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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Travel question: Are you a planner? Or is your partner?

I have a (sweeping and wildly generalized) pet theory that every relationship has one planner and one person who flies by the seat of their pants. With almost every couple we know, one person always takes charge of planning the trip—booking flights, scouting hotels, reading about the destination—while the other person is happy to just show up and see what happens. Do you think that's true?

Before we met, Alex would take trips that were virtually unplanned; he'd arrive in a new place and wander around exploring. Meanwhile, I’m SUCH a planner. Planning gets me really excited for the trip, so I plan embarrassingly far in advance. (Last year, our Christmas trip was booked by June!) I like debating places to stay and discovering restaurants loved by locals. Usually I'll create a Cheat Sheet with all the info together in one place. Alex used to tease me about it, but now I think he sees the method to my madness. Tell me I'm not the only one?

Interestingly, researchers from the Netherlands discovered that the largest boost in happiness from a vacation doesn't come during or after the vacation, but instead from the simple act of planning a vacation. According to the 2010 study, "vacation anticipation" generally boosts happiness for eight weeks, reported the New York Times, whereas after the vacation "there is hardly an effect." Furthermore, a U.S.-based study in 1997 found that "vacationers were happier in the period leading up to their time off than during the vacation itself."

I'm curious: Are you a planner? Or your partner? Or neither?
P.S. The weird thing we do on vacations.

(Photos of us back in 2008 in England. The last few were from my cousin's wedding, when were too tipsy to take a decent photo)

217 comments:

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Ridgely Brode said...

Oh yes.. I am such the planner and my husband comes along for the ride! Our family makes fun of me for booking trips almost a year in advance! I don't feel like such a fool knowing there are many more like me!

Dea Mattos said...

So true! I am definitely a planner...

Gennéa @ Towers Holdings said...

I'm the planner, the hubs rides along to swipe the plastic! ;) So true, I get super excited about 1-4 weeks before the trip. I also get really motivated at work!

Ellegra said...

you are not the only one, I am such a planner. I recently went on a trip to SF with my best girl friend who is NOT A PLANNER at all I think she bought her ticket a week before the trip. I had already looked up bus routes to the places we wanted to see, turned to the bloggers to tell me the fun loc al things to check out, the hidden gems of the city. I do it all the time. I think its better to have a general idea of things to do so that you arent in a new city thinking uhhh what the hell do I do now?

Margaux Achard said...

Haha I'm exactly the same! I planned our trip to NYC months in advance last summer, making cheat sheets for restaurants, shops, secret gardens, museums, etc etc, my boyfriend was really happy to just trust me and follow me to 'the best burger joint in town'!! I like travel guides and reading blogs advice and asking friends and locals.
It gets me so excited to plan these. Currently planning our Amsterdam trip for Easter, I started before xmas hehe.
I like being prepared! But I also like when my boyfriend takes me to an impromptu place, I always leave time for surprise plans!

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Shaye Manning said...

I'm a definite planner, but I do like to take spontaneous trips. Just the larger ones need to be super-planned for me to be calm about it. My boyfriend, on the other hand, avoids all that talk. He'd never go anywhere if it weren't for me!

Lion-ess said...

I'm the planner... My fiance and I will be eloping to San Francisco from London, UK in May. We will be staying there for a month afterwards. We've never been and so I find myself planning and researching things to do, even though we both decided to just go with the flow.

Lion-ess said...

I'm the planner... My fiance and I will be eloping to San Francisco from London, UK in May. We will be staying there for a month afterwards. We've never been and so I find myself planning and researching things to do, even though we both decided to just go with the flow.

Hena Tayeb said...

I am just like you... I am a huge planner. I planned our upcoming trip this summer to Turkey back in December. It's only three days long but tickets are booked, hotels are finalized everything done. Now I'm planning my brother's honeymoon. :) I love it.

Izzy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Izzy said...

Both, and I think it's quite vital to be able to plan and be spontaneous at the same time while traveling. It's important to at least put in some research into a travel destination ahead of time, not just to have an idea of what you're interested in and give your trip some more well-rounded purpose, but also to be aware of what is happening in that place you're visiting - not just showing up without even a basic awareness of cultural/ political environment you'll be entering.

I've traveled both unplanned, winging it completely and taking opportunities as they arose; and planned, following a pre-decided route and visiting things I already had a relative amount of awareness about.
From my experience, I had a better time overall when I had at least a few things planned or decided on before I arrived. If you're still flexible and open to new things, without regimenting yourself to a day-by-day itinerary, for me at least that makes for the best kind of holiday-travel experience.

Lilybyn said...

It's more like I'm the planner between me and my partner. I always plan and organize everything but my partner always takes care of the rest. He's the one implementing what I've plan.
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Joseph said...

Lovely couple GOD bless both of you and i would like to say, get flights to Islamabad from Heathrow to plan a marvelous adventure tour i am sure you haven't explore places like places in Pakistan.

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