To plan or not to plan your trip

Here comes a secret, that sounds like a sin for a proper traveller: I love planning my trips!

Whether it's a simple road trip or a couple of months in South East Asia, I will do my research and find out exactly what I want to do, where exactly I want to go and how much it will cost.



If you had ever met me, you knew why this is hilarious.

Most days I struggle with the decision what I should have for lunch and the only working light in my kitchen is the one in the fridge at this moment.


So my friends would expect me to just go places and figure out what to do once I'm there.

But there is one aspect they forget:

As a designer my job is to plan stuff. Yes, I might be all creative but in the end I draw plans for every tiny detail, have daily conference calls about them and will speak to anyone who has anything to do with the project several times.

But I'm never actually doing anything. I run around on a building site like a know-it-all with my ridiculous helmet and my shoes you can step onto every nail with, but I'm never even going to hold hammer.

So all my plans are for other people. For the clients and for the people building what I designed.

But then I start travelling.

And I plan all this for me. Without having any conference calls about it and maybe without even telling anyone.

I will google “what to do in Chiang Mai” and imagine myself wandering through the alleys, having street food and meeting interesting people everywhere­. I see myself wrapped in colourful clothes I have bought from locals with my new friends I have met at all these great places.

I will read travel blogs, telling me where to find the best beaches and where to eat the best Curry.
My trip starts way before stepping on a plane.


And the best part... Arriving at this new place, I know all the things I could do. Where I can rent a cheap surfboard or where I could have an artisan crepe for lunch.

And then: I don't have to do it.

 I can change all my plans on the site. And no one will even know.

How do you feel about planning? Do you just hop on a plane or plan things ahead?

Write a comment

Comments: 9
  • #1

    Will & Laura @ Bottled Air (Monday, 01 June 2015 16:01)

    Nice post. We plan almost nothing. We don't like to rush ourselves or give ourselves deadlines. If we enjoy a place we will say a few days to a few weeks then move on. We found that the'best curry place' which you mentioned is usually the place with the comfiest chairs, smallest portion sizes and blandest food, if you compare this to a little restaurant run by locals for locals you get huge portions or food with (usually) free water and a smile.

  • #2

    Gretchen Richter de Medeiros (Tuesday, 02 June 2015 19:00)

    I'm with you, I like to plan things out, usually in day by day chunks (not hour-by-hour). If we need to change a plan, fine, but if we miss something amazing because we didn't know to plan for it, then I'm seriously disappointed.

  • #3

    Sarah (Tuesday, 02 June 2015 23:45)

    I'm with both of you, Will+Laura and Gretchen,

    although I plan a lot I still stay at places that I enjoy and change all my plans.
    But I feel "safe" kind of knowing what I want to do :)

  • #4

    heather (Thursday, 18 June 2015 12:53)

    I do lots of research beforehand so I know what the options are. I'd hate to miss something that I would have liked to do because I just didn't know about it. Then I do whatever I want when I get there. I don't have anything other than a rough daily plan of activities that could happen. I think it is the best of both worlds.

  • #5

    Sarah (Saturday, 20 June 2015 07:41)

    that's just how I do it! We should travel together :)

  • #6

    Maaike - Travellous World (Sunday, 21 June 2015 23:00)

    I'm a bit of a planner. I don't like to miss out on things, and feel that I need to read into anything that might be relevant before I travel. However, plans can still change at the destination. It really depends on the people I meet, the weather (on some occasions) etc.

  • #7

    Sarah (Sunday, 21 June 2015 23:06)

    ... just like me, Maaike!
    Just checked your page and was happy to find another "Londonphile" :)

  • #8

    Gabi (Monday, 22 June 2015 20:38)

    Great post thanks for sharing! I am definitely a planner, organizer type it's in my nature :) What I see regarding my country is that the real, local info that is available about Budapest / Hungary is just simply not enough. One thing is for sure: it's not advised to visit without proper preparation, it can be a total nightmare :D

  • #9

    Sarah (Tuesday, 23 June 2015 19:25)

    Hey Gabi, thanks for your comment! So you're saying the information out there is not enough: what am I supposed to do if I want to travel to Hungary? Use a travel agent? Any advice?