To Plan Or Not To Plan?

That is the question on all soon to be travellers lips!

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I thought it would be a good idea, whilst we are on the count down to our next trip, to reflect on the most recent spout of travelling I (Steff) did back in 2017. Although this was my first longer term travelling, it was by no means my first time to SE Asia! I had in fact been to Thailand twice before and Bali twice before! But all times during 2 week holidays!

3 months at the time seemed long enough to satisfy my needs (and it also was the length work would let me take as a sabbatical) – as I later found out, 3 months was by no means long enough, not to satisfy my needs any way! But it was certainly more than enough to get a good amount of exploring done, especially if like me (at the time) you only have a short window!

I pre-planned the first month and the reasons behind that were A. I am a bit of a control freak and B. My mum was joining my friend Fran and I. And as I was left as sole organiser it took a lot of pressure off having the first month mapped out!

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Mum & Fran on the Mekong River, Vietnam

In that first month we visited China and Vietnam, we spent 12 days in China – 10 of which were part of an exhausting tour and then roughly around 20 Days travelling through Vietnam. The first 10 were also part of a tour (which was completely different to the China tour! In fact it was the complete opposite!) and the last 10 days in Vietnam were spent chilling and travelling between Da Nang – Cham Islands – Hoi An and then back down to Ho Chi Minh for mums flight back to the U.K. but we’ll get to the details a bit later!

My total route consisted of the following;
China – Beijing- Xi’an – Shanghai (Suzhou) 12 Days
Vietnam – Hanoi – Halong Bay – Hanoi – Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh – Da Nang – Cham Island – Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh 20 days
Cambodia – Phnom Penh – Kampot – Sianoukville (Otres Beach) – Siem Reap 10 days
Indonesia – Jakarta – Yogyakarta – Ijen Crater – Ketapang – Bali (Seminyak, Jimbaran, Nusa Lembongan, Ubud, Canggu) 30 days
Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur – Perenthian Island – Penang – Kuala Lumpur 10 Days
Croatia – Dubrovnik – Hvar – Split 7 Days (Where Ells and I met up!)

Knowing what I know now… I probably wouldn’t have planned quite so much of the first month! I mean it was definitely good to have the two tours planned, but then the last 10 days in Vietnam, we spent a lot of time going backward and forward between places we had already been. Where as if I had left the last 10 days unplanned we could have been a lot more flexible and open to suggestion to other places to go!

The rest of the trip was basically left until a few days before to book somewhere and on a couple of occasions, the night before. As some places we only stayed two nights at a time! This meant a lot more flexibility as to where we could go (based on recommendations ) and by only booking a maximum of two nights at a time it gave us the option to move on, if we had seen that we wanted to see, or extend our stay if we wanted longer! I found this a lot more satisfying and didn’t leave me with the feeling that we were wasting time at a place that we maybe still had a couple of nights left to stay!

I know that it can be tempting to book stuff as you get closer to your departure date, trust me – I’m struggling to stop myself from booking all of our hotels for everywhere that we are visiting, it’s exciting I know! BUT it’s good to have some flexibility!
I mean don’t get me wrong, we’ve got the first few nights in Australia booked, our camper van booked and the flights from one country to the next and also the first 4 nights booked in Bali. But other than that the rest is all being left for when we are there!

I would recommend that where ever you are planning on going, book your first few nights before you get there so that after that long haul flight, you know you’ve definitely got somewhere to rest your head and get over that jet lag, but after that just go with it. I mean of course you can research the hotels/hostels before you go, like I am doing. And obviously have a route plan mapped out, but try to keep it “open to suggestion” as some of the best memories are made by doing the most unexpected things!
So ultimately, leave the booking until just before, so that if you decide you do want extra time somewhere you are able to do that and aren’t constrained by having to be somewhere else by a certain date!

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#travel #travelling #traveller #backpacking #backpacker #worldtravel #travelblog #lgbt #lgbttravel #lgbttravelblog #nomad #globetrotter #packing #vacation #leaduptotravelling #blog #planning #plan #travelplanning #travelplan

We’d love to know what all you other Travellers think of planning? Is it something that you live by? Or do you just go with the flow? Leave a comment below to let us know?

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