Thinking about how my upcoming Christmas trip to Prague, Vienna and Budapest is slowly but surely starting to take shape reminded me of the Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith line from the ’80s TV series, The A-Team. I’m probably really dating myself by admitting that show and quote comes to mind for any reason whatsoever, but as the proverbial they say, “It is what it is.”
Now that flights have been secured, hotels have been reserved and a few other logistical details have been considered and are awaiting confirmation once train/bus schedules for December are released, I’ve moved on to researching options for how my son and I will spend our time in each of our destination cities. Per my typical travel planning style, I love to read about what most consider to be the highlights and must-sees of each city we’ll be visiting. I certainly can’t say that the pre-trip planning is half of the fun for me, as the actual travel itself is disproportionately more enjoyable than the research leading up to the trip. That being said, learning about my upcoming destinations does provide distinct enjoyment as it not only lays the groundwork for the trip itself, what I read also provides me with background and history that will enrich not only the vacation, but also my knowledge base. What can I say? I am a nerd, and I wear that badge of honor (or is it a bozo button?!) with pride.
Since no one resource or destination expert’s opinion could possibly singularly properly guide others’ preferred activities whilst traveling, I tend to scour ad nauseum a vast array of sources which outline what to see and do in each of the cities we’ll be hitting this winter.
While I love to stray from the set plan as I randomly encounter the unexpected during my travels, I can’t imagine going back to the completely haphazard travel style of my youth. Needing some semblance of a schedule largely correlates to the fact that my time to explore my destinations is extremely short with my limited vacation time, as opposed to the leisurely month long trips back in the days when vacation time was not a consideration.
As I devour a wealth of information from websites such as Tripadvisor, Rick Steves, Fodor’s, Frommer’s, Lonely Planet and other sites that are specific to my destination countries and cities, I’ve been outlining a general game plan for how we will spend our days to try to make our time as efficiently scheduled as possible to avoid frustration and allow us to see the must-see sights as well as have plenty of time to veer off course and see what kind of surprises we can encounter along the way. I recently discovered Tripomatic which allows you to save details for each segment of your trip and provides a good deal of destination data that it retains in your trip plan. Tripomatic also includes interactive functionality that seems like it could come in handy while traveling.
At this juncture, I have a good general idea of how we’ll allot our time in Prague, and once my son has the chance to do his homework in between his ROTC obligations, we’ll be able to incorporate his wish list into the plan. Now, I’m working on the Vienna and Budapest plan. Tomorrow marks four months out from travel date. December seems so far away, but the way that time flies by, it will be here before we know it. So much to do; so little time…..