Listen to Episode 21 of "Coffee with Gringos" here or on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher.

Download the Episode 21 Transcript here!


Paige: You're listening to Coffee with Gringos, I'm Paige Sutherland.

Mariah: And I'm Mariah Wika. Welcome back to the podcast. This week, we are chatting about trip planning. We're both people that really enjoy travelling, especially living abroad, there are lots of opportunities to do it. And we know that a lot of our listeners do too! So today we're practicing vocabulary related to planning a trip.

Paige: So, it's summertime. I bet everyone can't wait to get out of the office and start exploring, whether that's in the south, the north, or maybe a different country. Maybe a neighboring country. Maybe the US? Who knows! Many trips probably this summer. So, me and Mariah together probably have about 4, 5, 6 trips coming up.

Mariah: You have to take advantage of vacacciones, right?!

Paige: But don't worry, we will still be doing the podcast throughout our trips.

Mariah: Have no fear, Coffee with Gringos will not be on vacation.

Paige: So, to talk about one of my trips I'm planning right now... it is one of those trips that requires a lot of pre-planning.

Mariah: Lots of planning ahead.

Paige: I'm going to Patagonia, and Mariah knows, I've asked her probably fifty billion questions about where to stay, how to get there, how many days I need... where do I book my ticket, what flight do I take? A million questions!

Mariah: Well, and I just have to add because I know that this is the case, part of the reason that Paige's trip requires so much planning ahead is because Paige is travelling with a small army of people. She's travelling with how many friends?

Paige: Including myself, there will be a total of six of us.

Mariah: Yeah, but that's a big group!

Paige: Yeah, it was... it's actually funny, I was looking into y'know Airbnb, where we're staying, and so we're not camping, we're not staying in the park, we're staying in Puerto Natales. And I was, y'know, calculating buying all of the bus tickets and looking at the bus schedules, and what to buy, and I was like... we should just rent a car because then we could be on our own schedule because certain buses don't go as early as we want for hikes and leave as late as we want to get back, and then I was like... like Mariah said, I have any army! I need to get a mini-van!

Mariah: You would definitely need a mini-van!

Paige: So I was looking at rental cars, and I was like, "Oh I've never had to rent a mini-van, but it holds seven people, so it's perfect.

Mariah: Are you going to do it?

Paige: I think so!

Mariah: That's a good idea, that's a really good idea.

Paige: Yeah, doing the research, there's just... we're only there for five days, so to maximize our time, to be able to do the hikes we wanna do, the kayaking tours, the biking tours, I think being on our own schedule would be ideal.

Mariah: That makes a ton of sense. Exactly. In general, are you a planner? Are you a last-minute person? Are you a procrastinator when it comes to trip planning? What is your trip planning style?

Paige: I am a big planner. I like to plan trips ahead, mostly just the lodging, flights, rental cars... like all the big things. Mostly because I'm broke, and it makes the most sense. If you're flying somewhere, it's always cheaper if you buy a few months ahead, as opposed to the week of. So, the flights, where we're staying, Airbnbs…the best ones book up fast or they're more expensive if you wait... rental cars, same thing. So, I like to plan all of those things, but once I have the core planned, the tours and what we're seeing, I kind of do last minute.

Mariah: You're more flexible in that way.

Paige: What about you? What's your... I think I know your planning style, but tell us.

Mariah: I would say that I fly by the seat of my pants. Actually, the first time I came to Chile, I was a tourist, I didn't have any plans to live here long-term, it was just a month-long trip, and I think we had two nights reserved for a month of travel. All of our other reservations were on the fly. So, we arrived to town, and we walked around until we found a hostel, and if it didn't have availability, we went to the next hostel, and it actually worked out really well, and I think it taught me that there's almost always a solution. That being said, it can be a little bit more nerve-wracking that way. For example, I was in Valdivia, and we went to a place near Valdivia called Corral, and we were camping, and the first night, we hitchhiked, and then we found a campsite, and it worked well. We found the campsite pretty early on. And then the second night, we really took our time, we dawdled, and by 8 PM, we still didn't have a place to stay for the night. And of course, the sun was starting to go down, and you don't wanna hitchhike when it's dark out, and so we managed to catch a bus, and we asked the bus driver. And the bus driver said, "Oh, you can camp at this beach over here! I'll drop you off there! Nobody will bother you. It will be totally fine." And then this random guy on the bus said like, "Oh, just turn right at the fencepost, and you'll find a great private beach!" And we uh, we ended up camping on a beach with nobody. It was like our own private beach. And it was perfect. So, it worked really, really well, but it doesn't always work that well.

Paige: That would really, really stress me out.

