The Bald Traveler

Helping Geeks in their Travel Endeavors

How to free form plan a trip (Bucket List Method)

This is the story/process of how I actually planned our group trip to Japan.  I’ll go over each step of what we did in this post.

1: Determined who was interested in going on the trip

We started by checking with our friends and seeing who was interested in going on the trip.  We started with about eight people interested and ended up going with 4 people.  From this group we looked at when we wanted to go.

2: Determining when to go

We knew we didn’t want to go during the Summer when it gets really hot and humid in Japan.  We were primarily looking at September/October to catch the changing of the leaves and March/April to catch the cherry blossoms.  What was the deciding factor for us was an Anime Convention at the end or March that would let us see how a con was done in Japan and also the cherry blossoms.  For our next trip to Japan we will be going in the fall to catch the leaves change and when it is warmer.

3: Determining How long to go

It started out as my wife and I going for sure.  We then decided we would go for 21 days in country to make sure that we could see everything we wanted to see.  One of our other friends decided to join us for the full 21 days and our last friend decided to join us for the last two weeks of the trip and would meet us in Kyoto.
Once we knew how long we were going for I then started a google sheet document shared with everyone with a tab for each city we were thinking to visit.

4: Planning the Trip

The easiest way for us to plan the trip was to create a spreadsheet in google docs and share it.  I created a tab for each city we planned to visit.  I then started populating the spreadsheet with the items that we were interested in doing in Japan and we started ranking the things we were most interested in, in each city.
For example for Tokyo you may start out with the following items in your spreadsheet.
Name Description URL Ranking
Ghibli Museum The iconic design studio behind my friend Totoro and other classics. This is the museum for the studio. Purchase Tickets at Lawsons. 2
Ghibli Clock This clock is inspired by Howls Moving Castle. The show starts 3 minutes before the top of the hour. It shows 4-5 times a day and only when it’s sunny. 4
Totoro Cream Puff Shop This shop serves ghibli inspired cream puffs it is outside of Tokyo and can be accessed by the Odakyu rail line. URL of Yelp Listing. 3
MarioKart Ride Go Cart through Shibuya dressed as a Mario Character. Need International Drivers License 1
Akihabara The iconic Electric City. The place to get anime, games, and all things Kawaii. Be sure to see it at night. 5
Next Item #
For Places like Tokyo I eventually created Tabs for each section of the city.  For instance I had one for Shibuya, Akihabara, Ueno, Shinjuku, etc.  I then moved my work to Trello as it was easier to order by ranking with the #1 item on the top and the nth item at the bottom.  I will write a post on how I did my Trello board soon.



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