Anatomy of a travel plan
Resfeber (n) the restless race of the traveller’s heart before the journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together, a “travel fever” that can manifest as an illness
Probably the most difficult part of planning a trip for me is deciding where to go. I want to see the whole world! I try to visit two countries at a time. I figure that if I am going to spend that amount of money, I want to see more than one place and experience as much as I can. Friends keep mentioning Portugal, and how beautiful and inexpensive it is. So, out comes my world map. I have been to some parts of Spain, and consider exploring other Spanish cities. Then, my wandering eye spots Morocco. Visions of riding a camel, sleeping in the desert in a Bedouin camp and seeing the market in Marrakech fill my dreamy head. I am excited! Portugal and Morocco it is.
My first research entails airfare. My brain fixates on flying into Porto as a friend of mine flys to Porto on a regular basis. ……Back to the map. So if I fly into Porto, stay there for a bit and then travel to Lisbon, I can fly, or take a ferry to Morocco. Then back to Lisbon to fly home. This is not making sense. There has to be a better way.
In the meantime, I am given some recommendations for tours in Morocco. As I would be uncomfortable travelling as a lone female through this Arab male-dominated country, I consider booking a tour. I pour through the websites.
I have a rough idea of the cost of flying to Porto, but decided to get help through a travel agent. I drop in to see Maria, at Quadra Travel. She was a godsend. After listening to my wishes, she quickly suggests that I fly into Casablanca, do a tour and fly to Lisbon for a week and a half and then to Porto for the same amount of time. I would then fly home from Porto. She gives me a brochure from G Adventures, a Canadian company that has an excellent reputation for tours all over the world. They do small groups and have fifty self-sustaining community initiatives. My options are either an eight-day or a fifteen-day tour. The difference in cost was minimal and because I had just celebrated my 70th birthday, decided that the fifteen-day tour was my gift to myself. It is amazing how one can justify anything! Once I make that decision, then Maria gets busy with the travel portion.
I want to use my Airmiles for the home to Toronto portion, stay a few days in Toronto and then fly direct to Casablanca. Maria notes that it was not going to be a lot of difference in airfare if I flew directly to Casablanca. Because I want to use my Airmiles for my upcoming four-month yearly Mexico trip, I decided to go with her suggestion. Maria manages to get an excellent price for the airfare which also includes the Marrakech to Lisbon portion. She booked the tour for me as well.
So where am I now in the plans? My airfare is booked and paid. My Moroccan tour is booked, with a 25% deposit, the balance to be paid in July.
The next step is to plan the Portugal portion – places I want to see and approximately how long I will need in each location. With that done, I can plan my accommodations which will probably be with Airbnb. I will post when I have decided. The final step will be my wardrobe. I will endeavour to travel with a carry-on and a small backpack. I will let you know how that goes.
I would strongly suggest using a travel agent to help with your travel plans. Not only will they make excellent suggestions but can get the best prices for airfare.
How do you start making travel plans?