I generally try to plan my trips ahead so that I can spend time at my destination actually enjoying my destination. Depending on the purpose and my goals for the trip, my plans can be very detailed and specific or loose and full of options. Hotels are carefully reviewed, restaurants are vetted for my vegetarian preferences, and points of interest are noted for their hours of operation, proximity to everything else and price. Sounds like work, but I enjoy it because I know the payoff is huge!
I try to condense it to one or two pages and email it to myself for quick reference on my phone or iPad. Adding telephone numbers and addresess make life easier, as smart phones will quickly hot link an address into your navigation or one-click a phone call right from the email! Below is an example of a recent trip plan.
Last fall, I drove my son to Raleigh NC for a wedding and we took the opportunity to visit NC State campus while we were there. I wasn’t attending the wedding so made the most of my free time!
Here’s how my notes looked in roughly the order I would need the information:
La Quinta Inn Greenville Woodruff Rd
31 Old Country Rd
Greenville, SC 29607 (we split the road trip in two with an overnight stay en route)
I-85: exit 51 to Woodruff Rd. west.
Confirmation Number: xxxxxxxxxx
Check-In Date: 10/06/2011 NC State Campus Visit – 10 AM Friday
1210 Varsity Drive
Free parking is available in designated visitor spaces in front of our building.
For directions, click here or call 919.513.1200 for additional information. Clarion Hotel State Capital(NC376)
320 Hillsborough Street,Raleigh,NC,27603-1786
Confirmation Number: xxxxxxxx Friday night:
First Friday http://www.godowntownraleigh.com/ http://camraleigh.org/2011/09/october-first-friday/ Saturday
8am Meditation Walk
http://www.meetup.com/trianglemeditation/ Cafe Helios
(food, coffee, wifi, music)
413 glenwood ave.
saturday: 7:30 am – midnight
sunday: 8:30 am – 10:00 pm Raleigh ReStore
2420 Raleigh Blvd
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Sunday http://www.ncagr.gov/markets/facilities/markets/raleigh/index.htm Saturday 5:00am – 6:00pm
Sundays 8:00am – 6:00pm
I did try Cafe Helios and it was great! I also met up with some Meetup.com folks for a gallery walk and dinner. They introduced me to a fantastic veg-friendly place called The Remedy Diner. Then met another group the following morning for coffee and twitter lessons and an impromptu walking tour of downtown Raleigh. Highly recommend John and the gang at Explore Raleigh for great tips on what to do and where to go! Also took some time to explore on my own, though I didn’t make it to the state farmer’s market this time.
Having my notes ahead of time didn’t ruin the spontaneity of the trip, it enhanced my enjoyment of it because I didn’t spend hours online or wandering aimlessly trying to find things I wanted to do. I left Raleigh really feeling like I had gotten to know it and I made a few friends in the process!