Do you guys usually have a pretty set itinerary for the big trips or do you just play most of it by ear? I think the first few days or so should be planned but I'd like to do the rest as I go if possible (especially since most of my trip will not be high season).
Half and half. I plan the basics and leave room for some spontaneous stuff, too. I find that, personally, if I don't plan I end up wandering around aimlessly for days--not good if you only have a few weeks off. Guess it depends on your personality. Experiment and see!
I know roughly where I want to go and how I'm going to get there, but not how long I stay there. If I like it I'll stay a bit longer, if not I'll move on, and if someone suggests somewhere else I should go to, then I try and squeeze it in somewhere along the way! I'm not afraid of flying, but I like to try and go everywhere by bus, train or boat as it makes the experience that bit more special. The journey is just as important as the destination!
I plan everything. I'm a freak.
Have a strong Plan A. Then make back-up plans, have a Plan B. And then when you get there, follow them very loosely. just keep them in the back of your head and play it by ear.
depending on the people you meet and your current situation things may change completely. but at least you will have a Plan A of things you really want to do and a Plan B in case things aren't working out how you imagined.
Always know your options so you have something to fall back on. This is basically what I do with my entire life.
I just have a rough idea of where i want to go and how to get there.
Used to plan everything, down to dinner , but the reality is that once you're there plans just fall apart, so no point planning everything down to the minutest detail really, you definitely will find that things are quite different on the ground. (I learnt this from experience - threw my detailed plans away 2 days after i got there). Anyways if you're gonna be away for months, its really going to be quite a hassle planning everything.
Plan the first few days if you're unsure how the place will turn out to be, its always nice knowing that once you get in a new conutry theres a place you can stay and some things you can do while getting used. But after that, just have a rough itinery, know your transport options and places you want to see and let things flow and you'll find that you'll be more relaxed and less stressed about things like if the bus doesnt turn up (which is alot of times in SEA) for example.
I'm a planner too. I tend to have a plan for where I want to visit and when I'll be there but I leave what I'll actually do in that location until I get there. And I also leave a few days spare at the end of the trip so if I want to stay longer, I can.
I'm a bit of a "do-it-cheap" freak, so I need to plan. The cheaper I want it the more I need to plan. I leave plenty of room for spontaneous actions (I can almost always change my travel plans on a moment's notice), but I absolutely need to figure out prices for hostels, train tickets and entry to sights in advance and plan my trip accordingly.
Ive gone from being a planning freak to letting things evolve!! Yeah sure plan the major stuff but then let the rest just fall into place. Have a rough guide in your head but then just go with the flow - you never know what might just happen!!
I think a little bit of research before hand alleviates some stressful situations, but this is my first time traveling so I don't know for sure. I have the mindset to organize and plan ahead for everything day-to-day, but I've decided against it for my trip to Europe. I figure I will probably compile a list of options for places to stay in each city as an easy way to see where I need to walk to... but by no means will I plan and reserve anything except my first night. I'm not worried about getting around because I am traveling with others. If I was going solo, I would probably feel better with more preparation.... but part of the excitement is not knowing where I'll end up.