There's nothing worse than having a trip fall short of your expectations. You've saved, planned, and just returned from that trip of a lifetime. What happened? I'm always interested to hear about friends trips before and after they travel because I can almost (with 99.9% accuracy) predict which trips will be fabulous and which trips will fall short. It's all about the itinerary and the personality of the travelers. Just as jeans are not made for one size fits all neither is travel. At the beginning of your trip you need to decide your travel personality and tailor the trip to fit your "personality." Here is a guide to help you set some realistic expectations for your next travel adventure. This is what I call the PRIM strategy: • Pace - Determine if you prefer slow or fast travel. If your idea of a vacation is to hit as many sites as possible then you'll want to make sure you and your travel companion are on the same page or there could be some pretty tense moments during your travels. The same could be said for the slower traveler. The key is to get agreement on the pace BEFORE you board the plane. • Research - This cannot be overstressed. Do your homework so you get a feel for the place and it's local customs before you arrive. This is where the biggest disappointments can come when you believe your destination to be something that it isn't. • Itinerary - Once you know your pace then you can start working on your itinerary. If you like the slower pace you can plan on staying in each town for a significant amount of time. If you like the fast pace then you'll need to figure out your "must sees" and make sure you hit the highlights before moving on. Many travelers also forget to factor in the travel time to each destination. It's really important not to cram too much into a short period of time. • Money - Figure out the costs (hotel, taxis, food etc) and then add about one third more. The good thing is you don't need to bring that much cash as it's easy to use ATM's. It's always going to be more expensive than you think and many people forget to include the cost of admissions fees which can add up quickly if you are a family of four.
Setting realistic expectations will allow your trip to flow smoothly and if anything unexpected should arise then you will be able to calmly handle whatever comes your way.