At the recent PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Conference a speaker waxed lyrical about their new web site, which would relieve its users of the burden of travel planning, letting them get hours of planning done in a few minutes instead. And they considered that a good thing!
I have to disagree. As far as I’m concerned, the process of planning, researching, dreaming and anticipating exactly where you are going, where you will stay, what you will do and all the little details surrounding those things is every bit as much fun as the trip itself. And it can certainly last a lot longer!
That might sound like an over-the-top claim, but there’s plenty of academic research that supports the view that not only is the anticipation as enjoyable as the reality, in time it often replaces the reality in our memories of what actually occurred. Here’s a for-instance: let’s imagine you are planning a week’s getaway to the Caribbean. You anticipate blue skies, clear water, white sand and blissful days of rest with your partner, punctuated only by sensational meals at cute little beachside restaurants serving fresh-from-the-ocean seafood.
What happens might be a little different: it rains half of your time there; there’s an algal bloom that makes swimming hazardous for the first few days; your partner is stressed about work and can’t stop checking email; and by the third day you have tried every item on every menu in a three-mile radius. Which isn’t to say that your vacation isn’t going well, or that you’d rather be home… it’s just not what you anticipated.
Guess what? Exhaustive studies show that many of us–to some extent–replace the reality with what we’d anticipated, and use these combined, curated memories to inform our plans for future trips; even more surprising, we describe our vacation to friends without the low points, thereby luring them into our constructed reality.
Take your time!
Viator understands the power of anticipation and the pleasure you can derive from researching your next trip. We assist your process by providing detailed tour descriptions, customer reviews and photos, along with videos for many of our tours. We also make suggestions for alternative tours in the same or nearby locations, in many cases alerting you to tours and activities you would not have guessed existed.
We think the trip planning process can be a lot of fun, and rather than make it shorter, we’d like to make it longer, helping you make better decisions about what you’ll do on vacation, all the while enjoying the unhurried, pleasure-filled process of making them.
- Rod Cuthbert