The problem with too many choices — Planning our Europe trip

In planning our Europe trip next year, I’m running into the problem of having too many choices.

Have you ever looked closely at all the choices of products available to us on the shelves of grocery stores and supermarkets? One time I counted all different brands of balsamic vinegar (just the balsamic kind) on the shelf of a neighborhood grocery store and found that there were more than 15 options. And this wasn’t in a specialty store.

When you start paying attention you will be reminded that the numbers of decision ones have to make when going through grocery store aisles are staggering. Take toilet papers. Single-ply or 2-ply. Did you know there is a 3-ply kind now? With or without “lotion.” The size of the roll—Does it just look big but loosely rolled compared to this one that is more tightly rolled? Softness—Is this one that claims to be soft really that soft? How about the one that claimed to be ultra strong? Will this one leave too much lint? What about the “eco-friendly” toilet papers? What does it even mean? For RVers, will this brand break down easily in the black tank? From what I’ve read, the ones that say RV tank-safe don’t necessary break down quickly as they claimed. (Side note: We actually buy the brand of regular toilet paper that we tested and found to break down quickly) Even after you know exactly which brand to buy, should you buy a small pack size or a large pack size? Which one is really cheaper? I’m sure that you know that these days you can’t just trust that a larger pack size will save you money. We know it’s not true. Do you feel exhausted already? We’re just getting started.

Which one would you buy? What size? Organic? Standard, cage-free, free range? White or brown? What brand?

With all these choices, how could we ever get grocery shopping done?

As RVers, we had gone through a frustrating process of choosing RV to purchase that suited our need. Should we buy a travel-trailer, a fifth-wheel, a camper van, a truck camper, a motorhome—gas or diesel, if diesel, front engine or a pusher, or class C RV? Which manufacturer? How small or how big? Which floor plan? New or used? If used, how old is acceptable? We found the ones that might work, but what was its carrying and/or towing capacity? RVers know what I’m talking about.

One of the most effective strategies to deal with the problem of too many choices is to settle for what is good enough rather than searching for what is best. For example, we stick with the same brand of toilet paper we have been using rather than trying something different that might be better. Most of the time we buy the same kind of coffee beans that we know we enjoy. After some trial and error, we buy our tea from the same online merchant and have only a few variety that we like instead of keep trying something else. Yes, there may be a better deal or better coffee or tea elsewhere if we shop around. But we don’t have energy to, nor we want to, spend on the things with which we already feel satisfied.

I feel overwhelmed already just writing this post.
The last pair of shoes that I bought was the same shoes that I wore out. So we just ordered online without having to go to a store to find a new pair.

With so many choices and limited time and energy to spend researching and deciding, it’s inevitable that ones will make a mistake choosing something that turns out bad. The last package of paper towels that we bought is pretty crappy, but it will be gone soon. So will the not-so-good box of strawberries. Not so much for purchasing the wrong RV (fortunately we are quite happy with Stimpy and Ren). The mistakes are easier to swallow when the stakes are low or not too expensive. It’s harder to make that decision when mistakes could be costly or result in loss of valuable time. As a result, many people end up avoiding making that decision. That brings me to planning our trip to Europe…..

Later this year, David and I will go to Bangkok, Thailand, for our annual family visit and to close on the condo we purchased. This time we will be in Thailand for at least 8 months as David will be taking Thai language class in Bangkok. After the class is over, between July and September, we want to go to Switzerland to visit our friends and to travel in Europe. We would like to be in Europe for about two months. But that where the plan ends.

I’ve been spinning my wheel trying to move to the next phase of planning. I’m not sure if we should be focusing on a few places in a couple of countries or we should try to visit many countries. I don’t know much about traveling in Europe, so reading about travel logistics felt a bit overwhelming. Then there are accommodation to deal with—staying in hotels or renting apartments. Two months is a good chunk of time to visit lots of places, so the possibility is endless….and that is the problem. It turns out all the time spent watching Samantha’s Passport to Europe didn’t really help to make the decision easier.

