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Vail Mountain
Map of Vail Mountain

For many of us, planning a journey is a joy. We love to research the destination, find all the fun things to do, and envision ourselves having the time of our lives. For others, the planning is just a time-consuming chore that is necessary to get to the vacation.

To make this easier, let’s break down the steps to planning your next journey. Today, step one.

The first step is to determine the requirements of your journey. Ask yourself a few questions, and jot down the answers:

  • What is the purpose of your trip?
  • Why are you traveling?
  • What kind of activities do you want to participate in while you’re there?
  • What are the “can’t miss” items?
  • How long do you anticipate the journey to last?
  • What is the initial budget for this trip?
  • If it were perfect, describe what makes it perfect.

The point is to become more aware of why the trip is being taken and what makes the trip a success. Try to get a sense of the desired activities to help determine the eventual length of the trip and the costs.   Writing down the specifics makes it more real.

Spreadsheets can be helpful to record these observations. Spend a few days creating this record. Look it over, update it, and add to it until you’re satisfied all of the activities are there. Once it’s all down on paper, it’s time to prioritize.

My initial notes look something like this for a ski trip:

Purpose of trip:
Family ski trip in the Rocky Mountains.
Estimate Time Spent on this activity
Special Equipment?
Est. Cost per day/hour/activity

Can’t miss!

 5 full days
 Skis, boots, poles, outerwear
 Lift ticket: $120 per day per person
 Ice skating
 2 hours over one week
 ice skates, outerwear
 $20 per hour ice time; $5.00 per person skate rental
 3 hours over one week
 Snow tube, outerwear
 $10 tube rental per person

Of course, this is only a short example.  I might add “Spend an evening at the fine dining restaurant with my spouse.” No special equipment needed there!

At the end of this exercise, you’ve created a list of requirements for your trip. It may not be possible for this journey to meet all these requirements, so the next step is to prioritize the list of activities.  Look for any activities marked “Can’t miss” and make sure they get on the final list.  Use your imagination to “see”  and “feel” the perfect experience and jot down your thoughts. If you are going to spend time and money on this journey, you want it to be what you want.

Consider keeping a notebook where you record your ideas. Once you have prioritized the activities, the next step is to determine where exactly this journey takes you!

~Plan – Play – Remember~

What are your favorite activities on a trip? Let us know in the comments.

Plan ~ Play ~ Discover

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