SO, I will be really honest here, by the time you are reading this I will be back in Los Angeles for the final leg of my crazy husband-less summer…. and the other truth is, I’m currently writing it in the middle of it all!
Basically, in 5 or 6 months (from the end of May to the beginning of October) I will be in North Carolina, 5 cities in Spain, 2 cities in Portugal, a few places around home in Germany, 4 cities in Poland, back to Czech Republic, a train trip visiting a few places in Austria and Hungary, visiting Los Angeles for a month, and then back to Germany for Octoberfest with the In-laws.
Yes. And right now I am just between Portugal and hitting the road to Poland.
But this is more than just a brag post, I promise!
The point is when you have crazy summers like this, there is an even crazier amount of prep that is required of you to make it work!
For the 3 or 4 months before May, I was already deep in planning but for the amount of research and prep I usually do for a two or three week trip, this didn’t feel like enough, especially when the people I will be traveling with are halfway across the world and many time zones away.
I think that my husband got sick of all the tiny slips of paper that were taped across the wall of our living room, color-coded by county, group trip, and cities with all of their attractions listed with priorities. Then, of course, all of the potential time tables between driving, planes, trains, and buses. This is so much work!
You’ll get more of the breakdown of all these adventures as you read on through the weeks (I’m hoping you stick with me) but let me break down what I did and what I had wished I had done more of. If I had my way, I would have nothing but time to plan travel (and yes, I know that is a job!) but the reality for that isn’t like that – I’m learning how to balance this married life thing, I promise!
When I plan a small trip with more time, I research the whole area – the countries and regions and break them down into the cities. As an American, I will always have the mindset that I need to see as much as I can when anywhere else in the world because, for the most part, we don’t get out of our country much and when we do it cost us so much! this, unfortunately, means that we cram and cram and cram and miss out on taking our time – Now I am trying to find a balance there.
Once I have my countries narrowed down into cool cities, I go to google maps and break down each and every city based on what people recommend in person, in books, and in blogs and websites. Once you have sites researched and save on google maps, you can chart how many days a city needs and how easily and most efficiently you can move from one site to another. You go in with a game plan!
This is not what I managed in the last trip (Spain and Portugal) and I will tell you that it showed!
I am not saying that I didn’t enjoy myself or that we didn’t do what we wanted but I feel like I could have tackled things so much better than I did by simply doing that second step of city breakdowns and mapping.
So the nest 3 days before my family gets here for the next three weeks I have very specific plans: breaking down Poland (which is my half of the trip to plan) city by city.
Planning can feel like a full-time job to get that mix between taking your time to understand the area and relax, and getting things done!
If that alone doesn’t motivate you, just remember, doing this full breakdown also lets you do much better on getting a handle on your budget and spending before you even get out the door!
Good luck and happy planning!
This is Leave on the World, helping me soar.