Recently, at my library, I delivered a program called “Trip Planning 2.0: How To Research Your Vacation Online” where I gave registrants a “guided tour” of some the most useful sites for trip planning, both well-known (Google, TripAdvisor) and lesser-known (Reddit, FourSquare).
(The program was basically an expanded version of a blog post I did before our Kauai trip about how I researched everything I could about Kauai.)
My biggest point in the presentation was this…
The anticipation of planning a trip can be (almost) as exciting as the trip itself. And today, technology gives you so much more information in advance of your trip in a way that wasn’t possible even a decade or so ago which helps raise the excitement level even more!
From being able to watch YouTube videos of the beaches you’ll walk on to sites that allow you to directly ask questions to locals before your trip to all but guaranteeing you’ll get the lowest possible price for hotels and flights, we live in an amazing time.
So, with our pending trip to the Dominican Republic, I’ve been using what I taught in that class myself – visiting YouTube for everything from videos of attractions we might visit to the the cuisine of the Dominican Republic to videos from a drone flying over Bavaro Beach. Googling up a storm. Reading blogs. Reading reviews on TripAdvisor. Checking a forum created by people who love the resort chain we’re going to. Reading Reddit. On and on and on.
Last night, I was surfing and remembered I hadn’t really spent a lot of time on Twitter reading up on what people were saying about the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana and our hotel. (My point about Twitter in the presentation was that it was best for timely information so there wasn’t as much point about checking on Twitter a month ago when we booked the trip.)
One tweet caught my eye which was an interview with a guy who manages the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and completely randomly, in the interview, he mentioned that Ringo Starr was coming to their resort on THIS SATURDAY NIGHT!
Now I’m already on record that I’m a huge Beatles fan and seeing Paul McCartney a couple summers ago was a highlight of my life. But I never thought I’d have the opportunity to see the only other living Beatle in concert – and here it is falling right into my lap!
Had a chat with Shea about the various ways to make it happen and after some conversations with her parents and my parents (who are going on the trip with us) this morning, Shea’s folks very kindly offered to babysit the kids and then Shea, me and my folks would go to the concert which is at a nearby resort!
I went online to book tickets (I was a bit surprised there were some available last night and still today but when I went to book the tickets, I realised why this might be – they were being sold on the Dominican equivalent of Ticketmaster but with no obvious way to view the site in English. This is a bit intimidating if you’re doing an expensive financial transaction but again, with the use of modern technology – namely Google Chrome offering to auto-translate every page as I walked through the process – I managed to get the tickets ordered. At least I hope so – I’ll find out Saturday night!)
So yeah, technology has helped me have a second Once in a Lifetime experience – how cool is that (and again, technology even gives me a preview of what the show will be like – here’s a clip of a Ringo Starr All Star Band concert that happened less than 48 hours ago in South Carolina!)