Planning Your Trip?

rock climbing tripSchool’s out or it soon will be, and it’s time to plan your summer trips… or is it?

The first decision you have to make is how much you want to plan. Some of us like to know exactly where we’re going and what we’ll find there, while others prefer to hop in the car and follow their noses.

The picture here is from a trip to Little Rock City, in Tennessee. Not only did these climbers plan their trip and their accommodations, but they’re planning their approach to this bouldering problem, too.

“If you’re going to spend time and money on a trip,” one said, “you want to make sure that you get the most out of it. You don’t want to spend most of your time wandering around hoping you’ll find something good.

Another traveler told us she just didn’t like changes in plans. “It’s stressful for me,” she shrugged. “I like to know where I’m going, what it’s going to cost, and when I’m going to be back.”

These travelers should use maps and guidebooks (we have plenty at Uncle Sam’s) to plan out their routes. Find and reserve accommodations, check with each person who’s going with you, and create an itinerary that suits everyone.

On the other hand, some travelers like the serendipity of exploring. They may like to have a rough destination but keep their options open for what might happen along the way. Sure, you’ll hit the high spots, but what if a roadside sign beckons you to try fresh cherry cider, or a local person tells you about a great climb most people don’t know about? For these people, the possibility

The hard part is when your travelers include both kinds of people. “If there’s any possibility for conflict,” said one experienced traveler, “traveling together will bring it out.”

The best plan is to face the differences and discuss it beforehand. Work out the itinerary — but agree to leave some open time for surprises. Having your trip scheduled down to 15 minute increments works for some, but will make the un-planners in the group feel stressed. Leaving everything open (including where you’ll stay and when you’ll leave) will stress out the planners.

Compromise is possible… and may save both your trip and your friendships.

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