What we’ve learnt
When it comes to trip planning I’d like to think I’m a relaxed, go-with-the-flow kind of person – and I am sort of… as longs as I’m in control of the flow!
In reality, a well researched “here one day, there the next” kind of plan makes the holiday run smoother. You see more of the country (no aimless bumbling wondering “where next?”), and there is a much happier Jenny on board!
Our first major holiday together saw us drive over 3000 miles around central USA in less than twelve days. Crazy? Yes. Wonderful? Yes, but I’m not sure Ian thanked me for the 600 miles slog I planned the day after our friends wedding!
So, a few lessons learnt off the back of this (not to mention having heaps longer this time round).
I wanted to ensure that we saw as much of New Zealand had to offer, whilst not driving round like complete hooligans all the while! My planning goes a little like this; research all the “tourist” spots, bus tours and not so “hidden” wonders of New Zealand; throw them altogether on a map, and start putting together our own route.
Cue the spreadsheets! Once I had a rough idea in mind, I created a spreadsheet. I set up headers for the date, from/to, distance, activities, and cost. Then backed this up with a more in depth day-to-day analysis on a written page.
I included possible campsites for each day, shopping stops, trips we would need to book ahead, and trips we could get away with booking last minute on various “deal” websites. I got over excited with highlighting cells, showing which activities we’d paid for, which ones were booked that needed paying, and days where we would need to do a certain activity to keep to THE PLAN, but had not yet been booked. Geeky? TICK! Here’s what it looked like:
The best laid plans…
For activities I’d booked ahead, I checked and double checked I’d got the right date, time, month, year – everything! Or not, as the case may be, as one evening I received an email advising us to be at the start point in fifteen minutes – panic ensued.
I sent a hurriedly composed email back explaining that we weren’t even in the country. Mortified, I barely slept that night, in the knowledge that I’d effectively just washed the best part of a £1000 down the toilet.
So imagine my delight at the owners response of “no worries, we’ll just swap you onto the right date” – talk about customer service!