You are RIGHT! I have started organizing a new trip: this May I will go to the Aran Island.
There are many reasons why I picked up this particular location, one of which is the journey of Nicolas Bouvier to this island in the early 80s. I am thrilled to visit- for the first time- the place where Nicolas Bouvier was writing one of his books titled: Journal d’Aran et d’autres lieux. As I decided to go there few months ago I’m constantly thinking about it, and most of all, about my principal motivation. I simply try to answer myself WHY do I wish to go to the Aran Island. Every week I find alternative answers and my anxiety is growing slowly. I’m pretty sure that I’ll have much more to say about this trip AFTER my return in mid May, however, I thought to use this opportunity to focus on the technical aspects of travels in general.
Where to begin?
When planning a new trip you need to consider your destination. The way I did is slightly more expensive as I had an idea of my dream destination FIRST, and checked the travel options LATER. In this case I was determined to visit THESE islands and there was no other option. If you are less determined and more flexible the choices you have are almost unlimited. Start with the cheap flights option and check what are the most popular travel destinations from the nearest airport. This might already give you a nice bunch of interesting places to visit. And also, you get this amazing emotion of being surprised for free.
If you are as determined as I was check some alternatives and do not limit the flight search to the nearest airport. It might be much cheaper to travel from a nearby city than from the nearest airport which is also true for the destination city. In my case I searched all of the Irish airports as the island is relatively small and large cities are well connected. Eventually, I will arrive to Dublin and will continue my trip to Galway by bus.
The plane ticket
People usually try to find the cheapest option available, often neglecting unfavorable flight time. At least in the case of the European flights this is not always true. Rather, the day of the week is what matters. Flights tend to be cheaper in the middle of the week, peaking up on the weekends, but it varies across airports and airlines. What you need to remember about is that buying a very early or very late flight often forces you to pay for an overnight stay in a hotel, as public transportation might not always operate in extreme hours. If you are adventurous and you don’t mind spending night on the airport that’s fine. It happened to me once and fortunately this was a Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam (I will reveal the details of this adventure later on this blog).
If you bought a plane ticket and made sure that you’re able to reach final destination or at least one of its intermediate stops check the accommodation. I usually do it at the same time of the plane ticket purchase, just to make sure that the dates I picked up are not particularly crowded and the price for a hotel is not exaggerated. In the case of the Aran Island this was particularly important as the main island is really small and the accommodation options are limited. I wrote couple of emails with a request for information and availability. Not surprisingly one of the hotels was fully booked more than 2 months in advance.
Oh yes, this is the real island that I am going to, therefore I had to check the timetable of the ferry. As you might guess it goes only 3 times a day which makes it a bit difficult to coordinate with the bus from Dublin. I hope to buy a ticket for this ferry tonight.
Try to imagine the basic activities, including your favorite sports, and the renting options. While in some places it might be very attractive it sometimes is better to bring the equipment with you. This time I had to rely on the local bikes rental office as my intention is to get around by bike and flying with my own bike was not an option.
To make sure that I took all necessary things I usually write everything down in my Moleskine notepad and Moleskine calendar. This is also a good way to check the dates and make sure that there are no holes in your plan. It might happen that you buy a plane ticket and then you continue your journey by bus and you suddenly discover that the bus ticket is for the next day. This is not a pleasant thing to discover, however, it’s better this way. Even if you find your mistake while still being at home is gives you a chance to reschedule your trip, rebook the bus ride or whatever needed. If you find out after landing in unknown place in late evening you might be very surprised and it won’t be a nice surprise.
Right. A month before my trip that’s pretty much everything. I am looking forward this trip anxiously. I have already some spectacular short movies and breathtaking photos in my head and please, keep your fingers crossed for a good weather.
What should you remember about?
- check alternative airports
- check availability of public transportation in early/late hours
- check the local and national holiday to avoid peak seasons (unless you wish to participate in some local/national feasts)
- check the schedule of your trip and dates printed on your tickets