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Today I wanted to write a bit of a different post, talking about something that I noticed on our recent trip to Europe. Like probably many who are reading this post, I am the “trip planner”. We often see references to P1 or P2 (talking about Player 1 or Player 2) and it’s not uncommon to see references to “P1” (the active miles and points participant) talking about how “P2” is not as involved in the miles and points earning or trip planning. So while I will say that I ENJOY doing this kind of planning, I was also noticing as part of our recent trip that it often took a bit of a toll on my vacation.

I thought I would mention this to talk about what it was like and see if others feel the same way.

How I Became “The Trip Planner”

Before I start, I should mention that I did talk this over with my wife and she read this post before it went out. I don’t want it to seem that I think she is not “pulling her weight” or that I am bitter about our division of labor. On the contrary, my wife and I are open about the different tasks that each of us do (in life as well as in travel) and I feel like we have a fair division of labor. It’s just that due to the way that our life kind of worked out over time, I have taken on the role of “trip planner”. In the early days of our marriage, we didn’t travel very much. Then in 2014, I started getting into miles and points and that has fueled most of our traveling since then. Since I am “the expert” in this regard in our family, I’m the one that plans the trips, books the flights / hotels / rental cars and plans the activities.

On the other hand, Carolyn is the primary packer for all of our trips – even on solo trips of mine, I always seem to run through things with her to make sure that I’m not forgetting anything. In fact, when we surprised our kids with a trip to Disney, she packed everything (in secret!) for an entire week’s worth of a trip, including food for cooking in a hotel room.

What A Trip Might Look Like For Me

I saw this meme and while I did not write this (and the woman below is not my wife), it’s…. not dissimilar to how our trips might look like.

a woman smiling at the camera

As I mentioned, because I know what kind of miles and points we have, I’m the one that generally books those flights. And I’ll also admit that there’s a bit of a “control freak” side of things – where I’m worried that if I let Carolyn or someone else plan the vacation that they “won’t do it right” or we “won’t get a good deal”. While we generally all talk together about what kind of activities we want to do, I’m typically the one that plans when we do each activity, along with how we’re getting there, when we need to leave, etc.

So while the rest of the family is in “vacation mode”, my brain is always whirring with things like

  • “What’s next?”
  • “How do we get there?”
  • “What do we do if something goes wrong?”

It Makes It Hard To Relax On Vacations

I wouldn’t say that worrying about all the logistics of trip planning makes it hard for me to ENJOY vacations (after all, all that planning is something I also enjoy), but it does make it challenging to RELAX.

a white background with black text

This was something that I felt on our most recent trip to London and Paris. In some ways, it was almost a bit of a relief when the trip (or each day) was over, since it meant that I no longer had to worry about where we were going or what we needed to do if things went wrong (like our flights home getting canceled!)

Suggestions On How To “Let Go”?

I don’t want to say that I didn’t have fun on the trip. This anxiety was just something I felt a bit more on this trip. I’m open to suggestions from others who have found themselves in this situation as the main travel planners. As I mentioned earlier, Carolyn did read this post and we have talked about this before. One simple solution would be to let her plan more of the activities or daily tasks. I think that would still cause me a bit of anxiety because I’m such a “planner” type personality, but the only way I might overcome that is by trying it.

We also have an upcoming trip to Yosemite National Park where my dad and stepmom have done a lot of the planning for our time in the park, so that may be an opportunity to get a bit of a more “relaxing” trip. Of course, I still had to plan all the flights, hotels and rental car for GETTING there 🙂

2024 London / Paris Trip

The Bottom Line

Because I’m the “trip planner” in our family, it sometimes makes it hard to truly relax on a vacation. And while I still enjoy vacations, in part because I truly do enjoy the planning process, I’m curious if there are others that feel the same way.

Any other trip planners out there? How does that affect your trips / vacations? Any suggestions for the rest of us? Leave them in the comments below

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