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Planning a New Trip

We have decided to take our next journey, this time visiting Argentina and surrounding area in March 2010. Having never been there, we are already beginning to plan our time in that part of the world. Our schedules dictate that we will have only two weeks to take this trip, so now the fun begins as we decide what we will see and do during our time on the road. We will devote several blog entries between now and our departure to provide some insight on how we plan a trip such as this within the constraints of time and cost.

Our first priority with planning is to put the major to / from air piece in place, especially since we try to redeem airline miles wherever possible to cut the costs of a long international flight. In this case we had initially looked at going in February but March provided a better choice of dates and the mileage we had to use went down because we were now entering shoulder season. After consulting some Internet sources about the weather during that time, we locked in our dates for the air travel to / from Buenos Aires.

Next, our planning takes a high level look at our days on the ground and begins to plot our route. We built a ‘wish list’ of places we want to see and experiences we want to have, which was based upon buying and reviewing an up-to-date guidebook and spending time on the Internet, viewing travelogues and country tourism sites. In this case we had a long list to choose from, ranging from visits to Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, to trains, ferries and bus trips that looked intriguing. We began with what we knew we absolutely wanted to do, which was to see Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls, and then built several scenarios from there. We have a propensity for trying to do too much on trips, so we tried to scale back to not make this an endurance contest, in addition to a vacation. Trying to maximize ground transportation, to see as much as possible, is usually tempered with one internal flight on such a short trip, so we spent time determining where and when that should be.

After some give and take and throwing out items from the wish list, we now have a working itinerary that we are reviewing against transportation schedules and cost. After working with this for a few days, we will probably make a few more changes and then book the internal flight next. Doing this research is a challenge in itself and I’ll write about our experiences with that in the next entry.

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