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It has become increasingly clear that I make a terrible travel planner for myself. When I know I’m going some place I get so excited, read a whole bunch of stuff and that’s it. Any thoughts of travel planning get throw out the window. I figure out the important stuff of course: accommodation and how to get there. I’ll do a general overview and have a basic understanding of what there is to see and do there, but I have no set itinerary. If I’m traveling with someone else, I let them do all the work for me and plan the whole trip.
Usually, once I get to my destination, I get a map, go on a walking tour to get a lay of the land and then start wandering. I like living in the moment and exploring on foot. I can get lost like its my job. I can wander alone happily for hours, not even noticing that I’m tired (but if I’m with someone else, they’ll get my whining).
Then there are times I find out about experiences that I missed out on just because I didn’t plan properly and didn’t do enough research. Like Prague for example. I had no idea I could climb up the clock tower in the Old Town Square and only found out because I was looking up information for my post on Prague. That is something I would have done just to see the city below me. A little bit of research would have solved that problem.
Often, like the case here, when writing up blog posts, I research the history and random trivia about the places I visit. During the course of my incessant Googling, I discover so many other cool things to do that I miss out on. For some reason I find it so much more interesting to read about a place after I’ve been there already.
This is why I like slow travel. The more time I have in a city, the more time I have to slowly explore the city, research and understand. It gives me more opportunity to discover the hidden secrets that I otherwise would have no idea about. I can go back to places after I’ve read about them to really appreciate what it is that I’m looking at. Yes, I know I can read those informational posts and signs often at these attractions, but who has time for that? It’s all about looking at what is around you when you’re actually there. Reading comes later – at least for me.
The funny thing is that I LOVE planning trips for other people and usually have tons of suggestions for things to do and see. It’s one of the main reasons I started this blog in the first place. Are you going to Budapest, Vancouver or even Victoria soon? Chat me up. I’ll share with you so many awesome things you won’t possibly have enough time to see, do or eat them all. (I promise)
I’m in the midst of planning for a few upcoming trips so we’ll see how it goes this time around.
Are you a planner? How much do you like to research about a city before you go?