This week, our friend Monty Ritchings discovered a shocking truth about London, England during his planning for the Camino de Santiago. Thanks to a bit of pre-planning, a potential crisis was averted. Read on to find out how you too can avert a common trap that North American hikers encounter on their way to the Camino de Santiago.
Who was to know?
When I began booking my trip to the Camino in July I went through some booking sites and determined that the most functional way for me to get to my start was to fly through London, England. I booked my Vancouver to London with Air Transat followed by my London to Santander Spain with RyanAir.
Once I had my flights booked I went ahead and arranged for accommodations for the overnights to and from my journey.
Here in North America this is a no brainer!
Now let’s talk about Europe. They have a couple more people over there so I found out. More people… more airports!
I did notice that when I booked my flight into London it said London, Gatwick….Ok.
So I booked a room near Gatwick and I was off to the races…. Or so I thought!
I was over visiting a friend a few days later and mentioned my plans. My friend happened to have lived in London for several years. All of a sudden, the truth came to light about what I had done.
I was informed that if I was flying to Santander on RyanAir I would be going to fly out of Stansted Airport not Gatwick and it is a minimum 2-hour bus ride from Gatwick!
Now, the point to all this is that if I had left the planning to only a short time before my departure date or if I had not discovered the reality of the situation while I was at home, my trip would have begun on an disastrous note!
Apparently many thousands of travelers become stranded in England due to a lack of knowledge about the various airports and where the airlines fly from.
Because I had the time, I was able to adjust to the new information and, hopefully, get to the Camino in fashionable style.
There are so many facets involved in planning and carrying out a trip, it is essential that the planning gets done early, early. It takes the pressure off “having to” so it is more relaxing, allowing you to look at alternative ideas that won’t be available if you are an “eleventh-hour” person.
AND…. It leaves room for mistakes!
It is inevitable that mistakes are going to be made during planning through lack of necessary information or changing of plans as they evolve. Be Prepared!
Remember the little things at home can be huge things when you are away. Deal with every issue you can during the planning stage so you are prepared and focused when the hiking trip to the Camino de Santiago is here to enjoy.