Murphey’s Law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
Nevertheless, I always thought it was less depressing to just expect the best, yet still prepare for the worst.
So you’re planning your honeymoon or a trip to somewhere you’ve never visited before.
While I enjoy the occasional spontaneity, I always believe that as long as you find yourself the slightest bit conscious about the cost of your trip, you need to plan.
Planning is not exclusive to boring people, nor does it mean eliminating the fun in your travels altogether. If you do it right, you’ll not only save yourself unnecessary stress (and the potential grumpy travel companion) but also ensure that you come home from the trip with no regrets; especially if the great Italy is on the list.
IMHO, planning a trip = planning a project. Being the choleric-melancholy that I am, here are some of the things I always take into account when travelling. The so-called boring albeit essential bits; whatever you want to call them.
1) What are your objectives
To relax? To see as much as you can? Shop? Eat your way through the trip? The sooner you identify and agree on the priorities of the trip with your travel companion, the easier it will be for you to plan and work your way around item #3.
6 months ago, my husband and I came across this rather amusing honeymoon-compatibility checklist:
Not sure what you want to do this trip? I dare you to waste 5 minutes of your life and take the test. :-D
Well we did, and barely made it. But then again, we recently came back from our honeymoon sans casualties so I suppose we’re okay. Mwahaha~
2) What is your budget
Your total budget should include flights, airport transfers, accommodation (and city tax, if applicable), food, transportation, entrance fees to the sights/attractions you intend to visit, souvenirs (if applicable), local SIM card/pocket wifi rental; plus an extra 10% buffer for any emergencies or ad-hoc expenses.
From now till the week before you leave for your trip, you may also want to start monitoring the currency exchange rates.
3) Determine the timeline of your trip
Outline your schedule in a calendar for a macro view of your trip.
There are usualy more things to consider than we’d like to assume. For example, the conduciveness of certain activies in the weather/season you’re visiting, or perhaps certain sights may be closed during specific days in the week; planning a theme park visit on a weekday as opposed to a weekend may be a better bet, buying advance tickets to a museum to skip the lines and guarantee full access, and identifying the sale season in advance if you’re planning a shopping trip, etc. So many things worth considering.
Build your travel checklist as you plan, so that you do not leave anything out. Start with your passport, flight tickets/itinerary, local currency and travel adapters at the top of your list.
Cascade down to the booking of your airport taxi, vitamins/medication (if applicable), vacation responder for your work email, etc. Download and play around with the travel apps you intend to use way ahead of time. Learn some basic words from the local language or keep a translation app on your phone for the times you may need it. Is there a certain dresscode you need to adhere to for specific sights (eg. Vatican City, watching a theatre performance, etc.)? Do you have a list of people for whom you plan to buy souvenirs for (so that you don’t miss anyone out)?
On a random note, we decided that instead of collecting fridge magnets or ornamental souvenirs, we would send ourselves a postcard from every city we visited.
Affordable and fuss-free travel momentos from our journey that don’t really require much storage space. Plus, when we get all old, wrinkly and forgetful, we can always read the postcards to remind ourselves of the things we loved and discovered from a particular trip. :-D
So this maiden trip as a married couple, #babybaby and I visited the following cities for the first time (before heading home from Paris), from which we learnt a great deal!
- Tuscany – Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa, San Miniato
From discovering that you can only buy bus tickets at the tabachi shops in Rome to the fact that you could get a hefty fine for not validating your water bus tickets in Venice prior to boarding the vaporetto, it was indeed a very insightful trip! Can’t wait to share the details, videos and pictures with you!