Subject: Planning
Hello Travelers:

This afternoon was spent in planning a trip to Scotland in the fall. It was an experience, so I became curious as to how others plan their trips. How do you do it?

The first thing that happened was that I forgot the Wifi card for my portable computer, so it was off to Staples to buy another one. Then I found that the new one was incompatible with the old (3 months) software, so I had to re-install the Wifi software and no matter what I do I cannot get the security to work correctly. So, at the moment my wireless web is operating without access security, but given my neighborhood it will take another generation for me to be concerned.

The next thing was that Jan spreadout the maps of Scotland in the dining room. They are taped to the walls, they are hiding the china cabinet, they are everywhere. Next she brought out all the books: Frommers, Michelin, Fodors and several other smaller publications that she finds on search and acquire missions often described as Honey, I am going to the supermarket.

Pens, highlighters and lined pads of paper come next. Then we tentatively lay out the route (the new Map & Travel software for Europe is invaluable for this) and it is off to the guide books to see what is along the route. Our companions arrive, lunch is served, some wine is poured and the planning continues. Along the route the what to see and the what not to miss are found in the books and on the web. A good part of the pre-planning comes from TheTravelzine where the experiences of others shape our decisions.

Next we lay out the timeline, in this case a couple of weeks in September. We booked the internal flights and will worry about the transAtlantic flights later.

We then find places to stay along the timeline. Some can be booked on line, some cannot. Frankly, those that cannot tend to be more quaint. In one case, we called only to be told, may I call you back in an hour, Luv, I am serving dinner at the moment. Two hours into this exercise, most of our places to stay are booked. Often the fun of a trip is the planning itself. The process gives us a good deal of respect for travel agents. We are tripping allover each other making suggestions and gathering information. By the way, for us a new BorgosanDaniele Tocai Friulano 1999 seemed to go well with the planning process.

But back to my original question: how do you do it?

Tom in Chatham at the moment.