Trip planning

I love trip planning almost as much as actual traveling. I get really excited at all the possibilities that lie ahead when planning a trip. Just now I’m planning our summer vacation trip. We will travel to Gotland in Sweden where we will spend four nights after which we will spend three nights in Stockholm before heading home. We booked our ferry transfers (from Turku to Stockholm and back and from Nynäshamn to Visby and back) over the weekend and now I am looking at accommodation options. This got me thinking about travel planning in general so I decided to write a small post on the subject.

Our travel plans start with picking a destination, how we go about this varies depending on factors like how much time we have available to spend traveling. If we have less than a week we opt for something that is relatively close by and generally start looking within Europe but if we have a longer vacation we look further afield. After we have picked a few possible destinations we start looking at flight prices and if we find a good deal we book the flights. If nothing jumps out as being especially affordable we look at other details of the flights to make a final decision or opt for the destination that has seemed most interesting. After securing the flights (or in some cases other forms of transport) we start looking at accommodation options. My favorite options for looking for accommodation are Airbnb and booking.com. I prefer booking.com over other sites providing accommodation options because I get cashback through Bonusway if I book my accommodation through booking.com and unlike some other sites it often offers the option to pay when you actually stay at the accommodation and not in advance. With accommodation we look at things like location, amenities, bed options, room size, hotel ratings, etc.

I tend to explore blogs and tourist information sites before picking a destination and once we have booked our trip I spend a lot of time exploring destination information. A favorite tool for doing this is Pinterest because it helps me return to interesting information about the destination later on and during the actual trip if necessary. We tend to make rough day plans for when we are traveling but are not keen on minute-to-minute schedules because there has to be room for extempore exploration, etc. We often make some table reservations for dinners ahead of time but like with the day plans we want to leave room for chance. Quite often we also book some activity in advance, especially if the trip lasts at least a week.

Photo equipment

I have recently been contemplating my photographic equipment. At this moment in time I practically only use my mobile phone to take pictures because it is handy but I would love to use a camera. I do have an old Canon EOS 450D DSLR with two lenses (the 18-55 mm it came with and a 28-135 mm I purchased later and which I ended up using as default) but it is a bit too big and heavy to lug around when traveling so it basically spends its time hanging out in my closet.

Original 18-55 mm lens

I have been looking at mirrorless cameras and am leaning towards the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III (https://getolympus.com/digitalcameras/omd/e-m10-mark-iii.html) as I still think it is a good idea to have interchangeable lenses and I feel a compact would not be much different from using my phone anyway. One reason I have been looking at the Olympus is the price vs. the mostly positive reviews I have been reading. I am also attracted by the kind of retro-look of the camera (especially the silver version). I would love to hear any comments you might have on any mirrorless cameras.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III, picture from bhphotovideo.com

Finally just to let you know what I’ve used for the pictures on the blog. Up until the end of 2018 the pictures were taken with an Honor 8 mobile and now I’m using a Samsung Galaxy S9.

I the traveler

I wanted to share my ”travel profile” with you. I have loved traveling ever since I was small and would travel around Finland and the Nordic countries with my parents and brother. The first time I got to travel on a plane was when I was six and my grandparents took me and my brother on a skiing trip to Yugoslavia and I immediately loved flying.

When I was still living at home, my family didn’t really travel abroad much apart from a few trips within the Nordic countries. However, my grandparents would take me and my brother skiing to Yugoslavia or Romania (these destinations were chosen because they were cheap) every winter and when I was 12 my brother and I traveled with his then girlfriend’s family to Austria for a skiing holiday. When I was 14 my brother was away for an exchange student year and I convinced my grandparents that I didn’t want to go skiing alone (my grandparents didn’t ski) so they took me to Madeira that winter. I also traveled to Leningrad (currently St. Petersburg) in my early teens with my mother and grandmother. At 17 I made my first long-haul flight when I went to the US as an exchange student.

When I moved away from home and started university I joined an international student organization, which resulted in some seminar travels within Europe. During my studies I traveled to Istanbul one summer with my parents for a one week holiday and I also spent a summer working in the US as part of language training for my studies.

Once me and hubby got hitched and traveled to London for our honeymoon we started to take at least one trip abroad every year. At first, when we were still students and had a tighter budget, we usually made one trip a year within Europe. Once we got settled into working life we have been taking several trips per year and some of the destinations have been further afield. We have also tried to go on a skiing holiday in the Alps at least every two years. Despite our interest to see and experience new places and things, there are a few places neither of us feel much need to travel to. The major ones are India and Africa. I doubt we will ever travel to India and for me the only reason to travel to continental Africa would be to go on safari (African islands are a different story). I really cannot justify my feelings about this, it is simply something that does not really interest me.