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Tori’s Top Travel Planning Tips

Tori’s Top Travel Planning Tips

Well folks, this winter has been a bust. Recently, Scott said to me,

“Tori, if you had asked me to draw the worst possible winter weather pattern, I couldn’t have done a better job”. 

Personally, I’ve moved on to planning Spring and Summer and invite you to look forward with me, armed with some expert tips for trip daydreaming! 

  1. Choose Your Goal:

Here's a golden nugget (and a stress-saver) for trip planning: focus on a central activity, or even a single route. Start with that goal and build out from there. When I visited Vietnam, I went for six weeks - but the reason I went was to climb a SINGLE rock climb I saw in a photo! It gave me a goal and dictated travel dates, hostels, and locations. 

Whether it's hiking, cycling, or rock climbing, it can inform the trip length, where you stay, and even what you’ll eat and how you’ll travel! It adds structure to your trip and ensures you make the most of your time.

  1. Find Your Hiking Trail: 

I've got a (not-so) secret weapon for you – AllTrails. This app helps you discover the best trails around, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned hiker. It's like having a personal trail guide in your pocket - and the free version is all I use (though you can certainly upgrade if you’re interested in the extra features). 

You can filter hikes by difficulty, length, and my favourite filter: hiker rating. I always start with hikes that are rated 4.5-Stars or higher, and work ‘down’ from there. 

  1. Heat Maps for Cycling Routes:

Many of you cycling enthusiasts will know about Heat Maps, but if you don’t - you’re missing out! They help you discover the most-traveled cycling routes in an area, which often means they’re the most beautiful, the safest, or go past the best coffee shops. Head to Strava's Global Heatmap and plan your ride like a pro. It's like having insider info on the best roads and trails, all at your fingertips.

  1. Buy a Map (& Talk to Jon!) for Paddling Routes:

I asked Jon for his best tips for planning paddling trips, and he said “Come talk to me!”. So, come talk to him! 

Alternatively, he suggests using one of Kevin Callan’s great guidebooks, or finding a guidebook for the area you’re heading to. He also strongly recommends investing in a good map of the area, as these maps tell you important things like portage difficulty and length. We all know that info like that can save a trip - and a relationship with your tripping partner.  

  1. Bonus tip because I love food:

For the best culinary experiences, I swear by searching Google or AI for a specific genre or dish. Type in "best Vietnamese food in Toronto" or “best Tacos in Kentucky” (yes, I have done that exact search) and you’re sure to find articles and foodie lists. It will garner FAR better results than simply typing in “great restaurants” and will be up-to-date and more inclusive than travel blogs or books.

Let's make this spring and summer one for the books. We deserve it after this sad non-winter in Ontario!

Plus, whether you're conquering trails, camping on an island, or cycling a country gravel road, the planning can be as thrilling as the adventure itself. 

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