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We’re not big travel planners.
By that I mean plan far in advance, down to booking accommodations, activities, and even down to creating a daily schedule.
We generally have an idea of where we want to go and a rough plan sketched out, but mostly we figure it out as we go. We like to be flexible and open ended.
Being so flexible and unplanned can have it’s downsides, which I’m only just noticing now as I’ve meticulously planned our upcoming one month USA road trip with my parents.
We’re road tripping from Dallas to Boston. As they are here for a short time and want to experience their US bucket list moments, it’s essential that we plan it all out.
We don’t want to mess this up by being too lackadaisical and turning up in places late, or wasting time trying to find accommodation etc.
Less Stress and Errors. More savings.
Planning your travels as you travel is very time consuming. It means you lose a lot of opportunity to relax and connect to the present moment experience.
It can be very stressful and can often mean you end up spending more money as you lose opportunities for the cheaper prices that can come from booking travel in advance.
There are also less room for errors as you know starting and closing times, costs, etc.
For example, planning a trip to Waco Texas for the day lead me to discover that the lines to the Silo and Magnolia Table are LONG.
Now we’ve arranged to leave Dallas early in the morning to arrive at Magnolia Table for an early breakfast and save ourselves the possibility of a long line at lunch and missing out.
This will also help us time the Magnolia Bakery and Silos to miss the lines.
One little insider tip I know about travel in the USA is that Americans aren’t early risers.
So if you can plan your activities for early, you’ll almost always skip long lines. We’ll report back to whether this worked for our Waco trip or not.
(Update: It worked!! We had only a 20 minute wait. We got there at 8am – later than we hoped. )
Here’s our post sharing our tips for visiting Magnolia Table, the Silos and the Fixer Upper Trail.
Connect to the experiences better
You become more aware of what is on offer and what you will enjoy and connect with better, which again saves you time and money and helps you to get super excited as you know what is coming.
My Dad is very excited about looking at the accommodation and activities I have included in our spreadsheet itinerary, especially the accommodation overlooking the Alamo in San Antonio which is a place he’s wanted to visit for a long time.
He enjoys looking at it online. So he’s deeply connected and excited.
My Mum, however, doesn’t want to look at any of it; she wants the element of surprise.
She knows what we are doing, but she’s not looking further into it as she wants her eyes to first see it in the moment.
As I’ve been planning it all out, I’m super excited knowing what is to come and knowing I’ll be experiencing the dream with my parents.
We are still leaving spaces open for tips from our community, mostly related to food and good coffee. So please let us know in the comments below if you have any!
Show up and enjoy the freedom and fun
I’ve enjoyed the process of planning and scheduling in this road trip with my parents.
I can’t believe how much freer I feel having to all planned out. It’s an excited feeling I haven’t had for a long time.
It reminds me of my first trip overseas backpacking through Indonesia for three months and using my Lonely Planet to map it all out.
It was exciting knowing our route and experiences before leaving home.
I feel like I can sit back now and just enjoy the adventure.
It’s made me realize how much planning can give you this gift of freedom, excitement and the ability to relax and sink into the adventure.
All I have to do is look at my schedule and follow it.
It also leaves me more time to write in the moment posts like this. As our content is so heavy and rich with information to help people travel more, I often don’t have to time to write journal type posts that I once used to love to do.
Posts that just come from the heart and my thoughts while traveling and connecting to the joy of every part of the experience.
Although from this post, you can see how spending so long in the car can be a wondrous hell and get in the way of you actually writing the content.
Thankfully for the last month, Nanny and Pop will be in the car. I’m going to sit them next to Savannah.
Be prepared for entertainment Mum and Dad.
It will be okay to ask for a moment of silence.
What kind of a travel planner are you? How has planning in advance helped your travel experience before?