To Plan or not to Plan

Vacations serve many purposes, don’t they? Some people use them to escape daily drudgery. Others need a different environment to relax and unwind. Expanding horizons and experiencing different settings might be a third motivation for vacationers.

In my mind, a vacation is for relaxing. I do find it easier to relax when the responsibilities of home aren’t staring me in the face. It’s great to experience new things and see a variety of flora, fauna, landscape and personality, as well.

Apparently, I demand a multi-purpose vacation. The question is: does vacation demand forethought and planning to be successful?

Again, depending on the purpose of the vacation, the answer to this question varies. Some people can’t relax if uncertainty hangs overhead. Those people need a plan.

I’m a person who makes a daily list of priorities. I relish making a slash through each one when I complete it. Here’s my list for my upcoming vacation:

  1. Relax
  2. Sit by the pool
  3. Walk on the beach
  4. Relax
  5. See the sunrise from the mountain
  6. Shop
  7. Read a book on the beach/by the pool
  8. Relax
  9. Eat plenty of fresh fruit
  10. Relax

This is what I consider an unplanned vacation (and my idea of a true vacation). It contrasts wildly with the list for our trip to Disneyland in 2011:

  1. Go to Disneyland
  2. Ride the Star Tours attraction
  3. Go to California Adventure
  4. Be sure to see the evening show at least once
  5. Go to Disneyland
  6. Go to California Adventure
  7. Head to Universal Studios
  8. Check out the stars in downtown Hollywood
  9. Go to Disneyland and California Adventure
  10. Sit by the pool

I consider that trip, and most of the trips I’ve taken with my family, a planned vacation. There were sights we wanted to see, places we needed to go and specific things we desired to do.

Coming up is a week in Maui. I don’t want to make plans. Planning is synonymous with the life I’m trying to take a vacation from. If I plan, I won’t relax and I want to relax – it is number one through ten on my list.

What’s your thought on vacationing? Are vacations more successful when they are extensively planned? What do you consider a “planned vacation” versus an “unplanned vacation”?

3 thoughts on “To Plan or not to Plan

  1. When I vacation, I try to go a place I haven’t been before. So, since I haven’t been there, I research and find out some things I think me and my hubby and/or kids would like to do. Then I usually buy tickets for those specific things, on a specific day. I don’t usually plan out minute by minute, and I definitely leave some days of no “plans” so we can just explore and see what else there is.

    1. I think this is the best way to vacation. I’m looking forward to not having to be entertained every second (which is something my sons like) on our upcoming trip to Hawaii. Like you, I wouldn’t want to miss something fantastic because I didn’t do some research before I went.

What do you think? Add to the discussion here.