ITINERARIES, yes or no?
Each traveler has their own philosophy about visiting another country.
Some like to mingle with the locals.
Some like to stick to their own kind.
Some like to do both.
Some like utter luxury, others want to test how much they can live without.
There is an abundance of travel quotes that summarize each of these attitudes towards traveling.
Just to name a few:
1. “A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”
– John Steinbeck
2. “All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.”
– Samuel Johnson
3. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain
4. “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux
5. “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”
– Lao Tzu
6. “Not all those who wander are lost.”
– J. R. R. Tolkien
7. “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.”
– Clifton Fadiman
8. “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”
– Mark Twain
9. “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”
– Bill Bryson
10. “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”
– Susan Heller
11. “Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.”
– Paul Theroux
What is my philosophy? I haven't found it yet, I believe. I used to hate itineraries, because I felt restricted by them. But then I realised, that an itinerary is just a piece of paper and I don't have to do what it says. I eventually came to the conclusion that an itinerary can be a valid source of information that helps me and others find what they are truly looking for in their perfect holiday.
I have been traveling with an itinerary in mind ever since, but I kept my options open, by not booking everything in advance. If I wanted to ditch my itinerary there was nothing to hold me back. Those were the trips that were the most memorable to me.
Sometimes not having any clue on what to do at your destination could have you miss out on some great adventures. You may get stuck in a rut of visiting backpacker bar after backpacker bar for entertainment, when there is a whole world out there to be explored. You just didn't know about it.
For those reasons I believe that it is always important to research at least a little bit about your destination.
First up an itinerary can tell you whether you even want to visit a place. If you don't like long bus journeys, but local buses are the only way of getting around, you may want to consider a different destination. If you love fine dining and wines, but your destination does not allow alcohol to be consumed, you may be better off somewhere else.
To sum it up: Itineraries don't just restrict you, they guide you where needed.
To me an itinerary is a back up plan. It gives you ideas and inspires you. It helps you when in need.