The Secret to a Relaxing Vacation: Meticulous, Detailed Plans

Except for point #3, which is debatable, I thought this article was almost written for us Liners:

What say you, denizens of the TP forums?


100% me :joy: My family actually likes travelling with me because I make sure they get out and do stuff!


I guess that depends on if you are going with children or not. Many years ago we did more planning than we do today. I do not use the touring plan but I do make FFP reservations 60 days in advance. I do make DDP reservations 6 month in advance so I guess we do plan to some degree. On the other hand after being at WDW multiple times we also play it by ear.

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Yes!! When we go to Disney or a city vacation or somewhere with a highly scheduled plan, our whole family is happier. They know that the planner (almost always me) has considered their wishes and included them somewhere in the plan. No one sits around and discusses/argues about what to do next and where we should eat, because the plan says this and they knew it before. When we wing it at the beach, we often spend an hour trying to figure out what restaurant to go to and then someone inevitably is upset b/c they wanted a different restaurant. We usually enjoy both versions but planned is definitely the crowd pleaser in my family.


Absolutely- we don’t get to WDW very often so playing it by ear isn’t an option or we’re sure to miss some of the newer things. And what my family will like is sometimes surprising- they raved about SDD at least as much as FOP. But I’m hoping for the day when DH and I can forget about the kids’ schedules and just go for a more leisurely couple of weeks.

Wow! I’m not the only one who sees these as similar vacations. DH and I went to NYC last month and there were definitely some things I wish I had researched as well as I did our family trip to WDW last May. Considering the cost per day is comparable in both places, next time I won’t make that mistake.

Conversely, if we go to a National Park, the only things we really worry about are finding a great place to stay, and getting up early.

And bears. We do sometimes worry about bears.


Yes. I’m actually really disappointed when I book a vacation that doesn’t take a lot of planning. :slight_smile:


Pretty much any trip requires sensible (obsessive) planning. Which is so much easier today than back in 1985 when we were in Austria - Salzberg I think. Went to look in the flood control museum. Only to find it closed. Due to flooding. Peered thru the windows and sure enough, pesky waterline about 3 ft up the wall.


This article speaks to the core of me, right down to scheduling time to relax. :rofl:

I spent an embarrassing amount of time planning the trip DH and I took to Scotland this past June but it was EPIC because of it. (And even so the effort for that trip pales in comparison to the time I’ve spent planning our May 2020 trip to WDW… #iheartspreadsheets) Its just how I roll. But I am a benevolent leader and do it so we can all have a better trip.


We did a family trip in October. My 3 year old granddaughter has already been asking if Nana will make a plan so that we can go back to WDW. The whole family recognizes that meticulous, detailed plans allowed us to fully enjoy the trip.


All really good points, especially the polite deference time waster. That’s a pet peeve of mine. I’m pretty much always the ‘trip captain’ but I’ll step up and take the lead in other life situations whenever the group has this problem, because it’s maddening.


I’m more of a benevolent dictator, myself. :rofl:

It is maddening. I don’t mind being the leader for my family, but I did a trip to Italy once with friends and that drove me around the bend after a few days. One is more limited in how one can steer friends as compared to family, and there are more issues. I actually quit because I was tired of the complaining- mostly it was one friend who was being seriously cheap for no reason. I am not taking the bus when we have only two days in Assisi and there are 5 of us to share a cab, KWIM?


Yes, but I’m tired of planning. I get so incredibely stressed and hard on myself if something happens or I miss something. I keep begging others to plan, but they will not. I’m done. I guess we are winging it from now on. I won’t do it anymore. Everyone else has fun and I’m in tears. Not doing it again.

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My wife totally prefers that I do all the planning for Disney and I’m happy to take up the mantle. It simply HAS to be done and I can’t bear it when people say they’ll “just go with the flow” and happily queue for 3 hours to go on 7DMT. That makes me grind my teeth!

Friends of ours have looked at me curiously when I say I’ve got a OneNote with numerous tabs for every aspect…and I’ve not even started with FP’s yet. There’s a lot to be said for spontaneity, and there’s still room for that in our plans but I’m not going to shell out thousands of dollars to waste my time if a better/easier/swifter time could be had.


This is excellent.
I think I will print it out and hand it out to all the stupid people I know who make fun of me in one breath and say they didn’t love their vacation in the next…

You should see my plans for our 18 day NY-to-CA road trip in 2018. It was wonderfully researched and organized.

Early on DH and I went to DC without a solid plan. Who knew everything closed up early and wasn’t open on weekends! Granted, that was pre-internet. It was pathetic.

Exactly. I’ve heard my kids brag on me for our vacations.

I suppose there are lesser regimented trips, but you still plan for possibilities.

Such as bears.

I’ve found ways to plan even these trips… :wink:

yes!!! This is why I plan all our meals even on road trips. So much time is wasted just trying to “find somewhere to eat.” I even have been known to print off menus of the QS places in WDW so kids could pick their meals while in an earlier queue.

I resemble this remark.


I do get disappointed when a plan goes awry. There have been some down days (fog at Mt. Rushmore, missing a show because of miscommunication, etc.) but the accomplished pieces so far outway what didn’t work out, I see it as a much better return on my investment then just winging it.


oh - and kudos on getting me to click a link to nymag … :thinking: :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


Oh I immediately sent this to my husband with SEE NOT CRAZY THANKS BYE. “Sponteneity” for us always equals polite deference escalated to arguing resulting in watching TV in the hotel room. NOT ON MY WATCH.


I really get this- see my post above yours about a trip to Italy- I just quit in the middle and happily read my guide book while ppl bickered about where to eat and what to do. At least they weren’t crabbing at me. Sometimes it’s a thankless task.

Yes, but more laid-back trips are almost pre-planned, especially things like camping. You have to be prepared for whatever nature will throw at you, but after that it’s pretty much “What is the weather and what do you want to do today?”. ( We also have a built-in contingency for bears- noisy children and bear spray).

Although getting up early is just as important as it is at WDW. There’s barely anyone at Old Faithful at 7 am.

I even plan snacks.

haha, well I don’t follow any publication regularly, they’re all so predictable. Generally, I scan the headlines but only read news when someone says something I don’t expect them to say. So I must’ve stumbled across this while reading something else that is not typical for The New Yorker.

That’s the issue in a nutshell. My tolerance is inversely related to the time and money I’ve invested in a vacay.
I don’t mind sitting around and waiting for the bus in Jackson Hole (if it’s above zero, that is). I really do mind it at WDW. I can drive to JH and stay in a friend’s condo, but can’t do either of those things on a trip to Disney.

But if you’re a Floridian shelling out big bucks to ski the cold smoke, well, you aren’t going to want to wait for that same JH bus. It’s a matter of perspective.


For me this is why there are friends I will travel with (basically this is one person other than my immediate family) and friends I may meet up with while traveling. Two very different sets of people.


This article really speaks to me! A meticulously planned trip does not necessarily mean an over-scheduled trip. For any trip, Disney or not, a lot of mental bandwidth is needed to learn what the options are for activities/sights/dining - and even more mental bandwidth is needed to make decisions given the choices. I’m much more relaxed if I don’t need to use up this mental energy ON my vacation because it’s all been done in advance. I also find that it allows more flexibility - I typically have a pretty good idea of what activities can be dropped/rearranged/swapped, so that we can go with what feels right in the moment. I carefully plan ALL our vacations - National Parks included. I’ve been planning this summer’s national park trip for a year already. Between lodging that books up over a year in advance to the vast scope of the area being covered to the newness of it all to us - I’ve needed this time!