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Do you plan compulsively or sometimes just "Wing IT" on vacation

SunandFun83

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Well, I do add a trip sometimes

i did have one impulsive timeshare trip which was very enjoyable. I had been planning four winter weeks every year and decided I was more passionate about vacation than work.

In November 2013 I found an II Getaway for $649 for a 2BR week at Marriott Canyon Villas. I had some Hyatt restricted points and added two nights before the Phoenix week in Sedona. I told a client/friend about the trip and he said DW loves Sedona. So we invited them to come along and bumped up the Sedona villa to a 2BR.

We got up to watch the sunrise in Sedona, went hiking in the Red Rocks, saw Chihuly at the Desert Botanical Gardens and caught a Mexican Sunday Market at the Heard Museum.

My friend and I were allotted two days to play golf in Phoenix. On the second day we placed $10 bets in a Children's Miracle Network inside ten feet contest on a par three. My friend won a Troon two-for-one golf card. This is a buy one get one free card at twenty golf courses managed by Troon. Better than half price golf is the privilege to play two more days on that vacation (Hey, it's half price!)

The BOGO card was good for a year. The compulsive planner kicked in and I reserved the first two weeks of November for 2014. Had to have my friend and his DW again (it was his BOGO card) and we brought my wife's mother and aunt and uncle for a second villa.

It started as a bonus vacation with an II Getaway. It turned into an annual must do vacation. Valley of the Sun in November (Got the Getaway again for 2015 and used my MVC points for something else)

:cool:
 

VegasBella

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I plan most. Generally, I plan the destination and dates well in advance.

I research activities and make a list of things I'd like to do along with notes such as "only a good idea in sunny weather" or "coupons available at ..." Then about a week or two before the trip I review my list and check the weather to layout a loose itinerary. I like to plan ONE activity for each day with a couple back-up plans in case that falls through. I don't like to plan for more than one thing because it always gets complicated. And the back-up plan is always something simple like going to the hotel pool or watching a movie.

I plan the route (if driving) the day before or day of. That's because traffic changes everything. The only exception is for multi-day car trips where we have to figure out stopping points. I usually plan those driving routes well in advance.

I hardly ever make dinner reservations or buy tickets to anything in advance just because I've had things fall through too often.
 

GetawaysRus

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I have the 3-ring Binder----sometimes DW doesn't even read it all----and I have scores of hours into it!!!!!:D

Thank God!! I am not alone. And my wife never reads the binder. She's just along to enjoy the trip.

I'm the planner, for several reasons:
1. my work schedule - vacation time must be scheduled a minimum of 3-4 months in advance
2. It's her fault. When we get to our destination, she looks at me and says "Ok, now what are we going to do?"
3. I like to make use of travel award accounts (airline miles, hotel points) as much as possible.

The 3-ring binder thing started a few years ago when we stopped using tour groups and started traveling independently. I only do this for major international trips. You can all have a little fun at my expense. Here's what I've brought (in addition to some travel books):
- 2011: 2 weeks independent in Israel - 117 page travel file
- 2012: 3 weeks independent in Spain, including 1 week at Marriott Playa Andaluza - 84 page travel file
- 2013: 3 1/2 weeks independent in Holland and Italy - 173 pages
- 2014: 4 weeks independent in Venice, Adriatic cruise, Poland - 238 pages
- 2015: 3 weeks coming up in Peru - 169 pages

As the trip proceeds, I discard pages from the binder to gradually lighten the load.

I need to join a support group. Is there something like Obsessive Travelers Anonymous?;)
 

WinniWoman

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Definitely a planner. Even though we use our home resort every year, I still have to get theater tickets (usually the week before we leave), for example, ahead of time so we will have good seats and assure the date we want. Same with dinner reservations- a week before will book if required. I check the resort activity guide so I can work around that for other outside activities we might want to do and even to plan our couple of dinners/lunches out so I know how much food to buy for cooking. I also map out some new day excursions for us to do from the resort. 16 years and still come up with new places to see and things to do.

Obviously, for exchanges and rentals to other areas, I plan way in advance and try to get as much info. as I can from TUG members and Trip Advisor.

I always leave space for spontaneity and down time as well. It does get exhausting, however, being the "tour guide" on the trip. Hubby is content just to hang out, watch some TV, etc. After our one and only trip overseas and my OCD kicking in BIGTIME, I have decided if we ever go overseas again (and I do hope to go to Italy/Switzerland someday) I am going on some kind of tour as we will be older (can't afford it right now) and it's just too tiring for one person (that would be me) to handle it all.
 
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WinniWoman

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Definitely a planner. I find that planning "virtually extends" the vacation, as you get to think about it long before it actually happens, extending the joy!!!

