If you’ve ever taken a trip beyond the end of your block, you know some degree of planning is required. The magnitude of planning is exponentially increased when four different languages, four different currencies, and multiple weeks are involved. When planning a trip like this, there are two primary strategies.
- Identify a tour that meets your interests and needs. Pay once, pack, show up. (Despite internet deals, I still maintain travel agents are the best resource for this.)
- Plan it yourself.
- Scan every used book sale for travel books on the places you want to visit. Succumb to paying full price at a local bookstore.
- Months in advance, turn your dining room table into part research center, part negotiations table, part depot for all materials related to search.
- Eliminate countries based on time, visas needed, cost, and politics between our president and theirs.
- Evaluate regional options of travel between trains, flights, ferries, and car rental. Compare schedules, costs, mileage, time, then remember the stress on the driver and the navigator over the fiasco with the car rental in Germany. Scrap that possibility.
- Map distance of lodging choices to subways, but stops and train stations.
- Order new glasses and a neck brace to alleviate the strain on both as a result of copious amounts of time spent on the computer.
- Plan your wardrobe to fit into a carry-on suitcase, realizing that you will need maximum speed to run down the train platforms and hoist your bag up the narrow steps just ahead of the train’s first lurch.
- Begin a fitness routine to ensure you have the durability for the extra walking you’ll do each day, trying to locate sights on your list.
- Watch every fricking Rick Steves’ video on the cities and countries you’ll visit. Then maybe neighboring countries as well, for good measure, just in case…
- Learn and practice the pleasantries in the various languages. Things like please, thank you, where is the restroom, how much farther, when do I get my phone call and of course, not guilty, your honor.
Kathy and I will be embarking on another adventure later this summer and of course, the practical option is #1. Fortunately, we both feel practicality is still over-rated (though I’m getting there much faster than she is.) Museum tickets, lodging reservations, trains and flights have all been booked. We even have one meal reservation made, because we’ll have one window of opportunity for this special meal and I don’t want to miss it.
The only thing I have left to do is make my index cards for each county with common phrases on one side and the currency conversion on the other. I know there are apps for that, but I’m too old school. And the index cards require no charging.
Wish us well. We’ll report along the way so you’ll have to check back to see where we are on our Keep on Trippin’ Tour, 2018.