Subject: Re: The value of travel planning
Don and Linda,

Let me be the first to present the contrarian viewpoint!

We have a very specific way of traveling. To us, the most important part of traveling is the planning # we don#t do any! That#s not quite true, we do pick the general areas we want to visit and we try to have a hotel picked out for the first night. After that, we go a lot by instinct and may change our complete itinerary on a moment#s notice.

There#s only the two of us and we try to travel outside the peak season so this doesn#t present any insurmountable problems. What problems we do encounter, we tend to take in our stride and accept as part of the fun. On a recent trip to France, we didn#t definitely rule out going into Germany until we were actually on the plane.

Nor do we use guidebooks. For us, the greatest joy of traveling is the happy accidents when we stumble across something we hadn#t expected or discover a little out of the way hotel. I'm sure we miss things that we might have enjoyed this way but we also find things that we would probably have missed. For the recent France trip, I did a little research on the Dordogne valley (about 2 hours on the internet) and found one chateau that seemed worth a visit and a good candidate for the first hotel (and we ended up not using the hotel).

Our daily lives are way too structured. The whole point of a vacation, for us at least, is to have as bigger change from that as possible. We can roll out of bed in the morning and decide we aren't going to to a damn thing all day except sit in the café and drink coffee. Or we can decide we don't like the weather here and drive 600 miles to where it's better. Or we might not do either of these things. Having a detailed itinerary would just restrict us - It's Wednesday, today we HAVE to visit the Louvre.

> - Time and money are precious and to waste either due to poor planning can be a disaster.

I can't say I've ever had a vacation I considered a waste of money or time. A vacation isn't the time to maximize efficiency - that just puts pressure on you and pressure is the very thing you go on vacation to escape.

> - Time spent planning gets you involved to the point where it becomes an add-on to the trip.

Or it takes over the trip.

> - The biggest challenge facing travelers is choosing a destination and designing a proper itinerary.

The nearest we get to that is booking the flights. That constrains the first &last days and pretty much limits us to a continent. Other than that, we try not to place any constraints on ourselves at all.

> - We feel that in planning travel we have enriched our lives.

Traveling has enriched our lives. We can't imagine anything more fun that going over the next hill to see what's there. If we already knew what's there, it wouldn't be anywhere near as much fun.

> Ziners, we're looking forward to a thoughtful discussion on the value of travel planning.

Hope this helps! We realize that many people will disagree with us but that's OK - it would be a boring world if we all liked the same thing.

Terry &Kathie Richards http://home.earthlink.net/~terryr999/