I’m so used to boring business travel (business travel isn’t inherently boring, but after 7 years I just don’t really care anymore) that when I’m actually going on vacation I hate looking up stuff. I used to always drag someone along under the guise of a free trip as long as they did the activity planning, but ultimately I have learned that I don’t like the places they pick and I’d rather just take a trip all by myself. I visited Budapest all by myself back in 2011 (you can read about some of that trip in my archives) and I saw everything I wanted to see.
Now that a United schedule change threw a (secretly hoped for) kink in my travel plans instead of pretty much flying directly to Seychelles and having 5 days to spend doing NOTHING (my favorite vacation activity) I find myself with 2 days to kill in Ethiopia. Since I doubt Ethiopia will show up in my travel plans again soon, especially with US Airways leaving Star Alliance and therefore limiting my chances to book on Ethiopian Air I figure I need to make as much of this trip as I can. Honestly I know very little about Ethiopia so now it is time to research, research, research! Since I’m out of Hilton points and it sounds like although it was a schedule change by the airline, it may be a tough sell on getting a voucher to the normal transit hotel I decided to book a hotel on my own. That meant I had to bust out old TripAdvisor because there is no Marriott property there. I don’t have enough time to manufacture spending on a Starwood AMEX to get that bonus and there aren’t Chase Ultimate Rewards partners I can transfer to and I’m not too keen on the “book with UR points” option for hotels since the UR cash rates are always much higher than OTA prices. Since I didn’t have points making my choice I used my criteria of parts of the city I will be visiting and then just good reviews from kind people online. Of course I will give my full report after the trip.
Ultimately I need to figure out where to go in Addis Ababa and how to kill more time in Dublin since I’ve already been there once and TBEX is shorter than I thought it way.
Everyone has their own vacation style. I believe there are certain things I must see when I go to a city and apparently I really like communist museums because I’ve been to the Museum of Communism in Prague, the House of Terror in Budapest, and the most appealing museum to me in Addis Ababa is the Red Terror Museum.
How do I plan?
I have all of my info in my Kayak profile so I’ll print that out, then I make sure I know how I’m getting from point A to point B and its cost…so is there a hotel shuttle, will I cab it, or will I take public transit and how much will I need for that.
Then I make a list of the places I want to go, admission fee, how to get there from the hotel and I try to group destinations together. I’ve always just played it by ear with food and although I am a foodie in Charlotte, on vacation I do consider eating at a local McDonalds part of my trip experience and I honestly usually eat my first meal in a new land there. Call it a little bit of comfort in an uncomfortable place. I’m long since over any issues with eating at fancy places alone, but on vacation I don’t eat too many places with white table cloths. Maybe this time I will look into more high end cuisine. I just have a feeling the Hilton restaurants in Seychelles will zap my whole food budget for the trip.
Then once everything is plotted out I usually just throw it all out the window and just sleep in and not leave the hotel. It’s horrible that I say that, but I am just not really a tourist. I travel for pictures and for the experience but I couldn’t care less if I see the Panama Canal this month. I’ll go there because if I don’t then people will wonder what I did in Panama, but oh well. Part of my enjoyment actually is learning about the culture and I’ve learned more about Ethiopia in the past few days than I ever did in school. *THAT* is why I like to travel…oh, and it’s easier to learn geography when you actually go places.