But for the Grace of Rick Steves

19 Jul

i·tin·er·ar·y: A detailed plan for a journey.

When building an itinerary for your trip you must keep in mind the definition of the word “itinerary” includes the word “plan”. There’s two popular sayings that come to mind when I think of “plan”. The first is that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I’m probably far more guilty of over-planning at this point so let’s skip on to the next saying. This one is from John Lennon or at least that’s what my brain tells me. Life is what happens to you when you’re making other plans. Go ahead and plan, kids. Just expect that it’s going to get changed, messed up, twisted and completely disregarded.

Perhaps just a tad more planning next time, cherie?

I personally like to know all my options and then just play the cards as they lie. At least if I choose to skip a certain museum I won’t kick myself for missing something because I never knew it was there. Each opportunity has a cost, I think. If you decide to forgo the fancy restaurant you’ll miss the exquisite creme brûlée but perhaps you’ll get to watch someone eat fire while you eat cheese. Who is to say what is better? Well, you are. That’s why trip planning can be both a thrill ride and a giant dose of blargh.

I’m on my fourth draft of our schedule and I’m sure it won’t be our last. Every inclusion means something’s else goes kiddywampus or falls off the truck altogether. That’s the beauty of it, I guess. That’s also why people hire travel agents (they still do, right?)

All I know is that I have my little system and it’s always worked for me. If you want to borrow it that’d be fine. Heck, if you just want to read about it that would be fab, too.

First, make a list of everywhere that you’d like to go. We are talking as if money, time and modern travel options are not at question here. Then figure out how many days you have and start cutting. Rearrange. Cut again. Then get out a map, some websites and a jolly attitude and try to make the logistics work. Forgot that that castle is only open on weekends? Start over. Forgot to budget in time for being lazy? Snake eyes. Keep rolling the dice and keep plugging away. The more time you have to bungle this the better your luck may be.

At the end of the day you can say “screw it” and spend the whole trip in your hotel eating strawberries but at least you’ll know some of what you are missing. There is something to be said for a happy dose of diving in and having a first aid kit. Have fun out there.


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