Planning for our upcoming overseas trip started last year.
Mr S has always had an interest in the western front of WWI. So I wanted to plan a trip where we could participate in a 100th anniversary memorial ceremony.
I've always wanted to visit Brittany. There is something romantic, "other" and remote about it for me. OK, I get that it might seem strange to someone from the UK who can catch a ferry over to think of Brittany as remote but there you have it.
So the first thing I did in planning for our trip was to look for a battlefields tour that would take us to a memorial ceremony and to other western front sites. I found an Australian company that would do the Paschendalle memorial service in October. Perfect. Mr S knows a lot about that battle and it fits in with a time we can both take LSL.
We've never been on an organised bus trip and I don't know how we'll go – with the morning bustle, stuck with other people, having to listen to tour guides. Mr S likes to argue about interpretations of history and he has an immense capacity for remember facts, and will no doubt find some errors by the tour guide's errors.
Anyway, with that locked in, I proceeded to plan the rest of the trip around the bus trip. I wanted to incorporate the end of term break with Long Service Leave, so we didn't have to use too much LSL.
I roughly planned how long we should be on the road before the bus trip, which leaves from and returns to Paris, and decided that we should stay in Paris for a few days after the trip.
With a rough guide I looked for flights. Mr S won't travel on budget airlines. We wanted to go with Qantas and get the extra leg room seats in the small economy section Qantas has on the upper deck. We got those two years ago when we travelled to London. More leg room than premium economy and such a small section of economy so no noisy crowds and close to premium economy that they don't place babies there.
I booked the flights. But bugger!
Qantas code shares with Emirates to Paris and Emirates doesn't put economy upstairs. Nor do they allow pre-purchase of extra leg room seats. Luckily we are on Qantas from Sydney to Dubai and got our seats.
With that done, I did no actual planning for months.
I borrowed books from the library: travel guides for France, coffee table books on the most beautiful villages in France, travel guides on Brittany. I read travel brochures. I asked friends who had recently been to France questions.
I daydreamed and thought and made rough notes.
And then I was ready to plot out my trip!