Planning a trip – Part 3

In Tips, Tricks & Recommendations
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This post is also available in: nbNorsk (Norwegian Bokmål)

This is the third part of our blog post series about planning caching trips. You can read the first part here and the second part here.

It’s the Easter trip that’s the main focus of this series, but major parts of this post will include our summer vacation as well.

Attractions

It’s often nice to visit a bit more than just a beach, the hotel and a film canister at the side of the road. And that’s why we often use a lot of time on finding attractions worth visiting. A lot of times, caches will bring us to places like this. And other times, cool places bring us to cool caches.

The type of places one like to visit is very individual, and you have to decide for yourself what you think is most important.

We enjoy both visiting National Parks, and the small and unknown attractions not often visited by the masses.

The huge cow above (Salem Sue, The World’s Largest Holstein Cow) is one of those attractions you can see from far away. Which is exactly what we did. And I’m glad we decided to take the short detour up there. We also found a cache 😉

Another thing that’s great about places like this, is that you’re often there alone.

Gather ideas from wherever you can

Sometimes we visit places simply because they’re famous, or because we’ve hard about it in some way. We have for example visited both the biggest ball of twine (where we helped make it bigger), and the biggest one made by one man.

Make notes of places you want to visit when hearing about them, so you have them ready when you start planning trips nearby.

We visited the twine ball above only because we’ve heard about it in “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota“.

We got lucky with the timing, and got a personal tour of the museum and were allowed inside the glas housing. So this relatively small ball turned into a fun and awesome experience. What I’m trying to say, don’t ignore the smaller and lesser known attractions!

Atlas Obscura, RoadsideAmerica etc.

Atlas Obscura is a magnificent source for fun and different attractions. The easiest is to use “Explore the Map“, and see what you can find where you’re going. Click on an attraction to view more details.

For this trip, we found a small and somewhat different aviation museum, right ourside the Riga airport. The museum is not much more than a collection of old soviet airplanes and helicopters. So we don’t expect the area to be full of people, but with strange aviation machines. Airplanes we probably won’t see other places. And yes, there’s of course a cache there as well. The pictures in the cache gallery shows the variation in the airplanes here.

For our US road trips, we use RoadsideAmerica.com. We always find a lot of fun places to visit there. RoadsideAmerica.com specializes in roadside attractions, both small and large. Everything from giant statues to impressive works of art and historical places. We’ve found several places worth visiting thanks to this site.

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor have a lot more than just hotel reviews. We also use it to find attractions, places to eat, organized tours etc. It’s not just a place to read reviews, it’s also a nice place to just see what’s available.

You should keep in mind that not everyone like the same as you, and you probably don’t like the same as everyone else. So don’t put too much into the rating, and what’s most popular. Focus more on what appeals to you, and what you think looks tempting. The most popular attractions/tours/etc are usually also the most pricey, and the ones where you find other tourists in abundance 😉

Remember to also check for special restaurants and hotels, that themselves might be considered an attraction worth a visit.

Google and local tourist offices

We enjoy visiting ghost towns, which we often find by simply googling “ghost towns” and the name of the place we’re going. We also use ghosttowns.com.

You will also find several local tourist offices, with their own websites filled with useful information.

For the hours we’re going to spend in Budapest, we found the website We Love Budapest. It has lots of useful information and places worth visiting. Google really is your friend when trying to find sites like this!

Facebook

We are also members of several travel related groups and pages on Facebook, like The american Southwest, National Parks Traveler, ReiseEksperten and several national parks.

Groups and pages like this are great for inspiration, both attractions and destinations. In addition to ask for advice in some of them, you can also get a lot of great info just by reading the answers to other peoples questions. And you might be able to chime in with your own answers.

Geocaches and other geocachers

The next part will cover the first part of how we select caches. But it’s not a secret that geocaches are a fantastic source to a lot of great experiences and interesting places! Often you can find great places just by looking at caches with lots of favorite points. But even better, look at the number of pictures in the cache gallery. All really great places almost always have lots of photos in the gallery. And with photos, it’s easy to be tempted to go there 😉

Also remember to listen to other geocachers. Speak with people on events. Read logs. Read caching blogs. Watch geocaching vloggers on YouTube.

Geocache of the Week is also often worth checking out.

Friends and family

Maybe you know someone that’s already been to the place you’re planning to visit? Ask them for advice! Listen to their stories. Maybe they’ve visited a place or a restaurant (or something else) that you just have to visit.

We often give advice like this very high priority when deciding where we want to go.

Books

This is not strictly necessary with all the great online resources listed above. But sometimes it’s nice to look at the paper version of Atlas Obscura. We know that the places listed there, is hand selected and probably worth a visit. It’s quicker and easier to read through the different parts here, than to look at the map and search.

We also sometimes order (free) magazines from the local tourist offices.

Keep track of the suggestions

When we find inspiration from so many different sources, it’s important to keep track of which ones we want to visit. And we do that in the exact same way as we do for hotels and other stuff. We use comments and the link collection on cachetur.no.

Opening hours

When we finally decide on what we’re actually going to visit, we gather information about opening hours, ticket prices etc. Remember to check the opening hours for the day you’re actually going there. Many places have opening hours adjusted for the season, and some places have closed on some weekdays (usually Sunday, Monday or Tuesday). But there’s also a lot of places you can visit that’s open 24/7. And a lot of places can be visited after closing hours as well, just a bit limited.

Once we have all the information we need, we add it as a waypoint in the trip. We use the geocoding tool on cachetur.no, or Google Maps, to find the coordinates.

We add the information about opening hours, ticket prices etc. as a comment on the waypoint. If we need to add more info, like addresses etc., we add that in the print description.

And then we continue like this, until we’ve decided all the places we want to visit and found all the information we need about them.

Do you have any related tips or tricks we haven’t mentioned above?

This post is also available in: nbNorsk (Norwegian Bokmål)

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