What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Vacation Planning

Golden Nugget
Las Vegas, Nevada

As you know, we've been on our winter vacation. We arrived home yesterday morning at about 8 am. Like many of our vacations, this one went off without a hitch. The only reason for this is excellent vacation planning and that is something that must be done in advance if you want a smooth ride. Don't underestimate the importance of planning your vacation!

We grappled with the destination because originally we were to go to Caribbean. So knowing that we went for our passports in early November. The procedure was rather pain free and since we figured the writing is on the wall to needing them to get into the United States, what the heck. So planning for our vacation actually started in early November. By mid November my husband, the vacation planning guru, had more information than we would ever need and by the second last week of November we were ready to book the vacation. However, we decided to wait until the passports arrived and it was a good thing as the couple we were going with had a family emergency and couldn't go. We decided on the spurr of the moment to join another couple in Las Vegas, our number one tourist destination. But by now you are likely wondering where the planning came in. Thankfully, my husband took over!

Within a week, my husband had booked our flight to Las Vegas on Spirit Airlines, picked up two copies of the 2007 American Casino Guide, rented our vehicle from Alamo, talked to our casino host and booked our room at the Golden Nugget for reduced room rates. With the big rocks out of the way, he turned his attention to the stones. This is directly from Stephen R. Covey's principles but he would never admit it. The first rule of thumb when vacation planning is to plan the big things, those things that are absolutely necessary. Thankfully the internet really helps to get these things in place all from the comfort of your home.

Now came the stones. These are the things you would really like to experience and for some will form an itinerary. For this trip we knew we wanted to enjoy time with our friends, take in one show, The Rat Pack is Back, and do some sightseeing. So those things were semi-planned but no schedule was made. In some cases, a schedule is necessary especially for those events that may not be repeated but for our vacation that wasn't necessary. Our choice of restaurants was semi-decided but only because we have been to the area so many times and because the vast majority of our meals are comped anyway. Again with the stones the internet is an amazing tool. Be sure to check for discounts and coupons for any of these types of events.

Next came the sand. These were events and spurr of the moment things. There was no need to plan at all but these were things that if and when we had time and could work in would be nice to do. This included things like a little shopping or picking up souvenirs. Be sure to check for online offers and discounts even for the little things.

From there you can add the water if you want. Be warned that these are little things that can really add up in time and drain you of a lot of energy if you go about them the wrong way especially if they add to sensory overload. If your vacation is longer than a week go easy on these types of activities or change them to activities that involve quiet time and relaxation. For example, my husband and I took a bit of time to sit quietly by the pool at the Golden Nugget to soak in a little sun and enjoy the shark tank. It was a much needed break from the noise and glitter of the casinos. Quite often when we are staying in Las Vegas we stay in the downtown core so I will do a quick power walk on Fremont Street before breakfast and often will do one or more power walks when the noise and glitz gets to me. Other times I will sit for 15 minutes simply people watching. Both activities give my mind a break. So think of the water as those activities that enhance your vacation experience, rejuvenate your spirit and cost nothing.

Ok so as far as actual vacation planning, you have a good idea of how we do just about every trip. But there is more to a vacation than just the planning. Once you are there and even on the way the camera comes out. It really helps if you are into scrapbooking or even just wanting a brief pictorial of your vacation to keep some type of journal. For this trip I used my PDA, folding keyboard, MiniWord and my trademark notepad. The doc files can easily be uploaded to the desktop. Other times I use the laptop and quite often a simple small notepad with pen. It is nice to note the little things about a picture like why you took it in the first place. I took about 300 pictures this trip most of which have little annotations for when I make the DVDs and scrapbooking. It just reallys adds a lot to your memories. A journal is also nice for making notes of expenses or other tidbits.

Now for a word on clothing and shoes, KISS! Seriously, I've seen so many people who's feet are obviously hurting. They cannot be enjoying themselves when they hurt. I took one pair of black semi-dress shoes that were well broke in along with my AirWalk sandles and Minnetonka ankle highs. Everything I brough to wear was geared towards those black shoes. After the first day my left foot pad was so irritated we went out and bought a pair of black track shoes. Problem solved but it goes without saying that even well broke in shoes can cause a problem in different environments. My choice on clothes would be my nice flannel pj's but that isn't quite acceptable in public so I like to take a couple pairs of jeans, wrinkle proof dress pants, dressier type shirts, a couple of blazzars and a dress or two. For this trip I focused on suedes as well. They travel relatively well. With mixing and matching it is rather easy to be well dressed for any event. Go for that wrinkle free if possible. Even though most motels have irons in the room, the last think I feel like doing on vacation is ironing clothes!

Last but not least make sure you have all medications you will need. You may not be able to buy equilivalents of over the counter drugs at your destination so take what you normally would use in their original containers. Always take additional prescription medications with you divided into two lots, one kept on your person and the other either on your carry-on or checked baggage or vehicle if not exposed to extreme weather conditions. It also is a good idea if you wear contact lenses or glasses to carry a spare pair along with your prescription just in case.

Enjoy your next vacation!

Garden Gnome
© 2007