Before You Leave Plan Ahead

Did I say let’s go? Wrong! There’s a lot to do before the plane lifts off. Once you know where you’re traveling to, do some research. Pre-trip research is often one of the most neglected pieces of travel planning, but for the traveler who wants to write, it’s crucial. General reading about a place’s history, culture and sights is just the beginning. Get a map and familiarize yourself with the layout and topography of the places you will visit. Make a short list of must-see sights. Browse travel magazines to see what has recently been written about your destination or watch the news for the latest in politics and economics. Search the Internet for websites with events calendars for your destination and note down what interests you. Is there a special art exhibition at the Uffizi in Florence? When does the Pope host public audiences at St. Peters? Will a trip to Venice coincide with Carnival or the Regatta? Your research could include anything from archaeological expeditions to local festivals to traditional hand crafts that are dying out, or still going strong. And of course, essential language phrases always help. The more you know about your travel destination, the more enjoyable and productive your trip. Copy or print out pages, or write down in a notebook the key information you may need on your trip.

Now, I think we’re really ready to

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