January 5, 2023

The holiday parties are over, one more college football game left to decide the National Champion for the 2022 college football season, and we are back to work and dreaming of our next adventure. Even though our next vacation may be months away it is not too early to start planning. Some of you have probably started already. Kudos to you.

Where to start?

Decide where you want to go. Don’t limit yourself to one place. List several and then discuss them with your travel mate(s). You can also visit more than one place. On my last trip, my brother and I visited a couple stops in Colorado as we drove across the state, all five National Parks in Utah and the North and South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Do what is best for yourself and who you are sharing your time with. I am aware that is not possible for everyone but we are both retired and in good enough health to hike. Even though a six plus mile hike in Rocky Mountain National Park was about more than we could handle with the lack of oxygen at those altitudes. Maximize your visit and your time away from the daily grind. By planning ahead you will save yourself some headaches and enjoy yourself more. After deciding where you will be visiting start a checklist of everything you think you may need. This doesn’t have to be done in one sitting, start it, lay it aside and add things or delete items as they come to mind.

Minimum is the goal, you may be doing some hiking and weight does matter when going up and down trails, crawling over large boulders and fallen trees. Ask yourself, do I really need all this.

Visiting the beach versus the mountains requires totally different planning. Both are enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Research your destination. Find attractions nearby that may interest you and would maximize your enjoyment resulting in memories that may last a lifetime. One thing I have used in the past and will in the future is to do a search on your computer or phone for “local attractions” and “places where locals like to eat”. I have found some pleasant places to eat while avoiding the big crowds. Often times the quality is there but the higher prices of the tourist traps aren’t.

You may ask, ”What if I don’t have an up-to-date or the latest camera?” It doesn’t matter. With the quality of cameras on today’s cell phones are remarkable. It may be the only camera you’ll need and is small and convenient. I am a photography enthusiast and on my last trip I used my phone’s camera and a DLSR with a 35-70 zoom lens ninety-five percent (or better) of the time. The main thing is to enjoy yourself.

Enjoy yourself, you deserve it!