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Old 02-05-2019, 12:44 AM
 
Location: Cebu, Philippines
4,480 posts, read 1,702,239 times
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How thoroughly do you research a travel destination before you go there?

I guess I like surprises, I don't even prepare for the weather. I usually book a hotel, for the first night, if I'm flying in, but that's about it.

I spent two weeks in Kyrgyzstan, and didn't know about their Africa-level GDP until after I got home. I had to buy warm clothes in Ethiopia. I didn't know about Georgian kachapuri until I got there.

I like to draw my own conclusions about a place, without being warned.

Last edited by cebuan; 02-05-2019 at 12:59 AM..
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Old 02-05-2019, 04:39 AM
 
9,842 posts, read 5,048,536 times
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I am a planner by nature. I will spend weeks or even months researching and planning. To me, that’s as much a part of the experience as actually making the trip.
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Old 02-05-2019, 05:25 AM
 
1,191 posts, read 482,771 times
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I very thoroughly research trips before going, including:

-booking travel and lodging ahead. One can occasionally get frozen out of options otherwise. No thanks.

-research the things I want to do thoroughly. Sure, you can wing it to some extent once you get there, and sometimes it’s necessary because of unexpected closures and such, but I like to know what I’m doing and when as a basis. Among other things, I often contact attractions I want to see and ask about how long most people spend in a visit. I also research food options, noting local specialties.

-set up a printed itinerary for each day, planning for such things as public transport needs, days and hours of closing, and (hopefully) grouping things that are nearby together. I carry this with me along with a printout of guidebook writeups when I go out for the day.

This may be too rigid an approach for some, but it has served me very well and made my traveling a joy.

I also keep a travel diary for the trips I take, spending each night writing about what I did and saw. I enjoy reading about trips taken in the past, and it’s easy to relive the experience mentally.
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Old 02-05-2019, 05:32 AM
 
Location: Orlando
2,012 posts, read 2,651,078 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hertfordshire View Post
I am a planner by nature. I will spend weeks or even months researching and planning. To me, thatís as much a part of the experience as actually making the trip.
I could have written this post -- it's me to a T. I love the research part of the trip!
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Old 02-05-2019, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Canada
9,079 posts, read 8,366,091 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bachslunch View Post
I very thoroughly research trips before going, including:

-booking travel and lodging ahead. One can occasionally get frozen out of options otherwise. No thanks.

-research the things I want to do thoroughly. Sure, you can wing it to some extent once you get there, and sometimes itís necessary because of unexpected closures and such, but I like to know what Iím doing and when as a basis. Among other things, I often contact attractions I want to see and ask about how long most people spend in a visit. I also research food options, noting local specialties.

-set up a printed itinerary for each day, planning for such things as public transport needs, days and hours of closing, and (hopefully) grouping things that are nearby together. I carry this with me along with a printout of guidebook writeups when I go out for the day.

This may be too rigid an approach for some, but it has served me very well and made my traveling a joy.

I also keep a travel diary for the trips I take, spending each night writing about what I did and saw. I enjoy reading about trips taken in the past, and itís easy to relive the experience mentally.
I love this post! I do most of this as well.

My thought is for the amount i'm spending and the limited time I have, winging it doesn't fit my needs. I'm not gambling on a hotel and I don't have time to waste figuring out what's going on. I'd hate to travel to a destination and return and discover after the fact that there were things that I would have liked to have seen and done if only I had known.
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Old 02-05-2019, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
27,093 posts, read 5,950,493 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bachslunch View Post
I very thoroughly research trips before going, including:

-booking travel and lodging ahead. One can occasionally get frozen out of options otherwise. No thanks.

-research the things I want to do thoroughly. Sure, you can wing it to some extent once you get there, and sometimes itís necessary because of unexpected closures and such, but I like to know what Iím doing and when as a basis. Among other things, I often contact attractions I want to see and ask about how long most people spend in a visit. I also research food options, noting local specialties.

