Teej and I just got back from a road trip. My bro Adam just got back from Comic-Con. We’re kind of into geeky travel. So this week I tried to think about how we’ve planned our trips over the years to make them uniquely geeky.
We’ve gotten pretty darn good at it.
Two years ago it was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, before that it was occasional Chicago trips for shows and events, three years ago it was Nashville for music and now we’re planning a huge tour through England in 2013. Each time, we build in lots of time to enjoy the sights, but also create opportunities to read, watch movies and catch up on the things that we overlook when we get busy in our day to day life.
Before I get into my specific tips, I want to share my ultimate vacation lifesaver key to awesomeness, happiness and good memory making. Are you ready!?
The key to any good vacation, geeky or otherwise, is REST.
Seriously. Build in lots of time to sleep and take time away from the chaos of traveling. This is critical. You can’t just sleep while riding planes, trains and automobiles. Otherwise, you’ll get back more exhausted then when you left and maybe even end up in a brawl with your travel mates.
Alright, now that we have the rest bit out of the way, let’s talk about the real details.
First, pick vacations that allow for “experiences” and not just visits. What do I mean by that? Geeks are hands-on. As much as I like a great museum, after a while I find it boring to just walk through the galleries and see beautiful paintings and gorgeous photos. Eventually, I want to DO something. I absolutely love the Science Fiction Museum and Music Experience in Seattle. It’s part museum, parts hands on activities. Plus, come on, Star Wars and Indiana Jones props are art to me.
This is also why amusement parks are so great. Hello, Islands of Adventure with your Wizarding World of Harry Potter and your Marvel themed rides.
The second thing you should do is look for tickets for shows, concerts and plays in advance. I’ll always remember the concerts that TJ and I went to in Nashville, because when the songs come on the radio, my mind goes right back to those moments. Because we built them into our vacation, they feel extra special. Sometimes, seeing concerts in my home city just feels like another fun Saturday night and not a big event and it just doesn’t stick in those memory banks.
Third, engage in the world you are celebrating and visiting while you are on your trip. Basically, connect the dots. If you’re going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, bring one of the Harry Potter books. You’ll want to build in pool time and rest time, so using that opportunity to reemerge in the original work will feel ultra special. Are you thinking about a trip to the Doctor Who Experience in the UK? (ME WANT TO GO NOW PLEASE.) Preload an iPad or your laptop with a couple seasons of Doctor Who and your visit will be ten times more immediate, raw and special.
My number four tip? Try to design vacations around the big events you hope to attend. For example, if you want to go to Comic-Con and you also want to go to Los Angeles in the same year, instead of planning a separate trip, why not go to Comic-Con and then hop a trip to LA for a couple days afterwards. Sure, the one trip will be longer and a bit more expensive, but it will be a heck of a lot cheaper than two separate trips. Same thing goes for neighboring states like the East Coast where sites are geographically within a 2-3 hour car or train ride.
If you can’t afford to travel very far, then think creatively about adventures you can have locally that recreate the feeling of your favorite fictional world. For example, there was a brief moment when I wanted to go to North Carolina to see the town where The Hunger Games was filmed, but I ultimately decided that I would rather experience something else. Instead, I tried to think about things I could do locally that reminded me of the books, like shooting archery or going berry picking.
If you just want to get away for one night, then there’s always things like buying tickets to The One Man Star Wars Trilogy and then inviting friends over for a marathon viewing of the actual Star Wars trilogy in your back yard. By making a day of it - it will feel ultra special
So have you ever taken a geeky vacation? Where did you go? And what did you see?