How to plan a trip, part 2

It’s time for planning a different type of trip. This time, it is “You know exactly where you want to go and what you are going to do.”

This type of trip is the easiest to plan. If you have been dreaming of a trip to a certain location or to see a certain something, this is that kind of trip.

Take me. I know I am going to visit a friend of mine in Portland, Ore. sometime this spring or summer. I know that while I am there I am going to see the roses the city is famous for, get some stellar views of Mount Hood and touch the Pacific Ocean. Throw in a modern art museum and my trip would be complete. I have already done some research for this trip, which includes looking at a couple of guidebooks and checking flights. My guidebook reading showed me the sights and not too many things sounded like must-dos, so I will leave many plans up to my friend who knows the area. Touring a place with a native makes it so much more meaningful, and if that isn’t possible, suggestions from others helps, too. The only decision I have to make is when to go, and since I want to see the roses, late spring will be the best time. The city’s Rose Festival already has dates, so that gives me a good time frame, and I have to decide if I want to be there for the festival or avoid it and its flock of tourists.

The hardest thing about this type of trip would be selecting when you want to go. If you just want to see art, say the Mona Lisa and the Eiffel Tower, then there is not a specific time when you need to go. Picking a shoulder season or the off season would make a trip with fewer tourists and shorter lines. Something that is more timely will always involve more tourists because everyone wants to see the flowers in bloom or European Christmas markets or Carnival in Venice, Italy or Cologne, Germany in February. All of those examples happen at a certain time and avoiding the tourist rush is near impossible.

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