-set up a printed itinerary for each day, planning for such things as public transport needs, days and hours of closing, and (hopefully) grouping things that are nearby together. I carry this with me along with a printout of guidebook writeups when I go out for the day.

This may be too rigid an approach for some, but it has served me very well and made my traveling a joy.

I also keep a travel diary for the trips I take, spending each night writing about what I did and saw. I enjoy reading about trips taken in the past, and itís easy to relive the experience mentally.

During my more frequent traveling days, much like this cd poster....very well prepared. Always bought travel books for each country plus maps. But would be flexible....you don't have to follow a strict schedule or see everything on your list.

Finding places and things to do that are a SURPRISE...often the most memorable.
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Old 02-05-2019, 09:33 AM
 
6,387 posts, read 5,440,263 times
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With longer trips that have more flexibility, I'm more apt to wing it in terms of not having every night's stay accounted for, staying longer in a place I like/cutting short a place I don't, etc.

With shorter trips, I do plan more: I make restaurant reservations if there's somewhere I really want to eat. I look to see if there are any major events/holidays in a place at that time that will cause closures or drive up hotel prices. Because train tickets go up in price closer to departure, I buy those as soon as I have an itinerary in mind.

Depending where I'm going, I always look up things like local customs (such as tipping), try to learn some basic words, whether or not vaccinations are recommended, etc.

I honestly can't imagine not checking the weather before I pack.
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Old 02-05-2019, 09:58 AM
 
629 posts, read 494,504 times
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Another big time planner here. I absolutely love in the weeks and months prior to a trip researching the best things to see and do, the best restaurants to enjoy within our budget, and of course the most fun activities for children, as our 5 year old daughter is our travel companion. TripAdvisor is an excellent resource in my opinion, not so much purely for rankings of restaurants and hotels, but for comments re: what makes something worthwhile or not. With a 5 year old, we very much care about the family friendly nature of restaurants and activities, and a location close to major attractions is a huge plus. Conversely, we don't really care about the quality of drinks at a hotel's happy hour, or whether a museum offers extended tours. So we spend a solid amount of time planning before arriving in a destination, and we'd never go someplace without researching the hotels that always we book in advance.


That said, we definitely do not plan every waking moment of every day, and we allow ample time to take in a destination without feeling like we're running from point A to point B. So we'll generally have an outline of an itinerary, and we make it flexible based on weather. For example, we're spending a week in Savannah and Charleston this month, and I have a 7 day itinerary put together. But for the most part, it's more like "Day 1," "Day 2" etc., so that we can adjust depending on what Mother Nature has in store for us. A day of touring historic homes and museums is absolutely fine in the rain, but a day visiting gardens or other outdoors activities really should be saved for a sunny day.
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Old 02-05-2019, 11:18 AM
 
Location: equator
3,507 posts, read 1,551,711 times
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I agree the planning is half the fun. I make a detailed itinerary (with bullet points, LOL) once I have all the data. I get hotels and flights many months in advance, for peace of mind. Other than that, I don't plan much, we like to wing the day-to-day adventures, or just relax. I don't check restaurants or make reservations.

Sometimes though, you might not find out something. I had researched Lesbos, Greece where we are going in spring, (after Athens and Santorini) but nothing popped up about the refugee crisis (my sister read about somewhere). Not until I plugged in Lesbos refugee did I see anything about that. I almost cancelled, but after some studying up, decided it was OK. (don't tell me different; it's too late, LOL )

I've already reserved a beachfront apt. in Spain for a year from now, because the German tourists flock there in winter, and it will be full-up as time goes on. Too soon to even get a flight.
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Old 02-05-2019, 01:51 PM
Status: "Send HIM back- to Queens!" (set 4 days ago)
 
Location: Eureka CA
8,291 posts, read 11,146,731 times
Reputation: 12633
Obsessively.
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