Any trip worth taking deserves the time it takes to plan. Spontaneity is nice and can definitely be built into a well planned trip, however the better the planning = more enjoyment. This is true weather you are going on a guided trip or your own.
THE 4 R’s: *Reading *Research *Rethinking *Reserving
READING I love reading fictional stories, biographies as well as guidebooks about the region. The more the better. This guideline adds so much richness and takes time!
RESEARCH This includes studying maps of the region. Being aware of logistics of getting from one place to another with ease. Looking into the culture, do’s and don’ts, language (including learning the language of your destination if possible, which opens so many additional doors), talking with others who have visited this region, attending photo shows, watching movies and listening to music of the region. What is the food like? What is this area known for? When is the best time to visit? How to get off the tourist path? What are the must sees. What kind of clothing and gear will you need? Make sure you have time to try it out before leaving! Research takes time. It offers structure and comfort to explore within.
RETHINKING Give yourself time to ponder, get other opinions, bounce off the walls a bit. For this reason I always opt to book with a no cancellation fee policy. Many reservation sites honor this to within a fairly close proximity of your visit. You might discover a new place that you want to fit into your itinerary!
RESERVING Do reserve early and with no cancellation fees. The best places are often snapped up a year in advance. Know your logistics and parameters. Do you want a cozier place that offers half-board or do you prefer to wander around discovering your next dinner spot? Know what you want it to look like. This said, it’s been my experience to reserve a year in advance. If you are flying to your destination becomes even more important.
Here’s to great adventures! Happy Trails, Hilloah