just how much trip planning and research is too much?

Today I watched a TV programme with Prunella Scales and her hubby, on a boat in the backwaters of Kerala and it got me thinking:
– Should I have even been watching this?
– When I visit the backwaters will it feel new, given that I know what it looks like?
– Have I planned and researched too much?

With five weeks to go until we’re off on our travels I’ve been playing that difficult game of trying to do some research without doing too much.
Just for info my personality test results put me well in the ‘likes to plan stuff’ category which makes not over planning quite difficult.

why do any research at all?

It’s simple, we’ll be time-limited whilst on holiday, we only ( 😀 ) have four weeks.
Four weeks might seem like a long time but there’s only so many holidays this length I’ll ever be able to take in my remaining years, which is a strange thing to say for someone still (albeit just) in his forties. So I need these weeks to count, there’s a lot we want to see and do.
Being a happy-go-lucky-carefree-itinerary-less traveller appeals to me far more than an it’s-Tuesday-we-must-be-in-Kochi tourist, but our reality is we can’t be both.
Or can we?

could we go without an itinerary?

Yes, of course, we could arrive in Mumbai with a rough idea where we want to go then try and organise travel to our next destination, once we’d thought of somewhere.
Or we could arrive and try to immediately book a flight to Chennai for a couple of days’ time.
We could also try our hand at booking some trains when we’re almost ready to move on, but I know with trains in India we are unlikely to be lucky unless we settle for the lowest possible classes. One of the biggest issues would be getting so far away from Mumbai and then not being able to get a return train or flight to arrive in time to fly home from Mumbai.
Knowing us we’d probably only get to see a few places, mostly close to Mumbai.

could we plan every day to the max?

Yes, of course, but it would turn us in to the tourists I have no desire to be. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been that tourist and I’ve had great times. I’m not sure how I would have managed the three african safaris I’ve done without being that sort of tourist.
With today’s internet and online payments it could be very tempting to plan every single day, its activities, where we’ll eat, trips we’d do. Doing this would mean our time-limited holiday would be full and we’d waste no time whilst away. Sounds tempting but no, this isn’t for us.

an acceptable compromise

I think we’ve come up with a good plan.
All travel is booked, many hotels are booked, especially in time-limited or hotel-limited areas. We’ve got a rough idea of some of the things we’d like to see and do – as without this we’d have no idea how many days we wanted in each place – but only one activity has been planned for a given date. Well, I say planned, we think we might do it on a certain day, but we might not; I guess that’s not really planned either then.

and the research?

Research of the places we’re to visit has been difficult to keep a lid on. On one hand I can’t wait find out information so I can decide whether I want to visit a place, on the other I want the discovery to be amazing, fresh and new.
Even though I’ve planned much of the trip I know very little about each place, just roughly what’s there and what people say is good or bad.

But will I be able to keep it like this?

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