Post # 1
How far ahead of time do you schedule excursions, tours, and restaurant reservations for a vacation when you’re not staying at an all inclusive? Did you plan before you left for vacation or did you take it day by day?
We’re heading down to Turks and Caicos next week and I came up with a list of things I would like to do. DH was supposed to have his last this weekend but still hasn’t written one up. He tells me we should just take it day by day which is fine for the most part. However, I really really want to make sure we get to go parasailing and there are two specific restaurants I want to go too but DH doesn’t want to commit to a certain day for that stuff yet. Also, most excursions say to book at least 24 hours on advance so we do need to plan a bit.
I certainly want to make sure we have time to relax but I’m an organization/excel spreadsheet freak. Should I just calm down and go with the flow? I just want to make sure we don’t miss anything!
How far in advance do you plan? Or don’t you plan? I’m a traveling newbie if you can’t tell 🙂
Post # 3
@MrsBeck: If I’m just going to the Caribbean, then I don’t plan at all. There’s plenty of time to sign up for stuff when you get there and then you can choose based on your mood rather than set out plans. If I’m going to Europe, I tend to plan where I will go and what I want to see. Europe is my “travel time” and the Caribbean is my “relax time.”
There’s no right answer – do what is in your comfort zone. If you’d feel better having it planned out, there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
Post # 4
if you know specifically what you want, i say book ahead. then you are guarenteed a spot on the excursion or restaurant.
we went to italy for our honeymoon. we wanted 2 days trips. one out of florence to see tuscany and one out of naples to see the amalfi coast. we booked both the day before we wanted to travel and didn’t have a problem.
Post # 5
- Wedding: October 2013 - Vine Street Church
Depends on the vacation. Usually, the only things I plan are transportation and accommodations, but for one of our vacations last year, the only thing planned was the train to NYC and the train back to Birmingham — we found hotels through an app and caught whichever train went from Philly to NYC or NYC to Albany and vice versa.
For our honeymoon, I’ve planned all five flights and three train rides as well as the car rental. I have a general idea of where I’d like to stay, but I’m keeping it open because of all of the options available on airbnb — we’ll make our decision a couple of weeks before the honeymoon with accommodations and just take care of transportation now.
Post # 6
It depends on what type of vacation it is – sightseeing or relaxing. We just got back from Europe for our honeymoon and we had planned out everything in advance. Not crazy stuff like schedules for each day or anything (unless there was a particular activity we had to reserve in advance), but we generally knew what we wanted to see and where we wanted to eat everyday. This is what I normally do for big vacations like that just because its so expensive and such a hassle (long flights!) to get and stay there. I want to make the most of the time we have. Depending on the restaurant I will sometimes make the reservation before we go.
We’re going to Hawaii in September and other than a couple of activities nothing will we planned. We’ll just go with the flow, take our time and relax. I would book excursions in advance just because in the past we have waited and they were completely booked or only had certain, inconvenient times available.
Post # 7
@MrsBeck: The only time we ever make restaurant reservations is if we’re staying at an All Inclusive that requires them. Otherwise, we go with the flow. The same goes for excursions; we will research and see what appeals to us, and make sure we budget for them, but we never book anything until we get there, as sometimes we change our mind (the one exception to this was when we were staying in Punta Cana and wanted to visit Santo Domingo for 2 nights; on that occasion we booked the hotel before we travelled).
If we’re doing a city break, then we usually plan in advance depending on the length of the trip; for example, I visited Paris for 1 night and 2 days with my girlfriends and we wanted to see as much as possible without being exhausted, so, we planned carefully and made sure we knew opening times, the nearest metro station, etc etc and planned an intinerary. It worked really well and we managed to pack in Saint Chapelle, the Notre Dame, Berthillons ice-cream parlour, the Scare Coeur, cocktails and dinner, a food market, a photo op at the Eiffel Tower, a cruise down the Seine, a picnic in a park, and a stroll down the Champs Elysee with a photo op at the Arc du Triomphe.
Post # 8
If I have a traveling vacation I’ll plan it out a bit more. Where do I want to go? What do I want to see?
I’ve never made a restaurant reservation. I feel like I’m limiting myself too much just by doing hotel reservations but that’s just me
Post # 9
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@MrsBeck: If I know it’s going to be busy or there might be issues booking then I book things before I leave. Check with the resort to see whether they’re super busy right now and bookings are likely to fill up. If so, make a few reservations just to be safe, they can always be cancelled or changed but if they’re booked up, you’re stuck.
Post # 10
@MrsBeck: We don’t plan in advance but that’s just the type of people we are. If there was something we reallyyyyy wanted to do we might make a reservation in advance but that’s happened maybe one time.
Post # 11
I’m like you where I like to plan things, but my husband also doesn’t like to get locked into things.
So, we compromise. We make reservations for the our things we absolutely don’t want to miss. For our honeymoon, for example, we definitely wanted to go to this particular luau that tends to sell out, so we reserved that event ahead of time. But then we left ourselves several days that were sort of open to what we felt like doing.
We’re going on a trip to Vegas next week after Thanksgiving, and I’m having the same dilemma. I want to plan but I also don’t have any idea what might strike my fancy once we get there. So for this trip, I think we might have a list of things we want to make sure we do but not actually buy tickets/make reservations till we get there because we figure we may stumble upon some things there that could change our plans!
Post # 12
I like to plan and have a itinerary set. But I also only go on site seeing on the go vacations so planning is must for me to fit in as much as I can. For a beachy destination without many sites to hit, I probably wouldn’t bother planning anything.
Post # 13
FI isn’t much of a planner but I am a project manager by trade. We plan things in advance like when to go to museums, reservations at restaurants, and other activities, but we also make sure that we can cancel the day of if we want to. Some things require 24 hours to cancel, and that is fine with us.
I would say make the plans you want so that you don’t get shut out when you arrive. If you have to cancel, you cancel! NBD.
Post # 14
Thank you all for your feedback and advice! I think we will avoid restaurant reservations except for thanksgiving as we read that those book up pretty quick (must be mainly Americans visiting during that week lol). I think I will only plan one day of stuff to make sure we get to go parasailing and we’ll leave the other days open. Unfortunately, many of the companies require some kind of deposit when you book so I can’t plan on just canceling things. Perhaps I’ll look around for companies that don’t require a deposit and book them so we have the option of canceling. Thanks again bees!!
Post # 15
@MrsBeck: Have an awesome trip!!! 🙂
Post # 16
@MrsBeck: I plan everything in advance, especially as we have a toddler so child care needs to be organized. There are so many excursions with different time and day offerings that you don’t need to plan in advance though. I always check for best prices online, in which case planning ahead is required, maybe a week or two in advance to get all the price checking done?