I have experienced regret when I’ve arrived somewhere and I haven’t adequately planned. In my opinion, it’s much easier to enjoy the trip when you have some plans in place, otherwise you can spend way too much of your time on the trip trying to figure out where you’re going to go and what you’re going to do. That’s time spent that you could actually be DOING stuff.

  7. Any. (Of course I can only get away with this because I have an American passport.)

    • True, some people don’t like to make any plans, which would definitely not work for me. At the very least though, you have to think about transport a few days ahead of time and visas. Wouldn’t want to show up at a border without one or overstay your visa (Right, Derkek?).

  8. Joy

    Oh planning. Ha. I used to think the only way to travel was to just show up at the front door of a country and let fate have her way. After a few mishaps and a couple hundred dollars lost I am about 50/50. I plan the major things, but am always open for a random adventure.

  9. I plan to an extent. I plan on how to get from A to B, searching for cheap flights, available buses and trains, etc. I research places to eat, and like to have a rough idea of things to see. I don’t necessarily make detailed day-by-day itineraries, as I may be in a mood to do something different.

    I think it’s good to plan ahead, especially when it comes to transportation. Some blogger and his girlfriend called me out on Twitter when I mentioned cheap flights to Europe once. They asked how to get them, so I provided the names of the websites, but then were indignant, complaining how you have to buy the flights more than a month in advance to get the cheapest fares…erm, yes, because that’s how budget airlines work. If you want to save money, then planning is, I think, your best friend.

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