Plan it or Wing it?


I completely missed out on the opportunity to travel straight after university when my friends decided to go and see the world – well, South East Asia and Australia.  A mixture of my relationship status at the time and severe lack of funds left it as a missed opportunity and a vow to see as much of the world as I can, one holiday at a time.

I am a week away from my next adventure, New York.  Both myself and my girlfriend are especially excited as it’s somewhere we both wanted to visit and due to her excellent deal hunting on Groupon were able to put together a trip away for a reasonable price (£450pp for flights and 5 nights accommodation!).

I recently discovered that I am not built for ‘travelling’ in that I don’t really enjoy living out of a suitcase/backpack, being somewhere a couple of nights and moving on somewhere new.  Don’t get me wrong, I like to explore – I just do not do well with constant upheaval.

I discovered this new personal trait the last time I was in the states with a friend.  We drove across America from Chicago to San Diego (Via Nashville, Memphis and Vegas), a really bastardised version of the route 66 drive.  It wasn’t until we got into San Diego and all the driving was over and we were waiting for our Great White Shark diving experience to collect us I could properly relax. I grew irksome as the drive wore on.  Again, the same thing happened when the same friend and I went to the Philippines for a couple of weeks.  even though we were on an island (Borocay) that could be walked across in 5 minutes (at its narrowest point) we hopped over the island looking for accommodation that was affordable and habitable.

However, both the trips above had one thing in common – a real lack of planning.  The U.S trip we had pre-booked our hotel in Chicago, a White Sox game and our accommodation (hostel) in Nashville. Everything else we booked the night before in the preceding stop.  We only really planned our stops along the way – and even then we skipped one because the mid-west was so incredibly dull.  Indeed, Borocay Island was even worse – we saw a picture of White Beach and decided that was a place we needed to visit, that was it! no forethought about what we were going to do and what the island might be like and what else would be good, just pointed at a picture and said “We’ve gotta go there!”.

This brings me on to New York. I have taken it upon myself to plan our stay to a great extent.  This means we won’t waste time out there, looking up what to do when we could actually be doing it; it means that we can fit in lots of things to do whilst we’re there (we don’t know when we will be back);  researching means we can go to great eateries (and bars!) we want to visit because we already know about them and finally I get a sense of my bearings before visiting.

The last point is especially important for me personally.  I’m not great at rocking up to a place I don’t know and getting to know it. I need to plan these things – even when I’m going somewhere new in the UK, I will plan my trip, where I’m going, what’s around where I’m going and take a good hard look at Google Street View!

We have a week to go and I’m heading off knowing what we’re doing, the days we’re doing it, where we’re eating and when and how to get from all these point A’s to point B’s. I’m not saying I’m going to rock up like a returning New Yorker knowing what’s what, but I am going to turn up with a comfortable understanding of what’s going on and how to get about to places I want to get to, which for me will take a great deal of stress out of what will be an incredible trip.

I will do a complete review of our time out there as a featured article, but I am looking forward to our well planned trip away.


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