I am the self-proclaimed road-trip king. In my prime every Sunday would be a new adventure, cutting a fresh slice of Jamaica. I’ve since visited every parish, most major beaches, restaurants and landmarks across the island. Most of these trips are as spontaneous as they get. Absolutely no planning was usually involved. We could drive out of Kingston and have a grand time wherever we stop. I realize that we were always in the moment, enjoying the company and conversations. Very few photos were taken which allowed us to be present for the experience. While we do not have many photos to prove it really happened, nothing can exceed great memories. On that note, while documenting your experiences provides tangible evidence, enjoying the moment should be a priority.
When I decided to do my first island tour, I recognized the need for planning. I would be on the road, sleeping in my car or at a cheap hotel, so I had to account for everything in advance. On the first day of my island tour, I had an explosive emergency. There were no bathrooms around and I was stuck in Milk River, Clarendon. A farmer nearby was clearing a plot of land, apparently collecting grass to feed his livestock. That piece of clearing was clearly for me as I had to make use of the opportunity as soon as he left. The clean up after posting an explosive letter was only possible because of preparation. Had I started that road trip spontaneously, as was my custom, I would have had a crappy start to my tour. Planning is even more critical if you are travelling overseas.
Maximizing Your Time
When visiting other countries, especially on a visa, your time is limited. Trips are also very expensive so maximizing your time is better value for your money. Through planning a three day trip can be quite productive.
Here are some tips to maximize your time
- Shop online before making the trip. Most stores provide online shopping services so it is easy to purchase items and have them shipped to wherever you will be staying for your trip. This cuts down your shopping time significantly. You can also cancel an order if it will arrive too late so the risk is very low.
- Do your research. Ensure you are aware of all the attractions and events in the area so you can prioritize your time. You can plan for specific visits each day and easily schedule your days. Your research will take into account the financial requirements and the items you may need to take with you.
- Carefully select your location. Where you stay matters as it can minimize your commute times. Select a place that is within 5 kilometers of your targeted areas of attraction or businesses. It may be cheaper to stay elsewhere but it is not worth your time. Traveling thousands of miles to spend hours in traffic does not allow you to enjoy all your destination has to offer.
- Create a budget and stick to it. Without money you won’t be able to do much. All your business and leisure activities go as far as your pockets can take you. Financial planning ensures each day all necessities are covered.
- Have a schedule. Once 1-4 are covered, it is easy to organize each day so that every moment has a predetermined activity. Creating a schedule allows you to identify gaps in each day which may otherwise be wasted.
Everything does not always go according to plan. Expect and accept possible changes. Enjoy the moment!
All the best!