Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Boston 2011 - Preplanning

(If I don't start posting about Boston now, I may never do it!)

I know it seems silly, but we put a lot of work into planning this trip, and I've had a bunch of people ask me "how on earth do you plan a week long trip for 5 people?" Research research research! Read books, read websites, ask friends. A book I stumbled upon when planning our 2003 Boston trip was The Rough Guide to Boston. I really liked the layout, information, and advice provided, so I searched to see if there was a newer edition, and it turned out that a 2011 version was set to be published in April. Perfect!

Much like our Disney trips, I planned for 1-2 "primary targets" per day, plus a list of smaller secondary targets to see if we could fit those in around the biggies. I actually did not put too much emphasis on planning food because I didn't know exactly when we would be where, though I did try to have a few obvious things in mind (what might be good when we do the North End? is there anything near Harvard? etc). Mostly, we just played it by ear on food, either looking around and taking a leap of faith, or better yet, ask a local! With targets in hand, I started looking at maps to see what things made sense together. Honestly, it turned out that the best map was the one from AAA. It had a close up of the area we would be in, and I literally cut it out of the larger map. It was hard to cut it up! But it was also absolutely worth it. We carried it everywhere on our trip and used it quite a bit. Now, to make an actual plan.

I made a list of all the primary targets we had in mind, including operating hours (especially days closed!) and cost. I plotted each one on the map using tiny snippets of Post-It notes so I could see what things logically went together. I started trying to make a list, but every time I decided to move something, I had to scratch it out and write it again. I tried doing it on a computer, but that wasn't working for me either. I finally realized that I wanted columns for each day, and I needed to be able to just move things around under the day headers.

Like this! I love Post-It notes. How did the world function without them? Once I had each thing written on a Post-It and some obvious things grouped together (Harvard and MIT are both in Cambridge, the Mapparium and Museum of Fine Art are both on the southeast side, etc), scheduling went much faster. After about an hour, I finally had something I was happy with. What a way to spend Memorial Day weekend! It was actually Dad taking a photo of my Post-Its that made me think to document the planning process. (He swears he wasn't making fun of me, but I'm not so sure! LOL)

Now all we had to do was hope the weather would cooperate. (It didn't, but we didn't know that at the time.)

Continue Reading: Boston 2011 - Day 1: Arrival

Currently feeling: figuring it all out

1 comment:

  1. It was a fun way to spend Memorial Day! I'm sitting here smiling as I read your account of the planning. We just can't ignore that we are a family of geeks!


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