Recently, I was in Melbourne for, quite literally, a day and a half, just to watch ballet with my friend Rose. It was the Graeme Murphy’s version of Swan Lake, which I found was very fantabulous! Thoroughly enjoyed it! Can’t believe I took so long to watch it.
Anyways, I genuinely like Melbourne but whenever I go down, I don’t often have the time to wander around, either due to work or because of work… Such as my body deciding to take a gigantic break and sleep in when I am down there -_-’
However, with only a day and a bit to spare, I decided to plan this out a little bit. This is mostly because, other than Sydney, Melbourne has a large bunch of arty farty Japanese shops, as well as bountiful Japanese groceries stores to shop from. My only regret is not bringing my bigger luggage (of course, if I had done so, I would have splurged like a retard). Also, props to Qantas, Melbourne and Canberra airport baggage handlers this time. Chucked in plates/bowls and rice crackers, and none of them were broken!
I tend to plan trips when I am on a time constraint and want plenty of things done. It doesn’t matter whether I was familiar with the city or not – the key thing is whether they have good accessible public transport or not. This was especially applied to my Japan trip, because I wanted to see so much but I had only 17 days… Many days, too many things to do/see/buy.
Japan’s trip took me about 8 months to plan. Mostly to whittle down the list of things I wanted to see. I ended up completely killing the Yokohama trip, for example, because there was just too much to see and I don’t want to try and squeeze it into one day. I sort of like to soak in the atmosphere, take my time to take photos and read things and then wander into places I wouldn’t have other wise found or see things I wouldn’t have otherwise seen.
Such as school kids carrying randoseru, or wandering around a neighborhood to see the amazingly tiny apartments (and thusly getting lost in said neighborhood), or seeing shutters on shops that are painted with pictures from Tales of Genji. It was an amazing experience.
So, how do I plan such trips?
I am a person who likes lists. I might not follow them (in fact, I usually don’t), but it gives me a rough ball park of what to work with. For Melbourne and Japan trip, for example, I have set myself some goals. Melbourne’s trip was easy – I wanted to buy Japanese goods to tide me over, plus visit a couple of stores that has no online shopping presence. My list of things look some thing like this:
Visit Made in Japan
Visit Tokyo Bike
Have a bathtub session
I have been so busy lately, I only had about bits and pieces of 5 days to plan it so I did at least get some snacks home! Particularly because I have been having some crazy Senbei cravings over the last 6 months!
After the list, I then map out where each place is relevant to my hotel. My idea of walking distance is quite huge, so I was quite comfortable with chugging all the way to Lygon St or whatever, it didn’t matter. However, Suzuran and Tokyo Bike was a little aways, so I had to take all that into consideration.
After mapping things out, I then set myself a time limit. No matter what happens, besides dinner, I should do most of my sightseeing/shopping between 9-5 or the space of 8 hours maximum. One is so that I don’t feel overwhelmed, 2) to make sure I don’t empty my wallets and 3) that I have ample rest for the next day. Despite that, however, when I am on holidays, I largely end up sleeping less because I don’t sleep well without my bolster.
Finally, I set myself up to “win”. 1) know where the amenities/facilities are. Toilets, lockers (if I have checked out of hotel, where do bags go) and timing (how long to x and back, traffic included?). 2) what’s vital, what’s not? Sure, the list may have been whittled down, but I might be forced to give some stuff up so what can I afford to give up?
How did I fare? I missed out on ramen, couldn’t find a shop I was happy with plus I kept eating (LOLOLOL) everywhere, since I wanted to try bits and pieces of everything. I also missed out on visiting Tokyo Bike as I felt it was no longer worth it to go have a look. I know the price, and, contrary to my earlier thoughts, they do do delivery interstate, so I don’t have to worry about it either.
However, I think I actually fared better than what I started out with. Managed to find a few things I didn’t intend to find PLUS I get to taste the freshest Uni sushi (from Suzuran) I have tasted as yet (didn’t have any in Japan itself) and found the bestest tasting Senbei outside of Japan. I am glad I didn’t find any more things anyway – my bag was stuffed!
I was genuinely happy!
I am not the greatest planner on earth, but this works for me, and I think that somewhat planning trips, if you’re there for more than just lounging around, really helps efficiency