While many of us might point to parenthood, school, or our jobs, there's one thing I'm in the midst of doing that might also make the list for many of you: travel planning.
My wife and I are currently planning a trip to Boston.
As you probably know, there's a plethora of things to do and see in Beantown, from walking along the 2.5-mile stretch known as the Freedom Trail to taking a tour of Fenway Park to visiting a wide array of colleges and universities in the area, most notably Harvard and MIT.
As a history nerd, the thought of soaking up so much of it is highly stimulating, not to mention orienting myself with a city I've only seen up to now in pictures, books, and movies.
But as any avid traveler would note, planning a vacation takes some time and effort.
For example, you have to be mindful of the business hours of the places you intend to visit. If you don't pace yourself accordingly, you may spend far more time at one venue than you'd anticipated, preventing you from seeing certain sites and attractions.
What's more, some of these places require that you make reservations in advance.
Another biggie: How much it costs to get in. Between food, parking, accommodations, airfare, and little trinkets you'll likely be buying for friends and family, it all adds up. What good is a vacation if you'll find yourself in serious debt thereafter?
While I know some travelers are more spontaneous while on vacation -- merely going where the wind takes them -- a good bunch of us feel compelled to map out an itinerary so as to ensure we don't miss those places we wish to hit up the most.
I actually bought a book on Boston over the weekend, three-quarters of which I've already read. I always like to do my due diligence before traveling to any destination. That includes familiarizing myself with the town or city's history, major streets and hotspots, food, culture, and so on.
While planning a trip is fun, it also takes work. Let's not forget the extra time put into packing and unpacking, walking, hailing cabs, and waiting at the airport.
Still, everything has its pros and cons. In the end, most of us are willing to accept a few inconveniences if it means we'll wind up creating happy, long-lasting memories. The key is to spend within or below your means and always be vigilant of your surroundings. It's a crazy world out there!
Do you find traveling/travel planning stressful? Or do you do things spontaneously while on vacation?