Obsessive Compulsive Travel Planners

I can’t remember what Andrew and I used to talk about before we started planning our round the world trip. I really can’t.  Nowadays, everything revolves around trip planning – plotting our itinerary, reading travel blogs, sourcing gear, building up our savings, booking flights, organising visas…the list goes on.  I have become totally, utterly obsessed with our travel plans.

You know things are bad when you lose sleep worrying about whether your new passport will arrive on time; when the first thing you think about when you wake up is ‘Only x weeks left to go till we leave’; or when you have to stop what you’re doing at work to scribble down another item to add to the travel checklist.

Yes – it’s time to come clean, I’ve become an Obsessive Compulsive Travel Planner.

Travel Planners

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Obsessive Compulsive Travel Planners

It hasn’t always been this way,I used to be able to go more than an hour without travel thoughts popping into my head. So why have I become such an obsessive planner? My little brother is going travelling for five months next year; is he losing sleep over how much organising there is to do? Is he rushing around buying gear, researching hostels and looking up the weather? No, he’s not.  I’d love to be one of those people who sail through life, scraping through by the skin or their teeth, nonchalantly leaving all planning till the last minute -actually, scratch that. I’d hate it.

I need to plan, I can’t just leave things to chance; and when you’re planning a round the world trip, there’s so much to sort out. If you don’t believe me, take a look at our travel checklist. Imagine if we just hadn’t bothered researching New Zealand car rental companies a whole eight months before we were actually due to touch down in the country? Then we’d never have found out that we needed to apply for a travel credit card.

What if I hadn’t taken the time to find out what kind of visa we need for Indonesia, or left booking our flights so long that they rocketed in price? What if I never got around to scheduling an appointment for our travel vaccinations?

No, I think that if you’re going to plan a trip, you need to do it properly.

Is being an obsessive travel planner a bad thing? It’s better to be prepared, right? Ok, so maybe organising our entire New Zealand itinerary is a bit obsessive, but for me, planning is half the fun. I love researching all the places we’re going to go, looking at people’s budget breakdowns and round the world packing lists – travel blogs are like crack for me. On a bad day, I have to physically tear myself away so that I can actually get some work done when I’m, you know, at work.

Being an obsessive compulsive travel planner can be stressful though. You become stuck on every detail and spend hours researching ridiculously unimportant things, like what type of micro fleece to buy or how many weeks to spend in a particular place.  Another problem is that when all your thoughts are occupied with how to plan a trip, you can forget about your other interests, you become an alien to every other ‘normal’ person who doesn’t eat, sleep and breathe travel – you become boring. You lose sleep. You become a travel-obsessed-geek.

Are you an obsessive compulsive travel planner?

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25 thoughts on “Obsessive Compulsive Travel Planners

  1. Being obsessed with your travel planning is maybe a side effect from all you’ve learnt from your travels. You’ve seen what can go wrong and want things to go well when you arrive.

    Hopefully because you plan so well in advance then you should feel a little more comfortable. Some relaxation techniques may help. After all why choose to travel if you can’t enjoy it!
    The Guy recently posted..Finding Heritage MaduraiMy Profile

    • Good point – I hope I learn to settle down and break my excessive travel planning habits when we’re on the road. Until then maybe I do need to try some relaxation techniques!

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  3. Travel planning IS half the fun! OK, that’s a slight exaggeration but it’s still fun. I love planning future travels, it’s how you find out the best things to do and see. Sure, you’re going to bore your friends and family to death with talking/thinking/breathing travel plans, but whatever 😉 The stupid thing is, from my experience, you spend so much time planning every detail of your trip and then as soon as you land in your first country, all plans go out the window and you just enjoy the ride! But that’s how it should be 🙂
    Charlie recently posted..The Fear of Missed OpportunityMy Profile

    • You’re right Charlie – it is half the fun! I hope I settle down and relax once we’re on the road!

