"One of the greatest things in human life is the ability to make plans. Even if they never come true - the joy of anticipation is irrevocably yours. That way one can live many more than just one life."

Maria Trapp-The Story of the Trapp Family Singers - Ch. 12 p. 4

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

- St. Augustine

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Where to stay?

One of the dilemmas which caused the itinerary panic attack last week was deciding how to fit where we want to stay into where we want to be. I discovered those were two very different things. 

My original itinerary was based purely on geographically organizing our top choices of "what to see" and then finding logical choices of towns to stay in. Also, I knew we wanted to stay at either Ashford Castle or Dromoland Castle for the last 2 nights of trip. That was going to be our big splurge and was both a what-to-see and where-to-stay on our list.

Well, what I immediately discovered when I started trying to make reservations was that this itinerary didn't work at all! Many places were much farther apart than I realized when I looked at the map. Ashford Castle turned out to be too far from everything else we planned to see and Dromoland Castle was booked for the nights we wanted to stay, unless of course we wanted a suite at over $1,000 for two nights. This happened with other places I hoped to stay at as well. They just weren't available on the days I had charted on the itinerary or they were more expensive than I anticipated. Not only that, I found some really wonderful looking places to stay that seemed like just what we were looking for, but which didn't fit into the plan I had laid out. This is how I ended up chucking the first itinerary.

Lesson learned - don't wait to start looking at places to stay until after your itinerary is completed.  The places you stay, or want to stay, really form your trip. You have to take both accommodations and sites into account when planning an itinerary.  Having only planned single-city itineraries before, this was a beginners ignorance lesson for me.

Two of my big goals in itinerary making were to not spend days and days just driving and to stay at least 2 nights in every place we go, if possible. I want to actually experience Ireland, not just see it through the windshield! Choosing our B&B's and hotels and mapping the distance between them started revealing whole new things about my itinerary. 

Hence the massive reworking last week. I'm now happy with what we have, although it did mean a few sacrifices. Stay tuned for a place-by-place peek at our itinerary!

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