How Not To Plan Travel

This post is so I can look back and laugh or relearn from my mistakes.

It started simply. Begin with a few days in Kyoto, finish with a few in Tokyo, maximize diversity of experience in between. Finding places and experiences of interest between Kyoto and Tokyo was fun and easy. I had a plan, including train fares and some lodging possibilities.

Then I got stupid. Here is the short version of more planning days and hours than I’ll admit to:

– Discover an unexpectedly delightful-sounding destination (UDSD). Toss out the plan for the days between Kyoto and Tokyo.
– Add nearby Hiroshima.
– Add places between Hiroshima and Nagoya.
– Drop Hiroshima.
– Drop UDSD after eventually realizing to do it as I wanted would take 2 full days and lose two half days coming and going.
– Add Hiroshima and either Himeji or Okayama to plan.
– Life is good.

– Discover second unexpectedly delightful-sounding destiantion (UDSD2). Start the route plan over because this one could be done from an afternoon to the next morning. But it’s out of the way. 2 hrs out of the way. That didn’t stop me.
– Consider altering Kyoto plans.
– Consider dropping Hiroshima. (I gotta stop using that verb in connection with that city)
– Drop UDSD2 after eventually realizing that fiting it in required dropping at least one of the things I now considered ‘musts’.
– Break for a few days to let the frustration dissipate.

– Realize it’s been 10 days. Begin attempt to assemble something from the mess.
– Realization happens: Categorize the mess into ‘Musts’ and ‘Almosts’.
– Add 1 day to Takayama that will likely be used between Hiroshima and Nagoya.
– Finish plan that now seems so obvious.

This blog’s ratio of words to images is often too high. Does this help?

There are several car company museum and plant tours available. Toyota is my first choice, for 3 reasons. The traditional museum is considered the best in Japan, Toyota has 2 other museums near by, and the most intense fun I’ve ever had alone in a car was doing autocross in my 2001 MR2 Spyder:


3 Responses to How Not To Plan Travel

  1. adriandavao says:

    Yup, I can identify with “more planning days and hours than I’ll admit to”. Have forgotten how many times I have done that. At the end is a simple spreadsheet with places dates and so on. But the WORK involved has always been substantial.

    • Four Letter Nerd says:

      I’ve seen one of your end result spreadsheets but don’t remember if you also do the planning in one. A spreadsheet makes the work easier but it’s not the ideal tool. Don’t know what is. Maybe a Gantt chart. Maybe a travel planning template for a spreadsheet.

      Easiest way for me to grasp the plan is to see the simplest version as a calendar. I use Google Calendar but it’s a pain to modify. What I want most is a tool that creates a calendar from these data with one click: 1) Arrival and departure dates for a town, 2) Dates in a town, 3) Dates with lodging booked, 4) Arrival and departure dates and times for transport, 5) Dates where I have my only shot to do or see something, 6) Holidays affecting tourists. Each of the 6 would be in a different color.

      Google Calendar has an API. OpenOffice spreadsheet has a calendar. Maybe I’ll give it a shot if I can first find or make a spreadsheet template that works for me

    • Four Letter Nerd says:

      Oops, forgot another thing I’ll try next time I get stuck. I’ll post my objectives and draft itinerary, or portion of the itinerary, on a travel forum and ask for help. Have posted completed itineraries before to see if I missed any ‘gotchas’ or ‘must sees’ but never to say ‘HELP!’

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