Thursday, June 16, 2011

Trip preparation

Let's face it, half of the joy of travel is the planning. Deciding where you want to go, and what you want to do when you get there. Deciding what to take with you, whether to prebook or just do things spontaneously. Deciding on your budget, and saving up for it, or living life on the edge with limited funds. Everyone does it differently, some plan down to the minutest detail, others just jump on a plane, boat, bus or train, or stick out a thumb, and see what opportunities arise. Some people do some pre-travel research, others prefer to arrive with no preconceptions whatsoever.

My trip preparation depends on the trip.
For a backpacking trip I'll usually buy my return tickets if I've a fixed travel period, otherwise I'll simply buy the first ticket and let my next destination arrive when it does. I'll do meticulous pre travel research so I have an idea what's to be seen, but then I'll try and find out more once I get there, and let my discoveries dictate the direction I travel. I love being flexible enough to take alternative routes, avail myself of spontaneous offers of hospitality, and not feel too trapped into a fixed itinerary. I rarely prebook accommodation, unless I'm aware that it's limited.

My next trip is not a backpacking trip, but a six week foray into the hopefully snowy southern highlands of New Zealand, for the sole purpose of indulging my ski goddess persona. I've been working on my fitness for 10 months, and it's now less than six weeks till I jet off, so I'm champing at the bit to be gone. Trouble is, although there's snow in Australia, there isn't a skerrick of the white stuff to be seen across the ditch. I'm scouring the long range forecasts and starting to get nervous.

Preparing for a ski trip is pretty different, mainly because there's lots of gear and lots of expense. Luckily I've only recently replaced my boots (2009), my skis (2010) and this year upgraded my faded old fuschia ski jacket for a lovely new one, red of course! Flights were bought last year, a season ticket bought at early bird prices, and a dorm bed at the backpackers booked. Now there's just ski field transport, ski lessons, food and incidentals. Which this year just might be a heliskiing trip or two, or even a short sojourn sightseeing in Fiordland. Boy this is gonna be an expensive trip....

I'm also taking my Go-Pro video camera with me, which when clipped to my helmet should provide some fun footage to share. If I can find software to edit it that is.

All this gear makes keeping under the 23kg luggage limit almost impossible. I don't travel with alot of clothes usually, but even with a limited wardrobe I'm struggling. Purchasing a few extra kilos may be the best option, or wearing lots of clothes in transit!! It'll feel like the old days, when I weighed an extra 6kg but it was fat!!
The trouble with the latter option is that I spend over 24 hours in transit and move across quite a large temperature zone. When I leave Geraldton it's likely to be 20 degrees centigrade or more, I have seven hours in transit in Perth, a redeye to Sydney, then the final leg to Queenstown, where the layers probably will be needed, though by then I'll be a stinking sweaty mess. Finally, a ride over to Wanaka has to be arranged. I'm tempted to book a car, spending another 3 hours in an airport waiting for the bus will be torture. I hate transit days.

So now that I've done all my trip preparation, all that's left is to pray for snow. And pack the bags, and get those friends of mine thinking about joining me to commit. Less than six weeks to go....

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