I am a crazy travel planner. I know this. I accept this. And I have no intention of changing my crazy travel planning ways anytime soon.
So, now that we've gotten that out of the way, why is it beneficial to be a crazy travel planner, and what exactly is a crazy travel planner?
My definition would be someone who takes travel planning to the next level in some shape or form. This could be:
- Color coding (I don't do this for every trip but I have been known to color code a time or two...or three)
- Planning every minute of every day (I don't actually do this but I do like to have a general list of activities I want to do)
- Planning wayyy in advance (guilty)
- Doing a ridiculous amount of travel research before a trip (also guilty).
- Making checklists (GUILTY AND I DON'T FEEL BAD ABOUT IT)
Others may have additional or different things to add here but for the sake of this blog post, this is how I define being a crazy travel planner.
Now on to the benefits. Why is this a good thing? And are there any downfalls? (hint: yes)
You often get lower airfare, which equals money saved
When you're a crazy travel planner, that means you're likely to start checking out airfare way in advance. I do this when I have fixed dates I need to work around, like a wedding to attend, for example. I'll start tracking the airfare in advance via alerts and then snag the fare as soon as it drops to a low level.
You have the time to build up points and miles
Let's say you're going somewhere during the high season and airfare will likely never be as low as you want it to be. Another option is to get the points and miles to take you there. When you're a crazy travel planner, you have the time to start working on this. Last year I had a friend's wedding in Italy that I really wanted to attend, so about two years ago I started thinking about how to get the points to take me there. And it worked!
You snag the good hotels before they sell out
There are some places and some times when the best hotels don't last, especially if it's high season and a popular destination. By being a crazy travel planner, you're more likely to grab these hotels before other not-as-crazy travel planners get them. I'm a big fan of doing this but only with refundable rates. I don't want to lock myself in with a non-refundable hotel reservation. My favorite hotel booking sites are on my Resources page.
You're likely to know about the cool events happening
I hate arriving in a place and finding out something cool has happened after it's happened (while you were there). It could be an interesting festival or performance that you would have loved to go to had you known about it. But now it's too late. When you're a crazy travel planner, you're likely to find out about these types of events in advance and can plan accordingly.
You're likely to get access to the cool events happening
Related to the above, sometimes we find out about events but it could be the day of or shortly before when the event is already sold out :( But if you knew about it way in advance, you probably could have gotten tickets to the event instead of standing outside hoping an extra ticket pops up only to leave feeling dejected and upset you couldn't get tickets (never happened to me...not at all...).
You have less anxiety and stress
Who wants to be stressed and full of anxiety? I'm pretty sure no one (or maybe just masochists). Whenever I plan ahead, I'm much calmer and in control than when I'm rushing around. Of course, things don't always go as planned but at least you're not as stressed out about it beforehand, so there's something to be said about that.
You're less likely to forget something
I hate when I'm in a hurry and feeling frazzled, mostly because I'm bound to forget something. It is almost guaranteed that in my haste to get everything together, something (or rather somethings) falls by the wayside. But when I'm being a crazy travel planner and making checklists that I meticulously go through, my chances of forgetting something and feeling frazzled goes down significantly.
You may be happier for a longer period of time leading up to your trip
Recent studies show that planning or anticipating a trip can increase your level of happiness and may even make you happier than the trip itself. So why not start planning earlier so you can get those happy, excited thoughts going earlier than usual? In other words, you are giving yourself more happiness by planning a trip further in advance. So simple, right?
You're generally more prepared
Overall, being a crazy travel planner means you're prepared. You have a good idea of what to expect in each destination, you generally know what you want to see and do and the steps to take to actually see and do those things, and you're ready to have an amazing and fulfilling adventure.
Of course there can be downfalls to being a crazy travel planner. As I mentioned earlier, travel rarely goes entirely as planned. There will always be a snafu so — perhaps confusingly — while I believe it's good to be a crazy travel planner, I also believe it's good to know when to roll with the punches and change course. You can't be a rigid crazy travel planner or you'll just go plain crazy and annoy everyone around you.
Another downside: you lose some of the spontaneity that comes with, well, spontaneous travel. I have friends who just book one-way tickets and go. They don't know where they're staying, what they're doing but they know it'll be an adventure. Being a crazy travel planner is basically the opposite of this, so if the former sounds more appealing, go for it. But if arriving in a new place without knowing where you're staying or going or what you're doing gives you major anxiety, I invite you to come join me on the crazy travel planning dark side.
Now that I've revealed to you my crazy travel planning ways, perhaps this will inspire you to find your inner crazy travel planner and embrace him or her. I promise he/she/we won't let you down!