Planning for New Travels

Statue of Annie Moore and her brothers (taken in Cobh, Ireland)
Planning for travel is an engrossing part of the travel experience. I have taken on the role of travel coordinator for my accompanying family and friends. I'm not complaining since it's a role that I enjoy  but there are many factors to be taken into consideration.

Cost is an important consideration for me and for most of my companions. I like to travel frequently and I enjoy spending time in foreign lands so my cost per night has to be inexpensive. One of my brothers likes to stay in hostels but privacy and a bathroom are non-negotiable for me. I've found Airbnb to be a reliable source of affordable accommodation but I am quite discerning. As I travel alone on occasion, I limit my searches to hosts with the Superhost designation. I read the reviews about host availability and communication carefully. I prefer that the host is woman and resides on the property. I give "bonus marks" if she is an educator and speaks more than one language. Artists who work on the premises are another favourite. The art will likely be reflected in the décor.

We travelled by bus to Seattle because Monsieur does not enjoy driving in the city. We didn't have to pay to park our car.

If I am sharing, I don't like to spend more than $150 Canadian ($75 each) a night. I would be unlikely to find a hotel room in my favourite cities for such a low price but if I look a bit away from the downtown core to a safe residential area, I've been able to book separate bedrooms in Paris, London and New York (Brooklyn). I walk in the neighbourhoods and purchase a transit pass for exploring further afield

I've walked in Spain, Britain, and France

I like to have a refrigerator and a kettle. I carry my own coffee filter cone and I enjoy yogurt and fresh fruit for breakfast. I will not be preparing large meals but a microwave for reheating is a bonus. Takeaway meals are often available in grocery stores and I prefer to spend my evenings in my accommodation unless I have a companion.

Safety is mostly common sense when a woman is travelling alone. I don't go out at night unless I am attending a performance. I take a cab to return home if it is dark. My dancing cousin, who is the same age as I, attends tango milongas all over the world by herself with no problem so I think that I might be a bit too careful.

A cruise is fun if you enjoy short visits to lots of ports.

After years of travel, my suitcase is getting smaller and smaller. Thank you, Janice Riggs of the Vivienne Files. My packing is realistic and reflects the activities in which I am actually going to engage. If I am never going to go out in the evening, I don't need evening wear. A simple dress with a scarf is great for a meal in a nicer restaurant or a theatre performance.  Layers work best and if I stay with the neutral and two accent colours, I require fewer pieces. If an unanticipated event pops up, I can buy something.

Train travel is great for seeing the countryside.

I always try to travel at times that I can use Aeroplan points to pay for my flights. As I book accommodation and flights for my travelling companions, I receive the points. I'm flying to Mexico City on points in March. Spring break made it a bit challenging and I fly non-stop whenever possible.
I'm getting older and I don't want to be bothered with extra customs or security checks or the lengthy distances in airports.

Travel is an important part of my life! My learning continues with each different trip. My planning skills get better with experience. It's wonderful to have a new year with new opportunities for adventures. Do you have plans for the new year? Do you enjoy making the arrangements yourself or do you rely on professionals or friends/relatives? Do you use online resources or social media to find accommodation?


  1. Thank you for sharing this valuable information. I am not as experienced but agree that the planning is a lot of fun!

  2. It is a challenge (usually a positive one) to try to organize travel that is interesting and affordable.

  3. We enjoy travel, too, and our plans are much the same as yours. We're pleased with AirBnB and we always ask for the "whole place" which includes a private bedroom and bathroom, usually with its own entrance. When we book for longer stays we get a small kitchen. A carry on piece of luggage is enough for 3 weeks. We're planning a trip to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest this coming summer, and we are enjoying the planning stages.

    1. Are you taking a Danube cruise? I stayed at a really interesting hotel that used to be a monastery in Prague. Planning is definitely a fun part of the adventure.

  4. I’m so glad you recommend Airbnb’s. I am traveling to Hawaii and want to stay in one and your tips are helpful. I also like your idea of packing simply. I always take way too much.

    1. I think Airbnb is a great idea as long as you do a bit of research about the local rules
      and are discerning about owners' reviews.


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