Saturday, May 25, 2013

Planning

We’ve now entered the planning phase of our next family trip. It will go to Asia, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. I love it: planning is always a stimulating part of the trip. Flipping guidebooks, browsing through travel websites, reading maps… The virtual travel already brings a lot of excitement.
It can bring frustration too. There are so many wonderful places to discover out there and we will never have enough time to visit them all. We’ve already stretched the period of our annual vacation; we’ll total 7 weeks “on tour”. That is the good side of travelling with children: I will benefit from a parental leave, legal unpaid holidays, to enjoy more of Asia with my little ones.
Using the term planning to describe my pre-trip researches is somewhat exaggerated. We hardly ever book our hotels or tickets in advance. We appreciate the freedom of spending an extra night in a wonderful hotel or unexpectedly visit a remote place.
For our Asian trip, my challenge is to get a good understanding of distances and available means of transportation. Day trips of 12-hr in a bus are not an option. I want to realistically assess the distance that we will be able to cover every week.
Finally, there are 3 essentials of good family trip planning:
-       Plan to make the most of your precious family time: share your ideas and wishes; get excited together about it, already before you leave.
-       Plan to maximize your travel experience: know the opening hours or closing days of the monuments you want to visit, know the bus schedules to get there and back, know all you need to know to avoid unpleasant surprises.
-       Plan to savor the pleasure of shuffling your travel plans in the last minute.