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Jul 19 / Amy

515 days…

I’m a planner.

I can’t help it – I like to know what’s going on and have a back-up plan for a back-up plan.  Some might say I’m a control freak, but others might agree that it’s just a good practice to have – especially when traveling.  I’m fine with some spontaneity, and I’m not the kind of person that plans every hour of every day out on a trip, but I like to be prepared.

This weekend while coming up with yet another potential itinerary for our trip to Australia (I have three so far), my husband said, “I can’t believe the hours you’ve already put into this trip.”  Our trip is 17 months away.  515 days to be exact.  (In addition to lists, I love countdowns, Excel spreadsheets, and adding side notes in parentheses).  We’re going to Australia during one of their busiest times of the year!  For heaven’s sake of course I’m going to plan!  The words seemed silly to hear, because to me, there’s nothing wrong with having an Excel spreadsheet dedicated to a trip with a calendar marked with where we’d be on what days, budget, etc.  I mean, has he forgotten the craziness that I went through during our wedding?  I was a spreadsheet lovin’, detail oriented, planning fool!

Once we decided we were going to go to Australia over Christmas/New Years, I knew I had to get ahead of the game.  I started emailing hotels in March to determine minimum hotel stays, rates for 2010, and started looking at flight prices (for comparison and budgeting purposes).  As of March, a lot of hotels were already fully booked for New Years this year!  I probably emailed 25-30 different hotels and have finally determined where we’re staying.  I’m counting down the days until December to make a booking!

My biggest pain has been planning week 1 of our 2 week jaunt.  We know we’ll be spending 6 days in Sydney due to hotel requirements, but where to go the first week?  Having lived there for 8 months, I got to see a lot, but not everything.  And in asking Josh what he wants to do while we’re there, his response (“I just want to see a koala.”) was less than helpful.  Do we visit Uluru, the Gold Coast, and then head to Sydney?  Do we spend a week in New Zealand and only see Sydney?  Do we rent a campervan and drive from Adelaide to Sydney?  We’re not sure yet – but I promise you that I’ve got a schedule and budget for all of the above figured out.  And if we change our mind, and another trip idea comes up, you can be sure that I’ll add to the spreadsheet.

My question to you is – is this normal? 🙂

P.S. And if you’ve been to Oz, feel free to share your recommendations on must see spots.  I could always use another back-up plan. 🙂

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  1. Rebecca / Jul 19 2010

    ohmylord, your trip sounds nuts already!

    I purposely escaped Australia from 15-December to 15-January, to just avoid the prices, the Europeans and the weather. None of it was worth my time (or sanity!)

    If all the husband wants to do is “see a koala” skip Sydney and head to anywhere in Qland, as not only can you see koala’s, but you can hold them! (Something you can’t do in VIC or NSW).

    Uluru is totally lovely, but hellish-ly hot from Oct-April. I barely survived in February and I am from Los Angeles! (same-ish type weather).

    Something to add to your ever growing list is Kangaroo Island off the coast of ADL. Loved it and not many people get there.

    • Amy / Jul 19 2010

      I know it’s going to be crazy, but I’ve always wanted to experience NYE in the Harbour, which is why we’re planning to go then. I know it’ll cost heaps more, but I feel like it’d be an experience we’d never forget, and chances are we won’t be making annual trips to Oz. I will say my husband knows how much this trip means to me, so he’s not commenting too much, and wants me to plan for what I want to do. He likes the campervan idea, which is the most I’ve gotten out of him lately! I *really* want to go to Kangaroo Island – how long would you recommend spending there?

  2. Rebecca / Jul 19 2010

    Camper van would be a great way to go!

    I did a tour of KI, 2 nights, 3 days and that seemed to be enough time. Definitely no more then 3 nights/4 days to cover the island! S. Australia as a whole is sort of off the tourist trail, but prob packed with Aussies that time of year! No matter what, you’re in for a crowded, expensive trip.

    I would love to see NYE on the Harbour too, but the pros don’t outweigh the cons, no matter how I do the math.

    Can’t wait to hear about your experience tho!

  3. Mark / Jul 20 2010

    No Amy… It isn’t normal… Stop planning, and just run with it when you get here! (Well there, considering I am in Austria at the moment) Now go and pledge to condemn human rights violations linked to HIV and AIDS at and then send Josh, and everyone else you know!

    Or I shall speak to immigration, and you won’t have to plan a thing!

    Hope all is well!!!

  4. Heather / Aug 3 2010

    I’ve always wanted to be in Sydney for NYE as well — and it will finally happen this year 🙂

    And I can *totally* relate to being a planner. Most people in the travel blog circle seem not to be, so it’s nice to find someone else and be understood. Feel free to bounce planning ideas off of me!! I keep my budget in Google Docs and had tons of notes in there too.

    • Amy / Aug 3 2010

      Yay! Another planner! 🙂

      I think we have finally decided to fly into Adelaide, and then take a week (well, minus the first couple of jetlag days) to drive to Sydney. Still trying to determine if we’re going to hire a car or campervan. I like the flexibility of the campervan, but the better fuel economy of a car. So now I’m estimating costs for each, lol.

      I saw that you did a tour from Melbourne to Adelaide – what were your favorite stops? And where would you have spent more time than others – or stopped if you would have had a choice?

  5. Heather / Aug 6 2010

    I *loved* Apollo Bay and could have spent an entire day there!

    I wish I knew the name of the cafe we visited for lunch in Horsham. A really nice meal and the BEST muffin I’ve had the entire trip.

    I didn’t do a helicopter trip over the 12 Apostles but a few folks in the group who did said it was the best thing they’d done while in Oz. Something to think about!! 🙂

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