I’m a planner. My whole life, I was the type of person who meticulously researched a destination before I visited, ensuring I knew every possibly awesome thing I might find, dividing the city into quadrants and attacking what to do with vigor. This isn’t to say that I scheduled to the minute – no, I just made sure that I was as educated about the place as possible, and that I had my list of priorities. My least favorite post-travel experience would be the inevitable “Oh, did you go here?” to only be met with my blank stare, so I always did my best to do absolutely as much as possible while traveling, relaxation be damned.
My significant other and travel companion, on the other hand, ascribes to the much-espoused “adventurous” travel tendencies. “Loosen up”, he’ll say, “travel is about experiencing and the best experiences happen when unplanned things go down”, etc. etc. Basically, one would think that planning may ruin the essence of travel, and exploring by the seat of your pants is the way to get down overseas.
Problem is, I love a good hotel, and I need to know where I am going to lay my head down that night at the start of every travel day. I’ve done the hostels, I’ve begged for a room in a tiny french b+b, I’ve narrowly missed a train and put the rest of my trip in jeopardy.
Yes, these stories are funny, evoke giggles, and are great cocktail fodder, but what is never remembered fondly is the fretting, the fear, and the sheer amount of time spent worrying. Ironically, when you press many “anti-planners”, they often admit that they do research, they consult books, and they too wish for nothing more than a roof above their head and a full belly.
Luckily for me and my travel companion, we’ve found a happy middle, as we’ve decided we actually completely agree. We want adventure, we want great stories, but we don’t want to spend our entire trip dominated by room-bartering in a foreign tongue. He indulges my insistence on planning around lodging, and I leave my to-do list at home. As a result, my stress level has decreased, and I’ve been known to take a last minute turn in search of the next great cocktail party story.