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Sunday, February 24, 2019

The 3 P's of a Traveler - Planning, Preparing, and Packing

What a week it has been. We returned from our travels on Wednesday the 20th.

I want to properly detail our trip with my recommendations, our experiences, and pictures so I will plan to split them by each city and country.

But first, I'd like to reiterate my previous preaching when it comes to traveling.

  • You can never do too much planning
When I mentioned my 12-page Google doc, SO many people responded with: "oh, I prefer to just go with the flow". Don't get me wrong, I think this is a good mindset to go into a trip with but I also think it's not setting your trip up for success. Especially in a brand new country. While my Google doc did not dictate when we would go somewhere and what each day would entail, it was a list of things we wanted to do and see. If we ever had free time, we had a list of things that we knew we wanted to see, in which we might have forgotten if it wasn't written down. 

I also took screenshots of where our AirBNBs were located and made a list of restaurants, bars, and sights nearby. I'm a victim of becoming hangry in the most inconvenient time ever, it's important to know where we can grab a quick bite to eat. 
  • Be prepared for the worst
It never fails. When I take big trips, my initial flight is always a complicated one. For those who remember my trip to Australia, New Zealand, and Asia, you'll recall that my initial flight was delayed for 24 hours--about 1 hour before we were set to depart. My patience was tested but it ended up being a blessing because I was able to explore San Francisco for a day and rest before a long trip. 

Toronto was experiencing an intense snowstorm on the exact day that we were set to fly out. It was supposed to start early afternoon so Air Canada easily rescheduled us to a flight with an additional layover earlier in the morning. All seemed fine. 

Then, we received word that this newly scheduled flight was also canceled. I hopped back on the phone with Air Canada's Support team and it looked like we were not going to be able to make it to Copenhagen until two days after our expected arrival. 

Alright, a little bit of panic from the planner. 

After being on the phone with him for an hour, he was able to locate a flight with a different airline that would get us to Copenhagen 3 hours earlier than expected. We were booked on this flight and all seemed right with the world. 

Even with a tight layover in Washington, we made our flight with ease. I was very grateful for Air Canada's Support team to work diligently through the weather issues and get us to our destination sooner. 

You cannot control the weather. You cannot control the airlines. You have to take things as they come and know that it will all work out. Let's just say that I'll probably avoid flying into Canada in the dead of winter in the future. 
  • Packing for wintery terrain 
This was a whole new territory for me. I'm not a fan of the snow and I'm not a fan of the cold. I do not ski and I do not snowboard. I have always taken vacations to a warmer climate where I can bask in the sun and have a beach day. 

Packing was no easy task for me. Trying to keep all of my luggage to carry-on capacity while trying to pack thick winter sweaters. I managed to succeed (all but on our way home... had to check my back with Air Canada). 

My best advice for anyone making this trip: Do not waste your time or your luggage space with cute sweaters. Seriously, once you see all of my pictures, you'll understand it was a waste of my time. In every single picture, I'm in the same winter coat, snow boots, and beanie. 

Unfortunately, we did not buy many souvenirs because of the limited luggage space. I wish I had limited my packing so that I would have more room to bring home things. Especially, the Game of Thrones mugs from Iceland - so many regrets. 
  • Have candid conversations with your travel partner (especially, if it's a significant other)
This was not my boyfriend and I's first long, international trip together. We already spent 2 weeks together in Korea BUT this was our first international trip with just the two of us. And while we were in Korea, we were lucky enough to have his family who spoke the language. Neither one of us knew any Danish, Icelandic, or French (luckily, language was not an issue at all while in these countries). 

I prepared Daniel to understand what kind of traveler I am. He knows I'm a planner. He knows I get hangry. He knows I can be a diva. Setting us up to understand how the other one travels is key. 

When our first flight got canceled, he quickly told me but also made sure that I was calm. This included picking up some ice cream for me to enjoy while I was on the phone with Support for over an hour (I know, I know - I'm a lucky woman). 

All-in-all, Daniel and I traveled wonderfully together. I like to say that this was because of us taking the time to understand each other one prior to leaving. Our Google doc came in huge handy and we both also knew what the other one wanted to do while we traveled. Luckily, we both have similar interests and our trip was a perfect blend of sight-seeing, eating, drinking, hiking, being outdoors, etc. 

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I'm very keen on preparing and planning, I think you will not regret it. I cannot wait to share my travels with you all especially as a number of people have expressed interest in planning travels to these countries themselves. 

Soon enough, my friends!


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