Reverse Engineering Travel Plans & The Secret To Having A Smooth Vacation
How to avoid the unnecessaries of trip planning and tiresome visa application processes.
This one’s about travel tips.
A Story For You
Every destination has a journey and every journey has a commencement. As philosophical as it sounds, the story is a lot less complicated because this is going to change the way you start your travels. But, let’s begin with a bit of background.
You’ve slogged for the entire year, burnt the midnight oil at times, and stayed in the office on weekends to make sure you’ve delivered your best. In the hopes of providing your family with the best life possible, you involuntarily neglect them.
The children prefer you at the office now, you and the mister/misses are starting to drift apart and you’re growing increasingly frustrated with how life is, at the moment. The paycheck at the end of the month no longer makes you happy and you can’t catch the slightest of breaks to reconcile situations at home.
The holidays are around the corner and you really want to show your family how important they are to you. What’s the next step?
In a majority of cases, it’s going to be traveling, either to another city, state, or country, depending on obvious factors. And so, the plans begin.
We, as humans, reverse engineer the planning of our trips. We start with a dream. And the dream is built around the images we have in our minds through mindless scrolling on social media or through word of mouth, i.e. people raving about the place they’ve just visited.
After a quick search on the internet, your dreams are displayed right in front of you. “Wow, France is beautiful. Look, look, we can have a croissant and a coffee with a view of the Eiffel Tower. It’s going to be amazing!!!”
So, France it is. Then you move one step back. You start looking at hotels and flights, things to do, restaurants to eat at, activities that can be done throughout the trip, and accordingly plan the budget.
The speed at which this is done is directly proportional to your excitement.
Flights, check. Hotels, check. Touristy attractions, check. Clothes, check. Big smiles, check. Visas, che…?
You’ve narrowed your plans down to the T, to the point where you know what you’re ordering for breakfast at the café in Paris but you’ve conveniently forgotten that a visa is required to enter the godforsaken country.
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It’s a pain in the you-know-where to obtain a visa for any country when your passport isn’t ranked amongst the top 10 on the global passport index. As much as you’ve got to respect countries trying to keep their citizens safe, there has to be a better way to apply for a visa - to carry 120 pages worth of documents, that includes birth certificates, bank statements, company bank statements, no-objection certificates, the visa application form that made you check who your great grandmother and what her birthday was, is a crime. And all that just for a 20-day Schengen visa?
Come on EU. You’ve got to be better than that. Therefore, here are just a few things that will keep you leaps and bounds ahead when you’re traveling. Let us know in the comments below if we’ve hit the mark:
Plan way in advance. There are people who’ve booked their holidays at least 6-8 months in advance because they’re well-versed in the bureaucracies of getting a visa.
Apply to certain countries that give out visas for longer terms. The UK gives out visas for 5, sometimes 10 years (you’ll have to have traveled at least once before - they’ll give you a 6-month visa the first time).
The US, with its interviews, gives out 10-year visas as well (interview appointments are definitely an issue - the waiting time feels like we’re going to be interviewed by the President), on which you can even travel to countries like Mexico.
Schengen is the slowest of processes because the length of the visa depends on the number of times you’ve traveled before. It’ll start out with giving a 15-20 day visa, then a month, then 3, 6, eventually a year, two, and then 5. It’s hard work.
The order of your travel, as much as you’re going to hate it is focused on visas (if you plan to visit a country that requires you to get one) hotels and flights simultaneously, and then your itinerary. Don’t start at the end. It’s harmful to your levels of excitement.
Aim to connect with locals before your travel to really understand and enjoy the place you’re visiting. The internet is filled with people rambling on about the main attractions but the true city is only known by the locals.
This is a personal recommendation more than anything else but spend the least on flights, decently on hotels, and most on food and activities.
A Story From You
We enjoy penning down stories but what we enjoy more is reading them. Everyone’s had unique experiences during their own travels. It’s amazing to hear two different perspectives from two individuals who’ve traveled to the same exact place and it just goes to show how much is based on perception.
You must have had at least one crazy story from one of your trips. It might be meeting a stranger on the flight to the destination or having an enlightening experience somewhere, or it just might be a night of complete fun.
What’s one story you would like to share with us?
Till next time,