Friday, September 17, 2010

Vacation vs. RTW

In less than seven hours my flight leaves for Edinburgh. Wow, where did the time go? It seems like just last week I was in New Zealand.

I've been crazy busy these last couple of weeks with trip planning and it got me thinking how different the planning is for a vacation versus a round-the-world trip. For one thing, I know where I'm sleeping every night for the next 14 nights (well, mostly; there's a night or two that's still up in the air). Transportation has been secured - in the form of a car rental. Packing is almost finshed. Boarding passes have been printed. And the soon to be famous Shannon L. Kirkpatrick travel folder of awesomeness is compiled.

[Aside: What? You don't know about the soon to be famous Shannon L. Kirkpatrick travel folder of awesomeness? Well. . .When I start planning for a trip, all of my notes go into a folder. These are notes on potential itineraries, comparisons of car vs. train travel, reminders of who I inquired regarding room availability, must do's or must sees, etc, etc. Then, once I start getting confirmations I put those in the folder, too. Everything is highlighted and in the order that I'll need it for easy access (i.e. flight confirmation followed by car rental confirmation followed by directions to hotel followed by hotel confirmation). Makes sense, right? It helps keep me organized and sane. I don't save these folders generally, but an added bonus is that if I wanted to add ticket stubs or a few favorite pictures or whatever, it'd probably make a good keepsake of the trip.]

Anyway, there's been no mention here of a travel folder before because RTW travel is a whole 'nother animal. When I was traveling through India or Thailand or Indonesia, I rarely knew where I was sleeping in two night's time, let alone two weeks into the future. I reserved a spot on a bus or train only hours in advance, if that. Packing was pretty much always done (for those quick getaways!) and boarding passes were something I got right before I walked through security.

It's two completely different ways to travel. One is more structured and one is more by the seat of your pants. You might not think that the same person could travel in these two different ways, but I honestly enjoy both and think there are pros and cons to each. It really depends on your trip goals.

What kind of traveler are you? Do you plan out each and every detail, or do you go with the flow? Maybe you use a hybrid of the two?


  1. I am definitely a hybrid. And you are right about that folder. (I got a peek, people!) It is very cool.

  2. Plan it all out kinda guy, but I will make spur of the moment changes when I feel like it.