Have you ever read a travel guide cover to cover? I have. That's usually how I start planning our trips, by overloading on potential things to do, then whittling our agenda down based on time and cost restrictions, but still throwing in some alternative plans just in case something doesn't work out.
I familiarize myself with the history of the place I'm visiting, what they're famous for, I pick a hotel close enough to where the action is and I make all the travel plans. I make sure we know of a few noteworthy restaurants to try and I always look out for markets and places to shop. I guess you can say I'm a planner when it comes to traveling. I like to make sure we get the most out of our little trips out of Singapore.
Our trips are packed full of outings and adventure, but this is how we like it. Our last trip to Bali was the complete opposite, though.
I booked our flights and Jeff booked the hotel--one of those nice places in Nusa Dua on the beach. And that was about all the planning that took place. I'm sure there were fun things to see and do nearby, but that wasn't the point of this trip. Instead of go, go, go, it was stop, stop, stop. We laid in beach chairs most of the weekend when we weren't eating or sleeping. (Okay, we swam and worked out a bit, too.)
This trip made me realize that getting the most out of our vacations doesn't necessarily mean we have to fill our days with as much activity as possible. Sometimes, it's okay to leave the travel guide at home and just take it slow.
By the way, I was interviewed over at Jill's blog battered suitcases talking about life abroad. You can read the interview here.