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Trip Planning Tips: A Lesson from Experience

WHAT ALMOST HAVING TO LICK WATER OFF THE SIDE OF A CLIFF TAUGHT ME ABOUT PROPER TRIP PLANNING

“Wow, this has been absolutely amazing. The best part about the whole thing is that all I had to do was show up!” As soon as the words escaped my lips, I instantly regretted my decision to break the silence. I would have given anything to not have just said those two sentences. I could feel Kat’s gaze break from the South African bush as her head snapped to the left and she looked in my direction.

The two of us were enjoying a beautiful afternoon lounging on the deck of our safari tent, but in that instant, neither of us was focused on the calls of the birds or the rustling of the vegetation as warthogs made their way towards the watering hole. The heat from Kat’s stare (or the South African sun?) was upon me as she responded, “Well, the next time that the two of us take a trip, you get to plan everything so that I can just show up!” I cursed my foolish decision to speak but sheepishly agreed to her challenge.

Now, I have a confession to make.

I have never planned a trip longer than a three-day weekend. Even though going on a safari has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, I can confidently say that I would not have realized that dream last year if Kat had not planned it. Knowing that I’m a mere neophyte when it comes to trip planning, there is no way that Kat would have let me plan our honeymoon. So, if you follow Worldwide Honeymoon on IG (which you totally should be! – @worldwidehoneymoon), you know that my task is to plan a trip to Peru!

Because I’m in charge of planning the trip, I’ve actually taken the time to read articles from other travel bloggers, research accommodations, and peruse other traveler’s tips as to how best to deal with logistics such as transportation to and from Cusco, Lima, and the Amazon. However, the aspect of the trip that I’ve become most engrossed in during the past two weeks is how to deal with the significant increase in elevation, especially because I would love to hike Rainbow Mountain!


Rainbow Mountain, Peru

Rainbow Mountain

Now, an article about “proper trip preparation” seems like a bit of a drag, right? So, instead of harping on the basics, let me tell you about what happens if you fail to properly plan an excursion and why I now take trip preparation very seriously.

It was our last full day in Cape Town, and Kat and I had been talking about hiking up Lion’s Head as soon as we passed it on our way to the V&A Waterfront upon our arrival. But, there was one problem: Table Mountain was bigger, having an elevation of roughly 3,560 feet, and it was right next to Lion’s Head! And, I’m the type of person that is going to opt for the bigger and more extreme challenge every day of the week. So, without any preparation or research about Table Mountain on my part, I talked Kat into hiking Table Mountain instead of Lion’s Head.

View of Lion's Head and city bowl, Cape Town, South Africa

WHY could I not have been satisfied with hiking Lion’s Head (left peak)?!?

We arrived at the base of Table Mountain, I casually glanced at a map (who needs a map? I’ll just keep walking up until I reach the top!), a park ranger asked us if we needed more water as we only brought a half liter bottle (I unwisely declined), and we embarked on our journey. With proper preparation, I would have known to pack at least five liters of water for the two of us. However, I figured that we run long distances consistently, often without water, so we would not need more than what we had with us.

Trail sign for Table Mountain, South Africa

At least I took the time to jot down the Emergency number!

We consumed all of our water roughly a third of the way up Table Mountain. It was hot, the air was dry, and we were parched. I did not want to admit defeat and descend the mountain to get more water only to have to climb back to our current location, so we continued our hike and simply tried not to think about the fact that we were incredibly thirsty.

The view of the city bowl and cableway, Cape Town, South Africa

The cable car looked extremely tempting at this point.

We consumed all of our water roughly a third of the way up Table Mountain.

As we made our way to a point that was roughly two-thirds of the way up Table Mountain, things quickly went from bad to worse. I was on the verge of an absolute meltdown and severely dehydrated. I stopped to rest in a cut out of a cliff and noticed a small trickle of water running down the side of it. As I bent down to quench my thirst like a dog drinking out of a garden hose, I knew that I had hit an all-time low. This was far from my finest moment and not a picture that I had ever hoped for Kat to see of me.


TripAdvisor

Views from the hike to the top of Table Mountain, South Africa

I was fairly confident that this would be the last view that I saw in my lifetime.

Luckily, another hiker passed by and offered us a liter of water!

I did not have to stoop so low as to drink cliff water! We thanked the hiker profusely and drained the water bottle in roughly one minute. Even though we were not operating at full strength, we knew that we could finish the hike thanks to the kindness of that stranger.

After what felt like an eternity, we made it to the top! Despite all of our struggles, my complete ineptitude, and having to almost drink water off of a cliff, we persevered and were able to enjoy the incredible views!

Chris and Kat at the top of Table Mountain

Don’t let the smiles fool you! We were struggling when we made it to the top!

Views of Camps Bay from Table Moutain

The view from the other side of Table Mountain overlooking Camp’s Bay.

Once we made it to the top, we gorged ourselves on trail mix, energy bars, and water at the gift shop.

As we took a well-deserved ride in the cable car down to the base of Table Mountain, I vowed to myself to more thoroughly research excursions in the future, which brings me back to Peru! I am taking my research for Peru far more seriously after my foolishness the last time that I was tasked with planning a morning excursion.

However, there are only so many articles that I can read, and it’s nearly impossible to read all of the excellent content that has been published about this beautiful country. So, I’m turning to you as our audience. Have you ever been to Peru, and, if so, what advice do you have for us? Do you have any advice for hiking up a mountain and, in particular, Rainbow Mountain? Even if you have never visited Peru, have you ever found yourself in a situation where you wished that you had prepared a bit more for the circumstance? How did you plan your first trip? What trip planning tips do you have?

This is the first article in our Planning for Peru series in which Chris will provide monthly updates and trip planning tips about our progress in preparing for Peru. If you have any advice for us, we’d love to hear from you as this will be our first trip to South America!

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Top Ten Things to Do in Peru - World Wide Honeymoon

Tuesday 7th of January 2020

[…] of a particular locale. In a nutshell, we are the type of couple that prefers to take the time to hike up the mountain rather than simply riding the funicular, snapping a few pictures at the summit, and boarding the […]

Elizabeth Ramsey

Friday 15th of June 2018

Just hilarious and so relate-able! Forward off to my husband (I also am primary trip planner). The trip looks great, South Africa, Rwanda and a safari are on our travel wish list!

Kat

Tuesday 19th of June 2018

Hahaha I'm glad our relationship survived the test! But yes, always do your research ahead of time is the biggest thing we learned. And always bring water! And you're going to fall in love with South Africa, so you better get here soon! <3

Meg Fallon

Monday 11th of June 2018

"I was fairly confident that this would be the last view that I saw in my lifetime." So glad that hike was not your last... Great first post, Chris! Can't wait for more. :)

Chris

Monday 11th of June 2018

Thanks! I had never felt more defeated, but I am happy that we powered through that day!

Kat

Monday 11th of June 2018

Haha he couldn't be more dramatic, right? I can't wait either! He's doing a great job!

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