The UnPlan

I hate planning to travel.  It makes me feel boxed in.  I love having unadulterated spontaneity.  But sometimes, you just have to plan for things.  Especially when air travel is required.  It’s a bit expensive, and sometimes risky, to just show up at the airport and buy a ticket for a trip 2 hours before the plane takes off.

Generally, it’s worked out well for us.  We had a bit of a hiccup recently when needing to take the bus from Agadir to Guelmim for our current housesit, though.  We had planned on an overnight stay in Agadir which is a much larger city, and also has a couple of grocery stores that sell things that can be more of a challenge to find in parts of Morocco.  Little things like, say, alcohol and bacon.  Not wanting to arrive at night and have to go looking for a hotel, I found a good deal online which required prepayment for our room.  Unfortunately, the next day buses were all completely full, so our only option was to leave that night.  Not only did I lose about $35 on the hotel room, but we arrived in much smaller Guelmim after midnight, and without accommodation.  Luckily, we found a place with two beds easily enough.  We had to share a bathroom, which isn’t a huge deal.  Of course, the bathroom was also a squat toilet, something I had managed to avoid in the last 1-1/2 years and during a previous visit to the Philippines.

Versailles, Paris, France

We have another housesit assignment scheduled for New Zealand at the end of March 2013.  This assignment ends mid January.  So, I’ve had to do a bit of planning since that involves not only a tighter window of time, but also needing to try to find places where the flights are less pricey.  Especially going to NZ!

Initially, we had considered going from here to Italy, or maybe even Cairo.  There are some great deals from Cairo to Asia, so that opened up some nice possibilities.  We both want to see the pyramids.  I’ve also read about cruising and staying on the Nile which sounds like a lot of fun.  Doing a river cruise sounds like a lot more fun to me than something like a transatlantic cruise.  You can also extend your time by staying in hotels or other lodging which makes things a lot more flexible.

Sacre Couer, Paris, Montmarte, France

France is a place very near and dear to my heart, and I’d really like to go there again.  Both of us also want to go to Italy.  Yeah, you probably see where this is going. LOL

Anyway, sometimes you have to pursue the cheapest path.  I did some searching and ended up finding a great airfare going from Agadir, Morocco, to Lyon, France.  Doing some further searching revealed we could spend a little time exploring southern France, then head north to Paris.  Tigger is excited to go there, and it’s a place that stole my heart many years ago.  I also want to go to Rouen, where my favorite saint was executed.

Since airfares can be so extremely reasonable in Europe, we’ll be able to fly to Italy and spend some time there before hopping on a plane and going to Malaysia some time in February.  We plan on spending about a month there before we head to New Zealand.  I figure we’ll be Down Under until at least the end of June.  Then hopefully we’ll head over to Australia for a bit and then return to Asia.

One of the things I’m really looking forward to next year is being in Thailand for the Yi Peng Lantern Festival, so that’s definitely on the calendar for November.

New Washington, Philippines

This is the first time we’ve had so much planned out for a year.  It feels kind of weird.  At least we only have basics planned, such as general locations during certain periods of time.  For the most part the rest is a giant, blank slate.  And that’s my favorite way to travel really.

How about you? Are you a planner, or do you prefer to go by the seat of your pants?

—In collaboration with

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  1. Oh, people keep asking us where we’re heading first (when we hit the road in our van in the new year) and we just smile and tell them we have no idea! I would hate to plan, Australia is a huge country and I just want to discover it as the inspiration strikes!
    So hoping to meet you guys over here next year. Yes, it’s definitely expensive here, but although I”m probably a little biased I would say it’s worth it 🙂 🙂 What month are you looking at being here? I’m not sure if we’ll still be in our house or in our van, but either way we’d be so happy to catch up and Tigger would have 3 kiddos to run feral with 🙂

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    • I love the looks I get when people ask how long we’re going to be somewhere, and I reply “I have no idea.” Then they ask where do we go next, and I usually have the same response. LOL They just don’t know what to do with it.

      We’re not sure if we’ll be there in March or around July yet. May need to skip it and come back because of the expense, but we’ll see how flights and the bank acct looks.

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  2. “…looking forward to next year is being in Thailand for the Yi Peng Lantern Festival, ”

    O.k. ’tis a date. I very nearly moved to Chiang Mai this year, but decided to remain here in Vietnam awhile longer (presently in my beloved Dalat.) But I too hope to experience the Yi Peng, so will either be living in CM or expressly visiting for the festival next November.

    See you then! 😉

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  3. When you get over ehere to Asia you will be tempted into planning more with the cheapo flights! I have held out though as I feel the same way about planning…YUCK!

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    • Oh man! Some of the sales have been incredible! Would be hard to not do SOME planning there.

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  4. Planning takes too much effort for me. And just seems to induce stress.

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  5. Meh, planning is definitely not for me. I’m much more of a “seat of my pants” kind of traveler and tend to make really brash decisions based on the weather. But when flights are involved, there’s definitely some degree of planning involved.

    Considering that I wasn’t so big on Egypt. I vote for the European route. Plus ending up in Malaysia would be fun and there’s real cheap flights from Malaysia to Australia (not to mention that Air Asia kinda rocks my socks off).

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    • That’s how we ended up with Malaysia being the choice before Aus or NZ. LOL When I checked flights, that was the best option.

      We’ll most likely save Egypt for some other time. Since we had good flights to France, we’ll still with some Europe and then hit SE Asia before going down under. 🙂

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      • You (both Talon and Aaron) might also check out Scoot airlines (Singapore Airline’s new budget line). I just returned from 3 weeks in Oz thanks to a <$300 ROUND TRIP from Singapore to Sydney.

        That said, know this: Oz is frightfully expensive. More so than the U.S., even Paris. I enjoyed my visit (mostly couchsurfing to save the hefty costs of even a hostel, plus the hop on/off Greyhound bus up the coast is a good deal). Then I blew all my savings on… a breathtakingly pricey flight and 2 nt. stay at Uluru. Seriously though. Worth every penny. But otherwise, (though I adored Sydney) imho, Oz is both overpriced and overrated.

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        • That’s one thing that has me dreading a trip to Oz. I’m hoping to get a housesit so we can spend more time there. Otherwise, we’ll be doing short visits.

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