Planning a new trip is always fun and exciting. Though, I cannot help feeling a tinge of sadness. There is always that part of me that wants to be everywhere, experience everything, and see the whole world. The rational side of me, however, knows that this next trip will bring me one step closer.
Due to air mile rewards, we are planning our next trip in Europe. Currently, we are drafting possible trip routes and making lists of ideas. And the over zealous me just wants to say, “All of the above, please!” Unfortunately, with Tzachi’s allotted vacation days and the real-world fact of currency and finances, we must be rational.
When narrowing down locations, it is based on what we want to see, but also what we want the trip to be like. We have learned that trips need a natural rhythm; the hustle-and-bustle of cities juxtaposed against the charming villages or expansive nature. Too much of either and we loose focus, finding the blossoming trees “just another bud” or the old castles “just a pile of stones.” The rhythm for us is certainly more nature then most people would like. Nonetheless, we need the city life to remind us of the preciousness of gurgling brooks and cricket’s lullabies. While also needing the long, open roads to remind us to cherish the interactions we have with people throughout our journey.
It has also taken us time to learn that just because that is “what you are suppose to do there” does not mean that is what we have to do. Traveling is about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things. However, neither of us being shoppers, our attempts at shopping in the malls of Bangkok were ridiculous and frustrating. Leaving us both in states of frustration, and wrecking large portions of the day. The open markets, while still not exactly our thing, provided at least enough local culture to be found fascinating compared to the malls that look similar to any other contemporary shopping center worldwide. When traveling, be true to who you are! Force yourself to take those small steps outside your comfort zone, but also know when to stop and head for the things you love. After all, travel is about creating memories that you will forever find enjoyment within.
Besides being true to yourself, learn to be realistic when planning vacations. Be aware of your time frame. As much as I wish that we could hike Mount Blanc or Corsica, our 15 days vacation would be most consumed by either of those trails. This is a near to impossible deadline. For that reason, we are considering the Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany with time in Berlin, or the Swiss Alps without Mount Blanc, or even Langavegurinn/Fimmvorouhals Pass in Iceland (though probably more unlikely). When we take in our budget, we cross of places like Italy (After all, who really wants to travel in the land of food and wine on a low budget? Honestly, I rather save it for a little later in life.) and add places like Georgia, which is known for its pristine landscape and less visited roads.
Travel is a juggling game. Known your priorities. Agree on what is worth splurging on; a nice dinner or tickets to a football match. Then hold back on the rest. The easiest way to save money is by downsizing the hotel. Coming from a girl who needs her down comforter (or down sleeping bag) and can go easily from hiking boots to high heels, find the mixture. A common trend is to stay at average places (I am not recommending bad neighborhoods or rat infested hotels, just not your Kimpton or Four Seasons every night) during the beginning of the trip. And save the chic for either the cities where you will enjoy it most, or the end of your trip.
Besides the natural rhythm of city, relaxation, city, etc. Remember that the end will be the most fresh in your memory when you step onto the plane home. So make sure you plan something wonderful, be it a relaxing trip to the islands in Thailand or a fabulous night in the heart of Paris, as your final finale. Just know that a finale does not need to be complex, just something you know you will enjoy and leave you smiling as you walk through the terminal and onto the plane.