Plan Well - Travel Well
By Shari Hearn
I believe in spontaneity. I love picking up the phone and calling a friend out of the blue to meet for dinner. I love spontaneously getting in my car and taking a drive in the local mountains. I love being spontaneous and choosing something on the menu I've never tried before. But, there's one thing I never am spontaneous about - travel. Yes, travel.
When it comes to travel, a well-planned trip is a fun trip. Now, some might say you're taking the fun and spontaneity out of a trip by over planning. I'm not saying plan every second of every minute of your vacation. You can be as spontaneous as you like once you're there, but plan for the unexpected on your trip. Don't let your travels around the world or your annual family road trip get ruined by not being prepared, whether it's not having the right clothing for the destination, or realizing a GPS unit would sure come in handy while you're traipsing through the rainforest.
How many times have you gotten to your destination only to find you forgot to pack your favorite shirt? Or, worse, your underwear? (I see the hands raised out there). Now, if it's just a shirt or underwear, you can always buy more when you roll into town. But, what if it's your allergy medication and your destination is going through its worst allergy season ever? Then it's a few hours out of your fun trip to visit the local urgent care center to get a new prescription (if the town you're visiting has an urgent care center).
A well-thought-out travel plan can help eliminate the unexpected ruining your vacation. Research your destination thoroughly. What's the 14-day weather outlook? It might be nice and sunny in Hawaii most of the time, but maybe there's a tropical storm heading their way in about a week. With that information it would be wise to include some rainy weather gear, wouldn't it?
Think about the unexpected. It seems every summer in the Southwest there's someone who gets lost in the desert with dire consequences. You might want to invest in an inexpensive GPS unit to ensure that doesn't happen to you. Spontaneously taking the road less traveled might seem spontaneous and fun, but getting lost on a desert road in the searing heat (or a mountain road in 4ft. snow) can be a real fun killer.
What are some other travel planning tips you might not think of?
Make sure your travel bags and luggage can stand up to the journey. The worst time to find out your carry-on is breaking apart at the seams is when you're stuffing it into the overhead bin. Find that out ahead of time. Arriving at that expensive resort with a suitcase held together with rope is not a good look.
Make sure your health is protected while traveling to distant parts of the world, or, for that matter, your annual family trek to Disney World. Pack some travel vitamins. Yes, there are special vitamins made for travel. And, check out some good travel insurance while you're at it. You never know when you'll need it.
Again, whether it's a trip around the world, or your family outing to the Great Smoky Mountains make sure your travel guides are up to date. You might be building your trip around an attraction that is now closed certain parts of the year, or, worse, has been closed the past several years.
Plan a trip well, and you can have all the spontaneous fun you want.
Shari Hearn is a writer and frequent contributor to TheTravelersCompanion.com.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.