Mariah: I think that part of the reason that I've become more relaxed as well is because resources like Airbnb make booking accommodations fast and easy... there's often availability, new places open up. It makes it easier to successfully plan a trip without planning way in advance.

Paige: And I think it also depends on what kind of traveler you are. Like me and Mariah are very different. I'm someone who likes more quantity. I like to go to a lot of places. If I go to... say, Brazil... I go for three days or four days. So it's a very short trip. Where, like you, when you on trips, you spend a week or maybe two weeks.

Mariah: If I can, yeah.

Paige: So, you have a little more flexibility when you don't cram things in like I do. Like I think when I went to Peru, I did Lima, I did Cusco, I did Machu Picchu... in maybe five days, which is almost a Guinness World Record.

Mariah: That was crazy.

Paige: So, given that, I don't have the luxury of showing up and being like, "Oh, I can't do Machu Picchu today." Like, I can't do it then, I'll turn around. So I think it depends if you're the planner who goes on trips and leaves a lot of days where you can be more flexible or you're someone who thinks... I'm in this city for one day, if I don't do this tour or get to go to this restaurant, I never will.

Mariah: What do you think is the most challenging or most frustrating part of planning a trip?

Paige: Ohhh, that's a good question. I both love planning trips, and I hate it at the same time. I love it because obviously the excitement and adrenaline of going to a new place.

Mariah: Right, it builds anticipation.

Paige: But then, the more you plan, the more you realize how much you could plan. Sometimes I plan trips a little too much. Where I'm like, oh the plane gets in at 9:45, and it takes 53 minutes to go from the airport to the Airbnb, and our bike tour is at noon, so we have to leave the hotel... and you know, sometimes things are too planned where you're like on a schedule that's not fun.

Mariah: My mom used to do that. Our itineraries when we were kids were nuts. She would print them, and she would have a stapled itinerary packet by the minute! It was intense! She's gotten way better now. She still loves planning. She wants to have all of her information in her hands because she loves researching too, it's part of the fun for her is looking forward to the trip, researching it, organizing, but now she allows a lot more flexibility in our family vacations. I think that's it for me is that you need to have enough structure to feel secure about where you're going and where you're sleeping... I don't do that very often, but I know that for a lot of people that's helpful. And enough flexibility to be able to be spontaneous.

Paige: You're on vacation. You don't HAVE to see these things, these things are supposed to be enjoyable, that's why I think, y'know, what I've done more is I've planned the core things, the travel, the sleeping, the transportation. But then when it comes to what I do, I just say, "Eh, I wanna do these things, but I'm not really set on it, and if I do them, I do them. If I don't, I don't." Rather than, I have to go here at noon and here at two and here at six.

Mariah: And I think it's good to be flexible enough that you can be guided by the experience you're having. So, if somebody from the town that you're visiting says, "Oh my gosh, you have to check out this hole-in-the-wall bar down the street and around the corner by the red house" for example, you can go and do it. You don't have to say, oh... well, tonight we planned to go to this specific restaurant, we can't change our plan. No, I mean, part of the joy of travelling is taking that advice and running with it.

Paige: Absolutely, I think that doing those off the beaten path kind of experiences are what you remember most about those vacations. I have definitely become a little less type A on my trips.

Mariah: I should maybe be a little bit more type A...

Paige: Traveling with you might stress me out. What do you mean we don't know where we're sleeping?! It's 8 PM!

Mariah: Sometimes my mom is like, "Have fun honey! And just, be a little careful with the hitchhiking!"

Paige: I think the beauty of being in our time period right now is our phones. I mean, with our smartphones... before, you really had to print out like MapQuest, or even before that you had to have a physical map to be like... where is a hotel? Now I can be on the street, and I'm like, where should we eat? Let me just Yelp it! Y'know, go online and find an article or blog post about the best restaurants or the best places to stay or see. So, we can kind of plan literally while we're on the trip, in the street.

Mariah: You can plan on the fly, right? I remember when I studied abroad in 2013, I didn't have a smartphone, and that's when I did a lot more planning in advance because I didn't have that security blanket of knowing I would be able to plan in the moment or do research in the moment. And I, I think that that's a really good point. I think that's key. The smart phone has completely transformed your ability to take off on a trip without planning.

Paige: So, for everyone who has trips this summer, whether you over-plan like me.

Mariah: Or under-plan like me...

Paige: I hope that you have an amazing summer on all the trips that you have ahead of you.

Mariah: Enjoy it. Get good rest. And when you have time, make sure to tune in to Coffee with Gringos. Thanks again for listening, and we'll talk to you soon.


To travel (verb) - to visit places around the world

Example: Travelling is an amazing way to try new foods and experience new cultures!

