Sunday, February 10, 2013

Travel Planning

With several centimeters of fresh snow this weekend, adding to the nearly 60 (two feet) we already have, it might be hard to imagine that summer is actually approaching. Okay, that’s true as well for the following winter, and the summer and winter after that, and on and on for eons, so maybe it’s best not to get too carried away with squinting into the future.

Anyway, it’s not too early to start making travel plans for the summer (especially if that involves searching for affordable trans-Atlantic flying). In fact, for some of us it’s never too early. I’m an inveterate travel planner. I love mapping out routes for possible future road trips or dreaming up places to visit one day. Somehow, my wife doesn’t always see the utility of detailed planning of trips that we’ll probably never make. She doesn’t appreciate the recreational value of the planning itself.

Okay, maybe she has a point, but in reality I waste spend most of my trip planning energy only on real trips. Or at least trips we might actually make. This year, a large part of our summer plans are already settled, with two brief “city” trips booked, thanks to special airfare deals Finnair was offering before Christmas. (We try to pounce on discounted offers wherever they pop up.) We made a similar short trip last year to Berlin, which turned out to be a great place to spend a few days.

This summer, at least part of our traveling will have a decidedly Eastern European favor, with visits to Czech Republic and Poland, both new countries for me.

Right after school lets out in June, we will take a three-day trip to Prague with our daughter and one of her friends. Then at the end of the summer, we travel to Warsaw for four days. I’ve wanted to see Prague for a long time; it has a great reputation for well-preserved (not bombed to bits in WWII) 18th-century architecture (Milos Forman’s "Amadeus" was filmed there). And I bet the beer is good. Warsaw, I have less of an impression of, but there is always plenty to see in most large European cities, and I’m sure that’s also true for Warsaw. In any event, I have before now and August to look into what we might do there.

Short “city trips” are always nice, but I’m also hoping for a bit of the American open road. In the summer, my wife usually attends some professional conference, sometimes held somewhere in North America. Naturally enough, these meetings have often formed the nucleus of family trips, especially if the meeting is held in some interesting or scenic spot – and usually conference organizers seem to make that a priority.

This year, one conference she might attend will be in the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, in fact at the same place we visited almost ten years ago. So, we possibly have a Utah/Colorado road trip in the cards. We’ll see. If nothing else, I’ll be flying over to the States for a wedding, so I’m assured of spending some time Amerikassa at the height of summer. At least that’s what I’m planning. 


  1. Wow! Sounds like you have a great summer planned!

    My wife and I love to plan our vacations. We get a HUGE kick out of the planning. The more detailed the plans, the more we end up enjoying the trips. It's also great to be spontaneous...but knowing you have a place to stay, food to enjoy, and things to do makes for a much more relaxing journey.

    My nephew (who works for the DIA) was in Prague not long after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the relinquishing of the Soviet-dominated countries. He took many photos in the city and it is, indeed, indescribably beautiful. I'm sure you'll have a grand time of it there.

    1. Nowadays, we usually do a mixture of more detailed planning and "play it by ear". Our walking holidays lately have been like that, plan out the bigger details, then decide from one day to the next where to walk on any given day. On our past road trips we didn't always plan so much, and there were some memorable episodes of driving miles and miles in the dead of night looking for a motel with vacancy. Not fun.