Diana Eastty, Well Ordered Spaces
A vacation only really begins after the work of planning for the vacation is done.
As I reflect on the many family vacations we’ve taken over the years, I realize that the best ones resulted from some serious upfront planning. Here are some examples.
Ever since our youngest daughter could read road signs she was intrigued by the number of towns named after distant countries, and at this young age she expressed her desire to “travel the world in Maine.” For those of you who are not familiar with Maine, there many towns who have adopted the name of foreign countries sprinkled all over the state.
Finally, a couple of summers ago, we only had about 36 hours to fit the trip in, so the most important step in planning for this trip turned out to be finding a good map. My daughter and I studied the map in advance and plotted the route we could take that would allow us to visit as many “countries” as possible. Our goal was to travel to each town, search out the town’s welcome sign, take a photo to chronicle our visit, and move on to the next one.
I’m happy to report that, due to our advanced planning, we were successful in visiting all 9 countries (towns) listed on this famous directional sign, which we also found on our route.
Planning for this rather simple trip was a good warm up for the trip to London we took that same summer. With a trip across the pond, the added challenges of selecting lodging, packing efficiently (I only allowed one suitcase each), and purchasing tickets in advance all came into play.
Again, with two busy young adults, we had to cram our trip between our youngest daughter leaving for her freshman year of college and our oldest daughter’s graduate school graduation ceremony, so it was a short trip to London for us.
But there are numerous opportunities to save time during your vacation with some careful planning beforehand.
Consider some of the things we did:
- We prioritized the sites we wanted to visit. We created a chart that divided each day into morning, mid-day and afternoon/evening. After identifying what we wanted to see, we filled in our chart, to plan our route each day.
- Asked for recommendations. I picked the brains of friends and family who had taken a similar vacation. The Internet is great, but researching can be time consuming and misleading especially when looking for lodging. Getting hotel and restaurant recommendations from a trusted friend not only saves time, it creates peace of mind. (Once the list is narrowed you can compare your impressions with www.TripAdvisor.com)
- Avoided the crowds. We learned that the “fast pass” idea isn’t just for Disneyworld. We looked for opportunities to purchase entrance tickets in advance, especially if they offered one that allowed us to go to the head of the line. In some cases we paid a small premium, but it was worth it.
- Kept a vacation folder. We used a folder to gather all of our e-tickets, hotel reservations, maps, and other information we needed for the week. Keeping everything in one place until needed kept us on track.
- Used checklists. Keeping track of everything you need to remember before leaving home can be challenging. This site allows you to customize your very own checklist. Try it out: http://www.independenttraveler.com/packing
Whether you’re traveling across the state for a few days or out of the country for a few weeks, designing your vacation in advance reduces stress of the unknown and allows you the freedom to explore and soak in all that there is to offer.
As the founder of Well Ordered Spaces, I specialize in guiding seniors through the process of downsizing. My goal is to help reduce the stress placed on families sandwiched between their children’s activities, pressure from employers and the needs of aging parents.
I bring to Well Ordered Spaces a passion for order, attention to detail and ability to breakdown large projects into small attainable tasks. I love helping people develop a plan that defines their path to clarity, eliminates overwhelm, and provides the order they want with the compassion and support they need.
I have a BS/BA degree from Bryant University; I am the Director of Marketing for NAPO-NE, I give back to my community as a member of the Wrentham Food Pantry board of directors, and I’m an aspiring photographer.