Wednesday, May 1, 2013

trip pointers.

Planning a vacation adventure is one of my favorite things to do.  Once I know the destination, I immerse myself in the preparations.  I believe with all my heart that anticipation and preparation should be treated as part of the vacation FUN.

If you were to ask Mother Rabbit for some vacation planning basics, she would say:

1. Read the Frommers Guide.

2. Read a novel set in your destination. 
Watch movies that were filmed where you are going.

3. Buy new clothes.

4. Keep a journal & take great photos.  Make a memory book.

Let's get more specific:

1. Read Frommers.
I never, yes never, travel to a city or country without reading what the Frommers Guide has to say.  Granted, there is not a Frommers Guide that rates Lindsborg, Kansas - or Nebraska - but most major destination cities are covered.  Frommers is my favorite of all the guidebooks.  Yes, I have tried the others. 
You are investing a considerable amount of time and resources to travel.   Being well-read and knowledgeable about the area you are going will give you more bang-for-your-buck.   It will improve your chances of enjoying your activities and being delighted about your meal choices.

I recommend you read Frommers thoroughly - curled up with wine & a blanket.   Mark up the pages when you read something that interests you.   Since Frommers has been helping guide my vacation steps for decades, I have learned to respect what they say and even read between the lines.
Basically, if Frommers gives something *** three stars - you want to consider doing it.   If Frommers doesn't * star the activity you were planning and your time is limited, I would re-evaluate your plans.

2. Read a novel(s) and watch movies set in your destination.
This is to help you start enjoying the trip before you even leave!   It helps you prepare your heart for the adventure.  It adds richness to know some history about the place you are venturing.   It is fun to stumble onto something you have seen in a movie!   (Ever had dessert at Serendipity when in NY from the movie of the same name?    My favorite movie adventure was finding the very restaurant where Russell Crowe was filmed in A Good Year in Gordes, France.  We watched the credits at the end of the movie to point us in the right direction.)

3. Buy new clothes.
Aren't we talking about adding more FUN to a trip?   I like buying something new for a special trip because whenever I wear the outfit again it reminds me of the vacation.   New clothing purchases are also very practical:   1.) You love them so much that you don't mind wearing them repeatedly, helping you to pack lighter. 2.) The sizing in new clothes keeps them looks fresher longer.  (This makes it almost a necessity, right?)

4.  Journal every day, take lots of photos and make a photo book when you get home.
These are separate things.  All are very important. 
Take a notebook or blank journal with you - and jot something down at the end of every day. I don't care how tired you are.  Do it.  You will be forever grateful you did.  Vacations happen so fast that it is difficult to remember what happens in a single day... let alone on the whole trip.
An easy way to do it:
Ask everyone to share "3 Favorites" from the day.  It will change your life.

Take photos that tell "the story" of the adventures you having.  Be creative.

Want to know how to maximize your investment after a trip?  Print your photos in a photo album with your stories.  This is easy with the advent of digital albums.  (Talk to me if you are interested in purchasing the best photo software in the world or go to My Website.)
In some ways I enjoy making the photo book as much as the trip itself.  Really.  When you take time to savor the photos and write the stories, you truly "re-live" the experiences in slow-motion.  This can be glorious.  And when you are done you can re-live the vacation again and again.   Want your kids to remember what you just spent (I mean invested) on your vacation?  Make a photo album.  It will etch the memories in their minds for a lifetime.

Maybe this week is a good time to plan a little (or BIG) trip!

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