A Little Planning… Learning a Frustrating Lesson

Last updated on October 19, 2017

Lonely Planet and my BackpackI have diligently planned out my trip over the past two weeks. After all of the focus on the two weddings I was in, this month has been all about getting things lined up and in order. I knew I needed to fine-tune the details of my RTW trip. But now I’m a little defeated about it all. Today I spent the entire day carefully combing through all of the Lonely Planet guides that I checked out from my local library. They had a bunch of guides relevant to New Zealand and Australia, so I charted out a specific course, and researched flight prices. Today was the culmination of two weeks worth of research on just my South Pacific travels. I decided to start with just the first portion and then plan the details of the rest while I traveled.

Some friends have questioned the fact that I waited until this late in the game to plot out some of the specifics of my trip to Australia. I rationalized the delay by making all of the wide sweeping plans first and leaving the nitty-gritty details for my last month in town. I figured, hey, by that point I’ll have most of the other planning done.

Well, the new problem that just cropped up with that I made my Australia plans to fit the fact that I wanted to be in Melbourne for the Melbourne Cup. An Aussie friend that I met in LA had forbidden me from missing the festival and race if at all possible. And as I sit here, I have earthly idea why I thought the Cup was on November 26th. It was poor research on my part. Or, perhaps I plucked the date out of thin air. Basically, though, the Cup is on the first Tuesday of November, as it is every year. Which means it is nigh impossible for the event to occur on November 26th.

I just confirmed the information online, and the Melbourne Cup this year is on November 4th — that’s the day that I arrive in Sydney from the States. At this point, I am taking a giant frustrated sigh and backpedaling a bit. This new information left me speechless. I am frustrated that my lack of planning has just bit me in the backside.

The next question is obvious: What does this mean for my carefully laid out plans? Well, they’re toast. I have gone back to the drawing board on the nitty-gritties of my travels through Oceania. And although I want to just throw my guides away and simply ‘wing it’ once I get there, I will likely spend tomorrow drafting a new itinerary for Australia and New Zealand. I will also spend another few hours researching new flights with different dates in mind.  For now though, my brain can’t take any more of this and so I’m off to spend the rest of the evening finishing reading The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss — I hadn’t read before, but here it’s a bible for location independent travelers!

So, the lesson learned from today’s travel planning session is that I really ought to check my research and dates before I plan an entire trip around a non-existent festival event. I am sharing my other planning lessons and research on this World Travel Resources page in case you’re planning your own trip!