Getting ready for an upcoming trip is an exciting time. The process of planning and preparing often add to the enjoyment of the actual trip. Our primary actions are often focused on the necessary details - making reservations, planning the itinerary, stopping the mail delivery, checking the weather forecasts, and packing the right clothing and essentials. However, adding two additional items - reading books and watching movies - to our pre-trip to-do list can increase the anticipation and excitement before a trip and add more FUN and enjoyment during the trip.
1. Reading Books
Once we have a destination and itinerary in mind, we often find that there is a book (or books) that will help us prepare for the trip. I'm not talking about travel books here, although those can definitely be useful. The kind of books we read are ones that are related to our destination or the activities we'll be enjoying.
For example, we will be visiting Gettysburg this fall, so Robbie is reading the Fiction Pulitzer Prize winning book The Killer Angels. I read this historical novel earlier this year (and reviewed it here). It is a fictionalized account of the battle of Gettysburg. When we drive through Gettysburg National Military Park, we'll not only see the actual battle sites, we'll also have a better understanding of why and how the battle became one of the bloodiest engagements of the Civil War.
On our upcoming trip, we are also planning to see the movie The Martian. I just recently discovered that this movie is based on a fiction book by Andy Weir, so I am (of course) reading the book first! The Martian is a hard-to-put-down story about astronaut Mark Watney who is stranded on Mars when his crew assumes he is dead and leaves without him. I admit that I might have stayed up a bit later than usual last night and am halfway through the book. I only stopped because I couldn't hold my eyes open any longer. (And I'm not allowing myself to pick it up again today until I accomplish some of the items on my to-do list!) I'm looking forward to seeing the movie adaptation of this book.
Sometimes books can be the INSPIRATION for where we choose to go and what we do on our trips, too. Our visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Homes & Museum in Mansfield, Missouri, earlier this year was actually prompted by the fact that I had recently re-read all the Little House books and completed two online courses about Laura Ingalls Wilder's writing life. I had spent a good bit of time immersed in the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, which greatly added to my enjoyment of the homes and museums. In fact, there were several times that I wanted to jump in and add to the tour guides commentary!
2. Watching Movies
As I mentioned, we'll be visiting Gettysburg soon, so it was only logical that we prepare ourselves by watching the Gettysburg movie. Although I read The Killer Angels back in February, I am not the best at remembering historical details. This film adaptation of Michael Shaara's book was filmed at the actual battle sites and is a great review of the material I read. Having read the book and now seeing the movie will make visiting the site more memorable and help me to more accurately understand and visualize what happened during that epic battle.
Last year before our trip to Florida, we re-watched all eight of the Harry Potter movies in preparation for our visit to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios. Although we've both read the books and watched all the movies several times before, having so recently watched the dementors searching the Hogwarts Express for Sirius Black certainly made the dementor shadows seem more real (and creepy) on our trip from Kings Cross Station (at Universal Studios) to Hogsmeade (at Universal's Islands of Adventure).
Similarly, we watched Night at the Museum before our trip to New York in 2007, adding to our enjoyment when visiting The Museum of Natural History. Unfortunately, on our daytime visit, none of the exhibits came to life!
However, our most unusual movie watching experience associated with a trip was Robbie's unique idea to watch The Poseidon Adventure, not before our 10th Anniversary cruise, but on the actual cruise itself . . . on New Year's Eve! We brought along our portable DVD player and the movie so we could ring in the New Year in our stateroom, enjoying a movie!
What unusual things do you do to prepare for a trip?