Saturday, June 30, 2012

How do you vacation?

I was talking to a friend recently about her vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  I mentioned that if I had known she was planning on vacationing there, we could have rented them our timeshare, which is a very nice property.

April then said that it was a last minute trip, as most of their trips are.

That got me thinking- what is your style of vacationing?

For me, I need to have at least a month of planning.  I prefer multiple months.  For instance, we're going to Disney World (again) with my in-laws in October.  I've known since March or so that they wanted to take the trip and I've succeeded in getting myself named Trip Planner.

For me, that includes research on the parks (again), research on dining options (again), planning out which park on which day to visit, stopping by the Florida Welcome Center for coupons and brochures (mostly coupons).  When we went to San Diego, I had an itinerary for each day with what we wanted to do, addresses, etc. 

Now, don't misunderstand me when I say itinerary.  It did not read like this:

9:00am        Get up
9:01-9:06     Bathroom Break
9:07-9:09     Brush Teeth
9:10- 9:20    Breakfast

Instead, it was much more like this:

Saturday: La Jolla, Old Town
Sunday: Point Loma, Coronado, La Jolla
Monday: Los Angeles, Anaheim Angels Game
Tuesday: San Diego Zoo
Wednesday: Disneyland
I actually tend to be very laid back on vacations, but I do like knowing what we are going to do each day.  I feel it helps us get everything we want to do done, without cramming things in on the last day or visiting on the very worst day possible.  I knew in Disneyland what we *must* see that was different from Disney World and where to eat (because of large portions and the ability to split meals).  I knew little trivia about certain rides- for instance, in Disneyland "Pirates of the Carribean", they used to use all real human skulls, because they were cheaper than buying fakes.  One skull in the ride is still real, it's the one over the captain's bed.   I like knowing that kind of thing.  I'm a nerd. 

If I have to, I can plan a vacation in a week. To just up and go? That would likely kill me.  I have to hunt for the deals, check groupon and living social for anything we want to do, get my tip sheets and itinerary ready, etc.   I have to coupon my way to my vacation.  Once there, the stress disappears.  A few days in San Diego we even finished up with what we wanted to do with half the day left! In that case, we flirted with flying by the seat of our pants, just up and saying "Well, let's go get Sprinkles cupcakes!"  One day, we went to Palomar Mountain then drove the length of the coast down to San Diego just to enjoy the views.  It was completely unplanned but lots of fun.  Thanks to my daily planning, we had the time to do that without stressing we wouldn't be able to squeeze something else in.

I'm not saying one way of vacationing is better than the other.  I can definitely see the appeal of just going and enjoying! I'm not wired that way though. 


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