Agree! The best part is the planning!
 

WinniWoman

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A good friend is an "experienced world traveler" .... I am just experienced in getting thru life.

It was a late May Sunday. He was recovering from both 2 knees being replaced at the same time - he had developed "cabin fever". I was coming down to his house for several Sundays bringing down a stack of newspaper with a danish as he could still not drive. He made the fancy hot coffee drinks and we would read the papers. Nice quiet Sundays.

I found an ad for $400 RT airfare to Budapest - new route - in 4+ months out. I read the ad; he commented that was a GREAT fare to Europe; asked if he had been there. Neither of us had; he asked, Want to go? Booked the vacation for the last 2 weeks of November ... brought Guide books for Eastern Europe.

Our plans were - as neither of us READ the guide books BEFORE the trip - the arrival and departure dates in/out of Budapest. We each had an Eastern Eurorail pass - he had never ridden the rails. I wanted Vienna - he wanted no Vienna; agreed on Budapest and Prague. Got NO Vienna as I traded those days for single night in Karloy Vary (which became 3 nights). And we did a day trip to Krakow.

His extended family - 2500+ miles from us in the USA - SOLD each square on a betting grid as to when WE would part company during the trip. He thought every email he got during the trip was strange, as they all started with, "Are you 2 still travelling together?" Budapest, Prague, day trip to Krakow, Karlovy Vary and then back to Budapest.

We decided the last several days of the trip .. we had NOT seen enough and we were having a blast! So we decided to do it again - same time, the next year.

And we did it again ... I went back to Karkow for 3 days & another 3 days in Karlovy Vary; he stayed for the entire 2 weeks in Budapest. And I had another friend (former good friend due to the trip) insist he wanted to come.

We still mention the trip of YEARS ago ... and still is listed on the top 3 trip I have taken. He is now living in Thailand ... closed up his house in NJ 2 months ago. And he brought up the Eastern European trip ... we grinned and mentioned the interesting moments of that trip. The taxi driver who was taking us for a "ride", hotel rates I would argue DOWN at every place, the Christmas market where he discovered "grog", the conductor I threw luggage at to get us ON the train, etc. And almost NO ONE spoken English nor was anything translated. It was a GREAT TRIP and still a good trip the 2nd year.


This is a great story, Linda!
 

SunandFun83

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I have 20 trips in my Tripit for the next 5 years, of either confirmed timeshare exchanges (through 2016) or future travel plans I expect to execute (2017-2019) and approximate months. I like to do 3-4 vacations a year, so I try to spread them out about 3-4 months apart, typically.

So now I do not plan to the extreme.

Wow 20 trips identified on the bucket list! You might still rate pretty high on the "Extreme Planner" scale. But, I applaud your focus.

My wife and I made a travel bucket list 31 years ago when we got married. We have checked off 8 out of 10 items like China, Thailand, Turkey, Greece. I bought her a National Geographic's Trips of a Lifetime issue so we could plan a new bucket list. She did Scandinavia, Galápagos Islands and Tahiti with her mother, so, I still have some catching up to do.

Hope you enjoy your plans
 

Icc5

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Plan/Don't Plan

We have to do both because of owing 3 weeks plus points. We plan ahead as far as when and where we want to go in general and then my wife will start looking and ask if this or that place works. We then decide a week,2 weeks?
We usually plan at least two weeks if flying.
Once we know what we have I start looking things up in the area and within 150 miles or so. We decide on a few things to do,research those and that's it until we get there. We then look at local information and decide on must do. Anything else is left open or maybe.
The difference is places we go back to where we own. No plans just night before or daily decisions. Years ago it was all planned because we had our young kids with us.
 

ailin

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Funny part--When we first landed in Europe my husband said "You know I have no idea where we're going." He did have a detailed itinerary w/ addresses & phone numbers in his bag though.

My husband is like that! When customs agents ask him things like how long are you staying, where are you staying, where else are you going? His answer is always "umm...let me ask my wife". :rofl:

I wonder what it feels like to go to a place with only a vague idea of where you're going, no expectations. There must be a certain element of surprise and joy in that. I don't think I'll ever find out though because I LOVE to plan. It's half the fun! I usually have at least 1 trip in the works (currently have 3 in various stages).

If we're staying in a hotel, my research for that is the most obsessive. I'll look though all the options on TripAdvisor (including B&Bs, vacation rentals), VRBO, AirBnB, trying to find the best option for the money. I'll look though all the pictures, google search for pictures, try to find YouTube videos (those are the best, really gives you a sense of what the place is like). I'll stalk airfare, car rentals. I'll research all the activities (and look for coupons or deals - Groupon, LivingSocial, Amazon Local, Travelzoo, Entertainment Book, Costco) and restaurant options. I usually know which activities I want to do and possibly which day, but I leave flexibility in that. I'll put the most promising restaurant options (based on Yelp reviews usually) into Tripit, then decide day of which one.