  4. I am completely travel obsessed. It feels good to read this blog so I know I’m not the only one!!! I spent months persuading my family to take me to California this past summer. I mean, it took MONTHS to persuade my dad. Finally he said yes and I got to plan, book, research, do every little thing to plan our trip to California. I could almost cry right now it was so much fun. I would literally spend all night long researching hotels. hhaha like you said taking hours of researching unimportant things. I wouldn’t say it was unimportant but I become obsessive!! I would spend like a whole day figuring out where to sit on the airplane!! Our trip turned out absolutely fabulous and I got so many compliments from a lot of people how I should become a vacation planner!! All the obsessiveness worked out in my advantage and it was fun!!

    I was so worried that we wouldn’t be able to go on another vacation but LUCKILY, I won the Embassy Suites Contest (1 of 4 families) and I won 7 nights at any Embassy Suites around the world and $10,000!!! It was a miracle. I can now plan another vacation!!! We’re going to Hawaii next summer, Oahu. I have become obsessed again haha. I will spend countless hours staring at the same stuff. Now my mind is going nuts trying to think of the next vacation.

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one!!!!!! Good Luck on all your future travels!!!!!!! God Bless <3

    Emily Marie

    • Hi Emily, I’m glad you had a great holiday in California and hope you have an even better time in Hawaii – how lucky were you winning that competition! Sounds like you are definitely another obsessive planner like me but yes, it is great fun to plan. Have an amazing time planning for your next trip!

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  8. I am an OCD travel planner myself. My friends and I are going to Hong Kong next year but I have started planning as early as now. I already booked flights and check every single hotel/hostel/guesthouse there is! I also plan the itineraries and check/compute prices. I have printed hotel lists, possible itineraries, tour prices, maps and travel tips. I give them updates day to day and they don’t seem to care! I have no idea how can just sit there and not think about it all. It consumes my day to day activities. I just don’t want anything to go wrong and ruin the trip. We would save a lot of time if we have planned beforehand.

    • Hi Kate, you sound like a true OCD travel planner! I commend you for being so organised, I’m sure all your planning will pay off and your friends will be thanking you once you arrive in Hong Kong – I hope you have a great trip!

      • Hi Amy! Yes, thank you. We had a wonderful trip! When we arrived in Hong Kong, they would all look at me and ask me what to do next. It was great cause since I planned and researched beforehand, it saved us a lot of time! And I’m glad that even though I obsessively prepared an itinerary, I welcomed the changes and spontaneity. I was afraid I’d be like, “No! We have got to do this!” or “We should be ready to leave at 8!!”

        I’m researching (obsessively, of course!) about a domestic trip for next month so I stumbled upon your blog again. 🙂

        • Hi Kate, great to hear from you and thanks for commenting. I’m glad you had a good trip and welcomed some spontaneity too, sounds like you’re the perfect travel planner! Good luck with planning your next adventure 🙂

  9. I am a compulsive travel organiser too and I think it partly comes from wanting to start living the dream straight away. if you do nothing until you get there then you don;t get the build up and thats part of the fun. Well for us anyway. in Dec we are driving from our home in the south of the UK to the Arctic Circle with our 4 children in our motorhome to photograph the Northern Lights. Our planning has become utterly obsessive. I LOVE it! 🙂

    • Hi Becki, thanks for commenting. Your trip sounds absolutely epic; I bet it requires loads of planning. Good luck and I look forward to reading about your amazing adventure!

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  13. Actually I used to be like this and travelling had just beaten it out of me. I’ve really grown to hate it and see it as a major annoyance/chore we spend too long doing.

    We spend hours in every destinations- hours/days just sitting behind the laptops planning (not even blogging) – just planning then we wonder where the time’s just gone.

    We need a bit of Amyness
    Stefan Arestis recently posted..Choosing a good house boat in KeralaMy Profile

    • Ha 🙂 Towards the end of our initial 15-month trip we got a bit lazy and fed-up with planning too Stefan but now that we’re in one place again we do like to spend a few hours here and there researching flight prices and routes for our American road-trip next year. Once you settle in Thailand you’ll get a break from planning for a while, it sounds like you need it!

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