Many people have asked: How does one go about planning a 100 day trip?
My only response is lots and lots of research.
We started by determining the dates of travel. We knew we had a window of time that we could take this trip (leaving after a family wedding but being home for Thanksgiving). The original travel dates planned would have come to a total of 98 days so we extended the trip by two days so we could have a nice round 100 days.
Once we had our dates we had to plan the itinerary. We both like to cruise and we knew a portion of this trip would be on a cruise ship. So we started by finding the cruises we wanted to take while down under. Once we got those booked, we were able to determine how much time we would have before and after to do our own touring on land. For this trip it worked out to be three and a half weeks before and three weeks after the cruises.
We decided to spend the first three weeks in New Zealand (their winters are milder than Australia’s) and the second three weeks in Australia. Then we hit the library checking out every guide book our county and our neighboring counties owned. We sifted through the information in the books and looked at itineraries of different tour companies that specialized in that region. We both did our own research, took notes, then came together to discuss a final itinerary. It has already gone through many revisions and won’t be set in stone until we are on the plane home.
Once we had an itinerary, we started looking for places to stay and things to do. We originally were planning on staying in hostels to save money but we quickly found that we could get better deals on full-service hotels or B&Bs. Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic are our go-to sites for reviews on hotels, tour operators, and attractions. This time, we added a few NZ/OZ specific sites to our arsenal to help with our planning: Jasons, AA New Zealand, and WebJet to name a few.
Finally, we have been fortunate to have many family, friends, and strangers provide us tips and advice. We have found that people love to talk about their home-towns or previous vacations. You just need to be willing to ask and listen.
The final key to the process has been having a good tool to compile and share the information we have collected. We chose to use Microsoft OneNote because we could keep the notebooks in our Dropbox folder and access them from any computer. We have also learned that, once we are done updating the notebooks, we can convert them to Evernote and have access to them on our tablet … for free.
None of these resources have cost us a cent. The only “expense” has been our time. But the time spent planning this journey has just added to the anticipation of the adventure.
Are there any tips you can share with us that might help us as we finalize our itinerary?