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Planning a trip, Part 2 (08/21/2005)
By Tom Hirsch

Tip Number 1: As you pack your luggage for a trip, photograph the contents of each suitcase and leave the roll of film or small-capacity digital memory card at home. If your bags become lost or stolen, the pictures will provide a valuable reference.

Believe it or not, when planning a trip, there are things other than photographic factors to be considered. For example, have you ever gone on vacation, and when you reached your destination discovered that you had forgotten something? I once left our suitcases standing in the hallway of our home, but that's another story.

The only way you can be assured of a successful trip is to plan as many of the small details as possible. For example, my wife and I have devised a list of things that should be taken care of a few days before leaving on a trip. Our list consists of tickets, passports, vaccination certificates, travelers checks, itinerary, make reservations, phone numbers, stop mail, stop paper, notify neighbors, notify police, water softener off, water off.

Our checklist for the day of leaving includes first aid supplies, needles and thread, prescription medicines, spot remover, suntan lotion, umbrella, paper, pen and pencil, address book and stamps, sunglasses. We also have individual lists for our own personal needs and wants.

In our travels, we like to keep track of where we've been and what we've done on a day-by-day basis. We keep such a diary on a form that contains such items as date, points of departure and destination, lodging, cost of lodging, times of leaving/arriving, three eating places, cost of eating, notes (several lines for notes).

I also have a list of all the pieces of photo equipment I possess. It serves as a reminder of what I have to choose from, making it easier for me to select the things I would need or want on a specific trip. I won't enumerate them here, but the list consists of more than forty items.

On recent trips, I have reduced my photographic needs considerably because my primary camera is my digital. I can do almost as much with it as I used to be able to do with my extensive 35mm camera stuff. If I know that I'll need a telephoto lens in the 300mm range for some shots, or that I'll want close-up pictures of very small objects, I will still take along my 35mm camera and the appropriate lenses. I will only use this specialized equipment where needed, and rely on my digital camera for most of my shooting.

The lists described above are on our computer under TRAVEL. I can modify the lists as needed, and print them out when the time comes.

Tip Number 2: Customize your vacations. After you have determined the itinerary for a trip, photocopy only the pages in a road atlas that apply, and highlight your route. Enlarge the detail maps of each city in which you'll stop, and mark the important locations, such as your motel and the places of interest you'll visit. This will not only serve as a reminder, but also make it easier for you to get around. At the end of your trip, you can file the packet along with the photographs of your vacation.

Tip Number 3: When traveling, focus on the journey, not the obstacles that get in your path. Take along a good book, or buy a magazine or newspaper so that when you're unexpectedly delayed, you can use the time as a golden opportunity to catch up on some reading. If you encounter a detour, think of it as a chance to explore new surroundings. If you're traveling by car and you or your spouse missed an exit or made a wrong turn, how much time has it taken out of your life?

Remember that when you're traveling, you're under a set of rules different from the ones you're used to in your own home. Learn to adapt, and enjoy the differences. 


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