With little kids, I don't cram as much into a day as I used to, and DH doesn't complain that he needs a vacation from his vacation. :)
 
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John Cummings

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We decide where we want to go and then secure our reservations(hotels) and exchanges ( TS ). Our TS trips are usually to either New York City or Waikiki so our requests need to be made well in advance. We get our flights a few months is advance. After that we do no planning at all. We don't ever cook any meals on vacation so we never buy groceries or supplies. We just do whatever we feel like whenever we want.
 

DavidnRobin

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I plan upfront (flights, locations, reservations...) and well in advance, but 'wing-it' when we get to our destinations. Of course - no kids, and traveling during off-season helps.
Robin does little planning except pack the things we need that are a hassle to buy/obtain (like veggie steamer, Peet's coffee, water filter, spices...)
 

GetawaysRus

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My husband is like that! When customs agents ask him things like how long are you staying, where are you staying, where else are you going? His answer is always "umm...let me ask my wife". :rofl:

This almost caused us a problem in Israel, but fortunately the security agent had a sense of humor. It's funny in retrospect.

Security screening in Israel is quite different than the USA. The security agents ask you questions, and I think they are looking for something in how you respond. It seems that certain responses or psychological reactions must trigger greater suspicion.

Anyway, we were to fly from Eilat to Tel Aviv. The security agent at the airport asked my wife where we were going and where we were staying. Well, she knew nothing. That could have been highly suspicious (after all, a terrorist doesn't need hotel reservations after they set off their suicide bomb). But the security agent was satisfied when I explained that I make all the travel reservations, and we really did have reservations that I was able to name.

We also got asked questions when flying back to the USA from Tel Aviv airport. After taking our checked luggage, a security agent wanted to know how many pairs of shoes were packed in our bags. Fortunately, the agent asked me. I'm the male, and I immediately knew the answer. I was wearing one pair of shoes and had one more in my luggage. Had the agent asked my wife, she wouldn't have been able to answer very quickly at all. She travels with tons of shoes, and it would have been very difficult for her to remember how many different pairs she had packed.
 

WinniWoman

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This reminds me of when we just recently crossed the border into Quebec from Vermont, where we were staying at our home resort. The border agent asked my husband if he owned any guns. They must have known he had a carry permit. Of course, he rarely carries and he certainly never takes a gun with him when we are on vacation. So he said yes. Then she asked him if there were any guns in the car. He said no, but he hesitated as he is hard of hearing. Then the agent asked if he had any guns at home. Now I could see my husband was going to catch an attitude as to why the heck that would matter, so I quickly chimed in that he was a hunter. Well- they pulled us over and had us sit inside the building while they ran checks on us and then they searched our entire car! I kept thinking if we were coming in the other way we would probably just breeze through. We could have probably walked!

Ironically, my brother-in-law who was on the trip with us, had declined to come to Quebec that day and stayed in the condo because he said last time he went over the border they hassled him. They asked if he was ever in any trouble. He is 69 years old. He said no. The border agent called him a liar. They brought up an altercation he had when he was 16 years old! A stupid mistake he made at the time that he never even thought about!

Yet somehow all these criminals get into our country. Maybe our border agents should be more like the Canadian ones!
 

tashamen

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The last two posts reminded me of when we drove to Ottawa a few years back on our anniversary in July and crossed the border in upstate NY. It was sweltering hot and we were sweating - maybe that's why they pulled us over. DH and I had to go inside and we were interrogated (no other word for it) separately by Canadian border agents. DH had no idea what hotel we were staying in in Ottawa since I do all the planning. He also said he had no money with him because he planned to take money out of an ATM once we got to Canada. Fortunately I had a printout of our Ottawa hotel ressie and our Club Intrawest Tremblant ressie or we may not have been let in. They went through everything in our car also, but didn't find anything since there was nothing to find. That's the only time in decades of going in and out of Canada that we were ever stopped.

Back to the topic - I do all of our planning, but we hardly ever plan more than 6 months ahead, the exception being for my business trips.
 

topmom101

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Thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's posts. As for me, some of my trips are planned far in advance, some last minute. I have been know to surf the Internet, come across a great travel deal, dial a friend and pack a bag. My husband calls me a gypsy and teases me that when he gets up in the morning he never knows if he has to drive me to the airport. Lol
 

Greg G

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Definitely a planner. However if I have vacation I need to use up or lose I have done last minute unplanned trips.

Greg
 
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