What tools — literal and online — are you using to prepare?
As a great gift to my sanity, Kayak, the online travel aggregator, is working with The Times to handle the first draft of the itinerary, so at least I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to get everywhere or if I’m going to have a place to sleep once I do.
That leaves me more time to obsess over packing and gearing up. I’ve been scouring the travel recommendations on The Wirecutter, which was my favorite consumer site before The New York Times acquired it, and The Strategist, which I’d also love even of it weren’t affiliated with New York magazine. I’ve found a lot of great blogs with recommendations, like TripSavvy, SmarterTravel, and Travel Fashion Girl, and have pulled ideas from articles by Ashlea Halpern and Paula Froelich, old work friends who both left media jobs like mine to travel the world.
I’ve also had the brains of two foreign correspondent friends to pick: Heidi Vogt of The Wall Street Journal, who’s lived all over Africa and Afghanistan, and Jean Lee, who started The Associated Press’s North Korea bureau. I was just on a snowboarding trip with Jean and downloaded her brain for two hours (look out for that in a future article).