I promised last week to tell you more about how I do my travel planning. Not sure if it is for everyone — maybe only the obsessive compulsives out there in blogland, but it works for me.
We actually have an overall travel plan, going out as far as 2020! Really! The idea is to alternate between travel overseas and here at home. So this year, we are off to France (Monday to be exact) and next year we will go to Seattle, Portland, Vancouver and points northwest. Here’s the rest:
2016 Ireland and Scotland with a bit of England thrown in; 2017 Nantucket/New Brunswick; 2018 Buenos Aires/Uruguay; 2019 (not sure, yet); 2020 Baltic Cruise and Eastern Europe.
We figure by 2020, we’ll need more of a cruise type experience and some kind of tour.
So, you can see, I am a planner!
I am continuously collecting articles about the places we want to go (and a few others, just in case). I keep a folder marked “travel” and just stick them in willy nilly. About a year out, I start a specific folder for the place that is next on the list and move those articles into that folder.
At the same time, I start to look for blogs and email posts about the area we are going to. For instance, for this upcoming trip to France, I started to subscribe to Provence Post, Our House in Provence, Tongue in Cheek, Belle Provence Travels, Mais Oui Paris, French Word A Day, I Prefer Paris, Paris Missives, HIP Paris Blog, and I watched out for posts about Provence and Paris on regular blogs.
Design Sponge is one my favorites for gathering information about travel. She produces an online guidebook to numerous places throughout the world, focusing on design, architecture, restaurants, shopping, things to see, etc. All my favorite things to see/do on vacation. In addition, the extensive comments provide even more information.
I also start to subscribe to a magazine about the country, if that is possible. About a year ago, I started subscribing to Cote de Sud (in French about design, architecture, places to go/see in southern France), and France Monthly, which is a British publication. I got lots of good ideas about what to see and do from these magazines, particularly about things the average tourist might not come across. I only continue the subscriptions for the one year.
For food, I ALWAYS look at Chowhound to find places to eat. I’ve talked about Chowhound before, but it is my absolute guarantee great place to find out about restaurants. Literally, we never leave home without it.
For where to stay, we rely on VRBO and HomeAway to find apartments in the cities, towns and villages that we will visit. We found our 10 bedroom complex, Logis du Bourg in Grillon, Vaucluse, Provence on HomeAway. It took months to find, because we needed someplace with lots of bedrooms and lots of bathrooms — and we needed to find something we could afford. Not that easy, but we did it. And starting early made all the difference.
Here’s some photos of Logis:
Below is the village next door, Grignan, and “our” garden in Paris, the Palais Royale. Planning definitely pays off!
A bientot, mes amis. I will be blogging from Grillon, Vaucluse, Provence, France next week.