Do you set a schedule or play it by ear?

I cannot believe it is already Thursday! The new job is going very well and making the days just fly by. I have taught a least one cycle class a day since Saturday so I am looking forward to having two days off of teaching. Even more exciting though is that next weekend is our trip to Portland. Although our trip is short, I am so excited for our itinerary! I can’t help but have travel on the brain as Portland is the start to our next 3 trips for the balance of the year. So let’s talk travel shall we? It is Thursday so Travel Thursday it is..

Yesterday during lunch, I was discussing traveling with my co-workers (let’s be honest, I can talk about traveling all day). We were discussing how when traveling people have different ideas of what their typical day looks like. For example, my co-worker shared how her and her husband do not like to travel with their daughters. Their children like to do their own thing when they feel like it whereas the parents like to travel as a part of tour groups that have a set schedule. Of course that got me wondering how many people prefer a set schedule or itinerary when traveling rather than playing it by ear.

Schedule is my middle name 

My mother and husband will be the first to attest to my very detailed itinerary when traveling. Remember that 4 page Europe schedule Mom? 😉 Personally, I need a set schedule when I travel. I am that person who has “free time” scheduled on the itinerary. My plan usually includes a loose time guide based on where we are going/ places we are visiting, the times they are open / available and the best use of time and location. My itinerary takes into account the addresses (in case I can’t use GPS) and phone numbers (in case I get lost). I always want to make sure I get the most out of my trips so having a schedule ensures that I visit the places on my ‘must see list’ as well as allow time to add in items to the schedule during the trip.

Being flexible when plans change 

Of course, the schedule does not always go to plan. Despite my extremely detailed plan I poured over for hours to follow in Paris, the last day we were set to visit the Rodin Museum, it was closed. So sometimes, things do not go as planned. However, we ended up getting to walk through the beautiful streets of Paris to the Petit Palais which was one of my very favorites from the trip. So although the schedule does not always happen as it was intended, there have been wonderful places I have visited because my original plan did not work out. Whether you follow a set schedule or just go where the day takes you, it is all about being flexible and enjoying wherever you end up.

Most of the time, you will end up somewhere that you did not put on your plan or radar. However, this is the exciting part of traveling – exploring new things. Due to this, over the years I have specifically stopped planning restaurants on my itinerary. Although I may note one or two I would like to try, I have found the best restaurants are the ones I walk by during a walking tour or the ones I get as a recommendation from a local. Schedule or not, make sure you allow room for change in case your plans change while on your trip.

Tell me: Do you set a schedule or play it by ear when traveling?

Missed previous Travel Thursdays? Check out the Travel Thursday posts.

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