1) It’s fun to make your own trip plans! You get to be your very own travel consultant.
There are few better ways to spend an afternoon than looking at all the options you have available when you want to travel to a fabulous new location. The Internet provides soooo many resources and pictures and reviews that you can literally spend dozens of hours finding just the right accommodations for just one trip. If that’s your idea of a good time, then you are just like me – you think this is fun! If you want to make travel plans to Italy, check out the Rick Steves Italy guide; if you want to plan a trip to France, try Lonely Planet France; if you would like to explore your Irish roots and make trip plans to Ireland, start with Frommer's Ireland. There are guidebooks and maps and internet sites for all sorts of travel and it is so much fun to explore them all. Check out TripAdvisor and see all the reviews and forums on the places you want to see! They are unending! You really can be your own travel consultant for Europe. The only thing better than anticipating a trip, in all its details, is actually traveling to the places you planned and finding out they exceed your already high expectations.
2) You get to day dream about traveling to places half way across the world.
Each time you plan to go someplace you can literally imagine yourself there! You get to decide exactly how much you want to spend, how you want to get from A to B, where you want to eat, when you want to take a break and what show or museum you want to visit. If you are the planner, you get to anticipate your traveling companions’ needs and desires while you are planning and take all this into consideration as you make itinerary decisions. You have the chance to imagine how much fun you will have with your friends and family going all the places you chose personally. It’s like giving a Christmas gift day after day. Daydreaming about your travel plans is pure joy. It removes you from the worries of the day and takes you to a totally new place, in your mind.
3) You save lots of money planning a trip on your own.
You literally can save thousands of dollars by planning your own trips. Depending on where you want to go and what you want to do, you can create custom travel itineraries based on your personal research, knowing what you like best. When you save all that money that just means you’ll have funds to travel again another day! You are paying only for what you want to do and nothing that wasn’t personally planned by you. I think saving money is a great thing. Save it so you can spend more on a splurge here and there that you really want to experience. And remember, sometimes the simplest pleasures while traveling cost very little. Some of my very best memories involve hiking and picnicking on left overs from the day before. Now, I might buy a new bottle of wine for an end of trail celebration, but many simple travel pleasures don’t cost anything – like the conversation you might have asking directions from a local person and laughing about the language barrier. That doesn’t cost a penny!
4) You learn about the history and culture of the places you are traveling.
When you are researching your own travel plans you have the chance to really dive deep into the history and the culture of the place you are traveling to. You have this opportunity whether you plan your own travel or someone else does – but if you are doing the planning, you have a vested interest in learning about your destination. This is vital to really experiencing the culture and if you read a lot while making your plans you don’t have to go out of your way later to find information about the places you will be visiting.
5) You can help your friends with their trip plans when they want to travel, which is really rewarding.
If you plan a trip for yourself or your family, you are better equipped to give friends travel advice and reliving your trip is great joy!! Making memories is what travel is all about!! I can’t tell you how happy it made me to get a picture from some friends who traveled to Sienna, Italy and the Amalfi Coast recently. They sent pictures of themselves in the places I recommended. They attached a picture to an email and all they said was “We LOVED IT!” I can’t even describe how much pleasure that brought me.
So plan your own travels!! I highly recommend it!! And of course, if I can help point you in the right direction or if you simply don't have time to plan your own custom trip itinerary, I’m just a phone call or an email away! Let me help make your travel dreams come true!
On another topic, please tell me what you ‘d like me to write about. Here are some ideas: different places I’ve been; best food experiences; most delicious wine; or resources for finding good, trusted information. Is there something else? I’d love for you to send me your suggestions. In any case, please give me some comments – tell me what you like, what you don’t like and what you’d like to see. I’d love to respond to your comments and make this conversation a two way street!