There is no getting around it: taking a vacation requires some amount of planning. Before you leave on vacation, you have to find a flight to get you there and a hotel to stay in. Once you arrive, you have to figure out what you want to do and see.
Understanding how much of the what, where, and when of your vacation that you like to plan in advance, as well as how structured or loose your daily itinerary is will be a key factor in making sure that you’re going on a vacation that’s going to make you happy.
For example, if you are someone who likes to wake up knowing what the game plan is for the day and hit the ground running, you may feel like you’re wasting time trying to figure out what you should do if you don’t have a plan already for the day.
On the other hand, if you are someone who is looking forward to not having to follow a strict schedule every day, and then you sign up for a guided non-stop itinerary vacation, you’re going to hate it! You won’t get to go at your own leisurely pace or decide what you do every day totally based on how you feel.
Do you see how something like managing the logistics of your vacation can really be the determining factor as to whether you’re happy with your vacation or not? It’s one key part of your unique travel style, which is important to making sure that you go on a vacation that is going to give you that sought-after vacation high, rather than leave you disappointed.
It’s equally important to understand how each member of your travel group prefers to manage the vacation logistics. If you think about our unique travel styles as our “vacation personalities”, there is a wide variety of them with different desires and needs. If you have conflicting travel styles in your travel group, you may need to compromise to keep everyone happy.
Vacation Planning Travel Styles
Some people prefer to plan all of the details of their vacation ahead of time so that they can arrive and just start being on vacation. On the other end of the spectrum, some people prefer to go with the flow and discover things as they find them based on how they feel every day.
So in general, there’s two main types: those who prefer to have a plan and those who don’t want to have a plan; however, as humans we are by no means that black-and-white. In my head – in the simplest form – I see four distinct planning travel styles. Which are you?
Planners are the leaders of the trip who take charge of the travel plans and make sure all members of the trip party – usually Followers (see below) – are where they need to be. They prefer to have everything planned prior to departure, and usually have a set itinerary planned for each day, and it’s usually a pretty fast pace. They’ve done their research about a destination more than anyone else, and are the ones in the travel group with all of the answers about the what, where, and when.
Followers don’t necessarily need all of their ducks in a row to make a trip happen because they probably know a Planner who’s already on it! They enjoy following along with predetermined travel arrangements, but do not initiate or control them. They may not even know what all is planned for a trip, but they are usually agreeable to most things and along for the ride.
Laid Back Travelers
Laid-Back travelers don’t go out of their way to make too many plans ahead of time, but will have a general course of direction, such as where they are going to stay and a general idea of things that they want to do. After that, they prefer to explore and do things as they discover them in their destination based on how they feel every day at a leisurely pace.
Impromptu travelers are entirely go-with-the-flow and don’t like to be tied down to any travel plans because they want to be open to doing things based on how they feel and what they find. They are the ones to jump at the opportunity of a cheap flight to somewhere they hadn’t even considered visiting and can leave at a moment’s notice with little to no planning.
Traveling with Different Planning Travel Styles
In general, Planners and Followers travel really well together because they prefer to approach their vacation days the same way: with a plan. Their personalities complement each other because there is the proactive, take-charge person and the easygoing person that’s happy to be along for the ride.
However, if you have a lot of Planners in your travel group, there’s a chance for conflict because there are too many people trying to take charge. Likewise, if you have a travel group full of only Followers, there’s a chance for frustration that they’re wasting time on vacation if no one steps up to initiate the plans.
Just like Planners and Followers, Laid Back and Impromptu travelers tend to travel well together because they prefer to approach their vacation days the same way: they like to wake up in a leisurely manner and take on each day as it comes and discover things naturally.
However, the extreme last-minute tendency of the Impromptu travelers may not totally jive with a Laid Back traveler, who feels comfort in having at least the basics sorted out before arriving in a destination. The lack of planning
A Follower and a Laid Back traveler are a neutral travel group that likely wouldn’t cause any severe conflict; however, Impromptu travelers and Planners would not want to go on a vacation with one another.
Which of these “Planning” travel styles sounds most like you? As for me, considering I operate a travel planning business and specialize in vacation planning, I am most definitely the Planner.
How You Plan Your Vacation Says This About You
Understanding your planning travel style is not just something that’s “good to know”. It points to a broader picture that ultimately can clue you or others in your travel group into what you’re really wanting out of your next vacation.
If you’re a Planner…
You go on vacation to see and do as much as possible while you are away. It’s important to you to make the most of your limited vacation time, and having a predetermined daily itinerary helps you feel organized and like you’re not wasting time deciding what to do on vacation. You like to be in control of every vacation activity so that you can be sure you’re spending your vacation time the exact way that you want to spend it.
If you’re a Follower…
You love going on vacations where you are guided around to do fun activities and see amazing places. You prefer to keep busy, following a fast-paced itinerary so that you can really feel like you’re making the most of your time. You like the surprise factor of following along with predetermined plans that someone else has made for you and love being along for the ride.
If you’re a Laid Back traveler…
You go on vacation to get away from your normal daily routine, not spend it hustling around on a strict schedule. You like to wake up each day and decide how you will spend it, based on how you’re feeling that day. Whether you decide to take a nap, or go on a full day excursion, you enjoy getting to play each day by ear.
If you’re an Impromptu traveler…
You view vacations as exciting, spur-of-the-moment opportunities where you can let your inner spontaneity really shine. You love the thrill of exploring a new place as you go and prefer to make first-hand decisions about how to spend your vacation time based on what you discover when you arrive. You don’t want to pre-schedule your days because you want to be open to whatever experiences come your way.
Before planning your next vacation, see if you can hone in on the planning travel style of each member in the travel group and see how you can plan your vacation to meet the expectations of all travelers!