Going on vacation always sounds easy. All you need to do is take time off of work, then check for a nice place to go to. You can have a look at glossy travel magazines, talk to someone in a travel agency or hunt for your vacation online. Your choice of destination might be influenced by your own experience, by another’s recommendation; you might have taken it on a whim. Good for you!
Up until now, it was a nice task. You are looking forward to your vacation, your time to relax. But in the end, is it relaxing?
This is the stage at which my inner, hidden German always wants to break out. Plan all the things! Create a checklist, and, just to be sure, create a checklist that you included everything on your checklist. A few years back, this was how I planned my most needed time off. I was one of the people that were holding a binder at the airport; in it all necessary documents for the planned journey: passport, hotel reservation, car hire info and so on. Everything needed to be printed, everything had its place. And, looking back at what I had done in the past, it honestly was not that relaxing.
Then, I moved to Ireland. Well, first I came to Ireland on vacation, which already showed me a glimpse of a different style. As stated before, Ireland works different in many ways, and this does not stop at vacation. While it is a country that heavily relies on visitors, more often than not planning something is an afterthought. In the last seven years I have travelled Ireland from north to south and from east to west; only once I had booked something in advance. Even during the summer vacation season, there is always a B&B around where you can turn in for the night, to continue your travel the next day. And even if your chosen location does not offer any rooms, they will just know who to ask.
I remember that on one trip with my father we were looking for a B&B around Kilkee/Kilrush, and we were turned down five or six times. This normally is the step where people start panicking. You could see that this was already happening to one of us. Luckily, we were always referred to the next B&B though and the last one even went out of their way to call multiple B&Bs around to find a place where we could stay. Needless to say, we had a few drinks at their pub to make up for the time they spent on the phone for us.
What I want to say here is that, while having everything planned out can be great, you might miss out on the more interesting moments of life. Sure, I could have phoned my preferred B&B to make a reservation, but that would mean that we have to be there at the given time. If we had wanted to stop 100km later or earlier, our booking and probably some or all money would have gone to waste. That can induce stress, at least it does so for me. Having the freedom to stop where I like it, and find something close by is in my mind well worth it not having a pre-made booking. In turn, you lift the pressure of an itinerary that dictates your next steps. You are in charge. Just be prepared not to be prepared. 🙂