Trip (noun) - a specific journey or vacation

Example: Paige is taking a trip to Patagonia with a lot of friends.

Abroad (adverb) - in a foreign country

Example: Living abroad gives Paige and Mariah lots of opportunities to travel.

I bet (phrase, slang) - I’m pretty sure

Example: I bet everyone can't wait to get out of the office and start exploring.

Neighboring country (noun) - a country directly next to your country

Example: Chile and Argentina are neighborhing countries.

Plan ahead (phrasal verb) - to plan in advance, before your trip

Example: Paige definitely has to plan ahead for her trip to Patagonia because she’s travelling with so many people!

Army (noun) - the army is the military, but it’s also informally used (like in this context) to describe a large number of people or things

Example: Paige needs to plan in advance because she’s planning a trip for a small army of people.

Minivan (noun) - a type of vehicle that can fit many people

Example: Paige is going to rent a minivan to carry all of her friends through Patagonia.

Y’know (slang) - you know

Example: Y’know, I think that renting a minivan is a really smart idea.

Wanna (slang) - want to you

Example: We wanna do a lot of hikes.

Planner (noun) - a person who carefully plans trips

Example: Paige is definitely a planner. She feels more secure when she plans trips in advance.

Last-minute (adjective) - NOT planning, doing things at the final minute before they happen

Example: Mariah is a last-minute planner. She definitely doesn’t plan far in advance.

Procrastinator (noun) - a person who delays their task until the last minute

Example: Procrastinators are people who pack the night before their flight… or even the hour before!

Lodging (noun) - accomodations

Example: Paige likes to book lodging in advance because it makes her feel more comfortable when she knows where she’ll sleep every night.

Broke (adjective, slang) - not having money

Example: Paige said that she likes to plan ahead because she’s broke, and she can save more money when she makes her plans earlier.

As opposed to (phrase, connector) - in contrast

Example: It’s always cheaper if you buy flights a few months ahead, as opposed to the week of.

Book up (phrasal verb) - when accomodations fill and there isn’t more space

Example: The best AirBnbs book up fast.

Core (noun) - central part

Example: Once I have the core of the trip planned, I’m more comfortable doing things spontaneously.

Fly by the seat of my pants (phrase, idiom) - do things spontaneously without planning

Example: Mariah definitely flies by the seat of her pants on trips.

On the fly (phrase, idiom) - spontaneous, decisions you make in the moment

Example: We decided all of our accommodations on the fly.

Nerve-wracking (adjective) - stressful or makes you nervous

Example: Sometimes, planning on the fly can be much more nerve-wracking.

Hitchhike (verb) - to request a ride in a stranger’s car.

Example: Our first night on the island, we hitchhiked to the place where we camped.

Dawdle (verb) - to move slowly and without hurry

Example: The second night, we dawdled, and so we had to find a place to stay very late.

Drop off (phrasal verb) - to leave somebody after giving them a ride

Example: The bus driver dropped us off at the perfect place to camp.

End up (phrasal verb) - to eventually arrive

Example: We ended up camping on a beautiful, quiet beach!

Book (verb) - in the context of accomodations, to reserve

Example: AirBnb makes booking accomodations fast and easy.

Cram (verb) - to try to do many things in a very short time

Example: When Paige went to Peru, she had to cram everything in because she was only in the country for one weekend.

Hole-in-the-wall (noun, slang) - a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, bar, or place is generally a local destination that is not very touristy

Example: I think it's good to be flexible enough when you’re travelling that you can be guided by the experience you're having. If somebody from the town that you're visiting says, "Oh my gosh, you have to check out this hole-in-the-wall bar down the street,” you’re free to take their advice.

Get in (phrasal verb) - to arrive

Example: The plane gets in at 9:45

Off the beaten path (phrase) - experiences that are not typical tourist experiences

Example: Sometimes, if you’re a spontaneous traveller, you can have fantastic off the beaten path experiences.

Itinerary (noun) - the agenda or schedule of a trip

Example: Mariah’s mom made very detailed trip itineraries for every vacation.

Nuts (adjective, slang) - crazy or exaggerated

Example: Sometimes the itineraries were way TOO detailed, and it was nuts!

Type A (noun, slang) - very, very focused on details and organization

Example: Paige is very Type A with her trip planning. Mariah wants to be more Type A!

Security blanket (noun) - an object that makes you feel safer or more comfortable

Example: For many people, smartphones are a security blanket when they’re traveling.

Over-plan (verb) - to plan too much

Example: Paige sometimes over plans.

Under-plan (verb) - to plan too little

Example: Mariah sometimes under-lans.

Download the Episode 21 Transcript here!