Welcome to week 3, my fellow travel journalers! Hopefully you thought a bit about your first two prompts, and maybe even got something on paper (or disk…. whichever you’re doing). If you are just joining us for the first time, it’s not to late to jump in and start. Then, head to the second post in the series and work at your own pace or hurry and catch up, whatever works for you!
This week, we’re talking a bit more about the planning stage of a vacation. Planning truly is my favorite part of a vacation. I love looking at all the options for lodging, entertainment, meals. To me there is no better trip than going to Walt Disney World and using their dining plan. You get to plan everything — which park you’ll be visiting, which restaurant you want to choose, and make your reservations. Back in the day, I’d call several times until I got just the Priority Seating time I wanted. (Of course, now you can do this online.) And when I scored the Castle Breakfast just 2 days before we wanted to eat there…. I thought I was one amazing Disney planner. (And yes, I know it’s not called the “castle breakfast” but I bet all true Disney-oholics know exactly what I’m talking about and share in my joy.)
When we go to Branson, as we did for Spring Break, the question isn’t so much where we’ll eat. While we do have our favorites, reservations aren’t necessary for the restaurants you’ll find in Branson. What I do like to reserve is our seats to a few shows. I’ll usually look up a couple schedules, choose a day that I think will work and give the theater a call. I only do this for one or two shows, for a couple of reasons. First, I like to have flexibility in our trip. If we decide we want to stay at Silver Dollar City until it closes, or I decide I’d like to go celebrate St Patrick’s Day with a friend, I don’t want to already be locked into seeing a show that night. Second, for most shows in Branson, it’s not necessary to get reservations. My husband doesn’t enjoy sitting in the front row so we don’t mind sitting back a bit, and we’ve always been happy with our same day tickets. I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t admit that I get a little thrill from calling and making those few reservations, though. I love to write down confirmation numbers in my planner. It just makes me happy.
Maybe you’re a crazy fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type person. You fly to one of the Disney parks without a plan, hoping to get a seat at a popular restaurant just because you’re feeling lucky. Perhaps you jump in your car, not quite sure where you’re heading. If you’re one of those, bless you.
Your first prompt this week will have you thinking about the type of planner you are. You’ll be asked to create a to-do list. You can take this literally, and create a list that really nails down what needs to be done: reservations made, mail stopped, arrange for pets, etc. Or you can be a bit more loose with your interpretation. For my journal, I made a list of things that were a “must-do” for me on my Spring Break trip. We’ve been to Branson so often that there are few things I haven’t done. However, there are things we don’t do often, or that I needed to get done this trip (like finding an eigth grade graduation dress for my daughter). I find if I write things on paper, it makes them more real and helps me remember to do them.
The second prompt gives you space to start your packing list. When I pack for a Disney trip, I often start months ahead with my list, and weeks ahead with the actual packing. For Branson, I either have a list and am organized, or I wait until the night before and just throw everything into suitcases and hope I didn’t forget anything. The difference in the two trips is that when we go to Disney we don’t have a car so if I forget something, I’m going to have to buy it at the hotel gift shop. In Branson, I can access several of the popular retailers and replace something without paying a premium.
This trip, I decided to utilize my iPod touch for help with packing (and organizing…. all my confirmation numbers went right on that baby). I downloaded the Packing Pro app from the iTunes store and used it to enter my packing lists. The best thing about this app is that it will save my list, so when we go to Branson again in June, I can just look at it, delete and add as needed, and I’m ready to go. Plus, I’ll have my iPod with me on the trip, so when we go to pack up to come home, I can double check with my packing list and make sure we got everything. It’s a great tool (and would also work on an iPhone).
A to-do list and a packing list are your assignments for this week. Have a great time working on these two prompts. Next week, I’ll start taking you through my journal, day by day, and providing the daily prompts for you to download and get into your journal. I look forward to seeing you back here then!