8/29/2014

Wanderlust

Definition of wanderlust:

I never expected to have wanderlust but I do; every journey adds another facet to the world as I see it. I'm drawn to different cultures, historical treks back in time and reconnecting back to nature. That being said, I'm anal about planning my trips: I plan down to the minute and provide contingency plans. 

2014 has been a fruitful year in terms of travel: I visited South Korea with friends, returned to Siem Reap with my man, and organized the department trip to Lombok, which is relatively unexplored territory among my peers. In addition, I've about 9 days of leave to use before the end of the year so I'm making plans for Hanoi and Bangkok! 

I generated a map via Interactive Visited Countries and I can see that I've a lot of ground to cover - literally!

So far, I learned that the following factors come into play when I plan a trip:

1) Traveling companions
I'm not one to travel solo, partly due to security. I also like some company and camaraderie on my vacations. I suppose one day I should indulge in a solo trip but at the moment, it just seems like a better idea to travel with someone. However I do believe you should pick travel companions based on the nature of the holiday and their personality; beware the make or break holiday!

2) Budget
I am willing to spend more for the experience; there's no point traveling somewhere to stick to cheap options. I have a yardstick for different regions and I cross check with others to get a good gauge on the budget that I've calculated. I find myself paying attention to advertisements on holiday packages to get a feel on the expected cost. Also I'm sharper in checking out the fine print and the T&C for hotel/packages. 

3) Itinerary
You don't want to squeeze too many things to meet the budget; similarly, you should try optimize the time you have. I always start with itineraries provided with Frommers; it's free and can be comprehensive, depending on the place you want to visit. Then I do my own research on the attractions I want to cover and the geography of these places with each other before I settle on an itinerary. 

4) Expectations
I set reasonable expectations for each trip. I ask myself: what do I expect to gain from this trip? What is the theme of the trip? History? Adventure? Relaxation? Once I set an expectation, I design my trip to meet that expectation. If I'm there for relaxation, I won't include energy-consuming activities unless it is practical to do so.

There's so much to see and to do out there, it's a humbling feeling to know that you don't know all there is to know or what might come your way. I target to have 2 - 3 trips a year because it's fulfilling and I learn more about myself after each trip. So don't ignore that wanderlust: give in and let go! :D

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