Thursday, February 21, 2019

Travel and Planning - Part 2

In Part 1 of this series of posts, I was kind of all over the board with what I wanted to talk about, so I'll try to remind myself to keep each of these posts a little more on point as I come up with little things to discuss under the topic.  I think I'll try to break down steps I go through when planning for a trip since I'm currently doing just that for my trip to Scotland in April and it might be easier to write about it as I actually do it.

Once I've decided on a place I want to travel, the first thing I like to do is jump online and read other people's travel blogs about the area if I can find any.  It's usually a great place to start to find any pointers about things to do and see, and maybe what should be avoided during the trip.  Depending on where you are going, there could be tons of posts about people's journeys and it's a great way to start figuring out a plan for the trip when you go.

I know that seems pretty straight forward, but I'm always surprised how many times I will talk to someone about their travels and hear them say that they had no idea where to go or what they should see when they got there.  A quick Google search is always the first thing I do just to even see what my options might be.

As I read about peoples trips and information they share, I keep a document open on my computer that I use to take notes on any interesting sounding locations mentioned, and I will usually also rate those as "must see", "see if there is time" etc.  Those notes usually help me come up with a basic plan for what I'd like to see and do on my trip as well. 

When traveling to a country like Scotland, there is so much history, so many castles, beautiful scenery, etc that it can take a while to read up on much of it.  I think I had two pages of notes by the time I decided to jump to my next step.

That next step is to then open Google Earth and start searching for all those places I've made notes on and adding a placemark on the map for them.  Just seeing those places pinned on the map can do wonders for helping you figure out what is going to be possible to see on the trip, and the locations you'll just have to set aside for next time.  If you just wanted to plan a trip to see all of the Castles in Scotland, you'd have to give yourself at least a full month, maybe two if you wanted to spend any time at each one really exploring them.  So yeah, sometimes you just have to make those tough decisions on the things you have to skip and that is really where Google Earth comes in so handy for me.

When you zoom out on the map, you can quickly see pins of items that are just going to be too far out of the way to see, no matter how beautiful or cool they may be.  The one advantage of doing it this way is it takes some of those hard decisions out of your hands and allows you to narrow down the things you still have to choose from.

I'll talk a little more about that in the next post, as that's right where I am now while planning for my Scotland trip.

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