A quick search with the headline above will fetch you 1,320,000,000 results. I’m amazed how wanderlusts are get into the minuscule details of traveling just right. I guess that’s what passionate people do. There’s another bunch of folks who’re into lifestyle design or just want to break free from the daily mundane with alternative ideas on travel. And believe me, they’re all fascinating. So much so that I get inspired to travel and explore the world. I’m sure you feel the same way too.
After years of traveling reluctantly I think I can confidently say that there’s not right or wrong method to travel. In fact, I believe the best practices may not be the best for you. We’re all unique and the way we travel is strictly individualized to our needs. And as we mature, we just happen to become more efficient, nimble and smarter with going the distance. But that takes time and willingness to experiment and take risks.
I’ve had instances when I tried to pack minimally for a two-week trip only to haul back a piece of check-in sized bag from the Johannesburg airport. What a waste of money! Then there was another instance where I’d asked one of my ‘detail-oriented’ friends to help me with the itinerary. And she did come up with one, something that truly deserves an award for its meticulousness. Following it, however, made me so overwhelmed with emotions that I choose to spend two whole days at the hotel and read a book!
So, I’m not proposing any (or my) methodology here. All I ask is to pay attention to what truly makes you happy and go there. Ditch the recommendations and those suggestive blog posts about the 10 things you should do when you’re in some country. Instead I propose a solo activity (even if you’re travelling with your spouse or a group):
- Pick a free travel guide (or a paid Lonely Planet country/city guide) and invest time to read.
- Bookmark the places that appeal to you.
- Shortlist 3 places for each day you will be spending at your destination. Keep at least 3-5 more places in buffer. Just in case.
- Get acquainted with the routes and transportation options. Chart out how you would plan to go to each of the places.
That’s it! It’s the basic groundwork you can do to save time and make the most of what you have while traveling. Anything beyond this is simply an overkill. But if that’s you, you do you!