Some Do’s and Don’ts of Trip Planning

Planning for this trip to the Exumas, an island chain in the Bahamas, has been quite crazy experience. It started a few months ago when I decided I wanted to learn to scuba dive. I’m not really sure how I got this idea in my head, but anyhow, I started researching places to go. My parents had dived in Bonaire before, so I began my search there. I had found hotels, dive shops, and other things to do on the island, and I was super excited! And then I checked the flights. There’s my first “don’t.” Don’t get your heart set on a destination and waste your time finding hotels and such before you check for flights! At the very least, do a quick scan for flights on the rough dates you’re thinking of traveling just to see if prices and flight times are good. This was not the case for me. Bonaire is relatively far away so travel times were long, and apparently it’s pretty expensive to fly there!

I continued to search for a destination, changing from Guadeloupe to Turks and Caicos to St. Maarten, and back again, and that’s just naming a few. There are a lot of things to consider when planning a trip somewhere—flight dates and times, prices, accommodations, how touristy is it there? are there interesting things to do? etc. And for planning a dive vacation there were even more—dive shops, condition of the reefs, is there shore diving available? and on and on. One thing to keep in mind is there is no perfect place! There are pros and cons to every destination and it is simply up to you to know your priorities and go from there.

Another thing: you never know what can happen between the time you book your flights to the time you actually get on the plane. I learned this the hard way. After finally deciding on the Exumas, booking the flights, booking the rental house, signing up with the dive shop…hurricane Matthew hit. Of course with our luck, the storm came from an unusual direction, and aimed itself right at our house in Exuma! We watched on the news as it came through, waiting for the island to regain power so that we could call to see if they were okay. When we did manage to contact the property rental people, they told us it would be unlikely that the house would be fixed in time. So suddenly we were back to square one!

For about a week we went back over our other options, and began to get really excited again about one of them, Turks and Caicos. And then the property company called us back! They said that they inspected the house and that it will be ready by the time we get there! At this point, we weren’t sure whether this news was good news or bad, because now we couldn’t use our flight insurance to refund our tickets to Exuma, and we had just gotten excited about Turks and Caicos!

In the end (after checking with the dive shop to make sure that wasn’t damaged beyond repair), we kept our flights to Exuma, and are hoping for the best. So in conclusion: Don’t get ahead of yourself. Do roughly check for flights early on in the planning process. Don’t get too frustrated when trying to find a destination, since there are always going to be downsides. Do be prepared for the unexpected, and don’t let something like a little hurricane ruin your trip!

 

Update: Because there is limited Wi-Fi here, I was not able to post this until a couple days into our trip. So, I’ll just end your curiosity about how things are going—it is great! The house is in pretty good condition and we are having lots of fun!! Be sure to check back later for some stories from beautiful Exuma!

Why People Love to Travel

Traveling is a concept that has been around for a very long time. If you think about it, most of our ancestors were travelers. Like us, they felt the need to do something new, to explore, and lucky for them, there was a whole “new world” just across the ocean! They packed their bags and set sail on an adventure that would completely change their lives.

So here we are today, wanting to do the exact same thing. Well, minus the part about pilgriming to a “new world.” But we do find ourselves feeling the need to explore and travel to places that we’ve never been. Maybe this history of travel has been embedded in our genetic makeup, maybe not. But either way, we humans love to travel.

Curiosity

Humans are naturally curious! It often gets boring to do the exact same thing every day, at your job, or at school. We are intrigued by things that we don’t know anything about. It might just be me, but exploring a place that no one else has ever been to, sounds like one of the best adventures possible! That desire to experience something that few people have, is part of what makes me want to travel. Being curious about what’s out there is a huge reason that people are drawn to traveling. And it’s a good thing! It’s good to be curious and to want to get to know the planet you live on.

Learning

Curiosity and desire to learn are two very similar things. We want to learn new things because we are curious! Learning about other cultures is incredibly important to developing a broad view of the world. My parents, having sailed around the world, met people from many different cultures, and learned about their way of life, sometimes a little of their language, and about their traditions. These learning experiences are part of what makes travel appealing.

Challenge

Many of us like a challenge in our lives. Usually, things are challenging at the beginning, and then become easier. Once that something becomes too easy, it becomes boring, and we crave a new challenge. Traveling offers a lot of different challenges, most of which I have yet to encounter, but because of the nature of travel, almost every day brings a new challenge of some sort. This lifestyle of unexpected situations teaches you a lot, both about yourself and about whatever challenge you’re encountering, and people love it!

Catching the Travel Bug

For the most part, people want to travel because of different, personal reasons—many because they’re sick of their job, they just finished a chapter of their lives, or maybe because they just read an article about a place that seemed interesting to them. All these reasons, and many more, are what start people on their travels. But more often than not, whatever reason you had at the beginning of your trip tends to fade away a bit, and then turns into what we call a “travel bug.”

This means that you are now hooked on traveling! I got this “bug” about a year or two ago, even without much travel experience. I started reading a few travel blogs, planning imaginary trips, and mapping out places I wanted to go. I began to add “stars” to Google Maps on my phone, to mark different destinations I want to travel to. Now, that map is covered with stars, and I have learned to accept the fact that I simply want to travel EVERYWHERE!