Ah, Europe. The continent I’ve wanted to see for sooooooo long. Finally, I get to go this May for a luxurious month.
Now, people travel in many different ways (and I won’t even bother going into details about how different travel methods will affect your research), what I will say is after trying many different styles of travelling, I’ve finally found my style: Strolling with a purpose.
I have to say, it took many trips abroad, and many trial and errors for me to arrive at this point. I’ve tried not doing ANY research and just wing it. I’ve tried following excel spreadsheets (no kidding) that categorises NYC into food, sight and shopping. And I’ve definitely tried going with the guidebooks, that brought me (along with some sheer dumb luck) to the most amazing sushi restaurant I’ve ever been to in my life thus far. I’ve loved some aspects of those methods, even the spreadsheets. When I’m armed with spreadsheets worth of info, I’m not afraid of anything except for the single fact that I won’t be able to draw them out and put them back quick enough to pretend to be as a local.
This time, it’s a little different. I went nuts with the researching (FYI, I love researching for holidays) and the information gathering, and there’s no such thing as going to far for research you guys. I’ve literally asked everyone who have been to Europe for their itinerary; even the locksmith that works with me. I really love to hear stories about how people discovered a charming cafe in the corner of London; or how they happened upon the best bakery in Paris.
So what am I trying to tell you here? Stay with me, there’s a point here I promise. But first! A fun fact from Captain Obvious, everyone travel & plan their travels differently.
No doubt, everyone consider their way to be the best way to travel but some plan their trips around shopping, while others plan around eating. Here’s a fun and short anecdote: I turned up to NYC armed with information from my friends and their friends, then I traveled to 2 restaurants with raving reviews listed on this Bible of spreadsheet, and it was closed down. Was I devastated? Sure. Was I pissed? No. I should have checked if I really wanted to go.
That’s the point folks, regardless of what information you get (unless it’s a museum or a volcano which are unlikely to be relocated), check it first before you travel thousand of miles to see it.
One of the challenges I’ve had so far in my information gathering stage is for Iceland. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t a shortage of information out there; but during the research, I realised there are so many suggested information that doesn’t apply to me. Whether it’s the route, or the number of days required, or even the time of year, some things just don’t apply to me! Then I decided there was only one way to do this: the old school way.
So I printed a map and comb through all the information to get to a somewhat reasonable plan for my 4 Day road trip in Iceland. While I can’t tell you what’s the best thing to do, I thought I’d share my version of how I plan my travels.
The absolute first thing I’ve done when researching is marking all the locations I’d like to see, then I’d travel to a district a day and spend the entire day slowly meandering through the streets and gaps. Perhaps I might not get to see everything I intend to, but at least I’d get to see parts of London really well. And maybe it’s just me, but I feel more relaxed knowing that I don’t have to rush from tourist attraction to tourist attraction.
Then I move onto something with a little more detail. Since all the Europe ones are still work in progress, I’ll show you something I’ve made a little earlier: NYC.
Sure that’s going a little excessive, but when travelling to places like New York and London, I have a serious case of FOMO; so I let OCD self run wild and colour code my spreadsheets. So in about few weeks I’ll probably update you with more information I found about Iceland, but until then, I’ll be mapping out Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin.
So that’s it. I hope now that I’ve shown you the maps & spreadsheet, it may inspire you to plan your own adventure. Then come back and we can talk about why our own methods are better.