To minimize traveling, we could focus our trip to Switzerland and Italy.
But it’s hard to pass up other places like Prague, Barcelona, London, Amsterdam, or Paris.

Have you been in similar situations when abundant choices create problems? Do you have any tips or suggestions to help with our planning this Europe trip?

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15 thoughts on “The problem with too many choices — Planning our Europe trip

  1. I know exactly how you feel right now! Brian and I are overwhelmed with trying to figure out our next few trips. With our work schedules, we have limited time, and we also like to consider weather and crowds. For example, we really want to go to New Zealand, but we want to go at the beginning of their winter, which means we will probably have to wait until 2020 to go because next near my friend is getting married in England during that time. Anyway, Italy and Switzerland look like great options. I would love to spend time in the countryside and mountains of both! London and Paris are nice to visit, but in my heart I prefer being in nature. Feel free to message us with any questions!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I also feel this way when planning a trip – torn between wanting to SEE EVERYTHING vs picking a few places and getting to know them well. Especially in Europe where the transportation is amazing and the countries are so close together. Two months is enough time to cover some ground. But IMO picking 2-3 countries and taking your time with them is preferable to a whirlwind. It can be exhausting hopping from one place to the next. We went to France and Switzerland for almost a month and loved it. Food was better in France though 🙂 You may plan to do 2 countries and then once you’re there, decide to add something more – leaving room for flexibility could be good. Can’t wait to see what you choose!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ashley. I suspect that we will end up doing fewer places rather than more places. When I see most Europe tours have people move to a new city every day or two, it just made me exhausted thinking about it.


  3. It really depends what you like to do. You could do a road trip along the Mediterranean sea from Italia to Spain following the coast. Or you can start at the bottom end of Portugal and follow the Atlantic coast until Germany or further north. Or you can visit the countryside. Or you can just go to the capital of each countries. I agree with you there are a lot of choice. And 2 months will pass very fast. For accommodation it depends on your budget. One of the cheapest will be camping if you like meeting people you can rent a bedroom in someone house like B&B if you want more tranquility you can go to hotel or rent a flat/house.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I never had a problem with my tanks (and after the first year stopped spending money on all the additives. Never had any kind of problem. I used to put a teaspoon of Ridex in when we had the motorhome and put some water in after dumping, but other than that…heck if you use too MUCH toilet paper in a house you can clog things up. In my last trailer I had a black water flush–other than cleaning the sensors, I could generally judge when it was time to dump.

    I’ve never been overseas and won’t ever be, but your post is very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Totally understand what you mean with the over abundance of choices. I think much of the decision really comes down to your personal preferences. Do you want to get a taste of a number of different cities and countries? Or would you rather spend more time in 1-2 countries and feel like you are able to absorb more? Having been to Switzerland before, I can say that the country is beautiful and there is so much to see and do. There are plenty of day trips that can be accessed from a home base via their well run train system. With Italy, since they are so close to one another, transit would be easy and would likely be more go with the flow. On the flip side, you could get a rail pass and use that to travel around the continent and see as much as possible, but that could end up being a lot more exhausting. Back in 2009, I studied abroad in Oxford and spent 8 out of the 10 weeks I was there, doing weekend and extended weekend trips to other countries. I saw a little bit of 9 total countries and it gave me a good introduction to what I would eventually want to come back and do more of, or places I didn’t need to visit again. A long winded answer, but you definitely have options and I’m happy to help in any way I can!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oooh I know that feeling, the more choice, the harder it gets to decide…sometimes having limited options does make life easier😉 And then there is that other well-known feeling of fear, you know, cause you don’t want to return and than read some great article about a really great not to skip place and realise oh, we were just around the corner, how did we miss that?! Have fun on your trip, let me know if you pass through and or visit some place in Belgium and need some tips! Oh, and Switzerland is always a good idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We had to prioritize out trip between London or Paris & Amsterdam. And we did leave out London. Though I really wish to make it to London real soon. Great post. Keep Glittering, from TGA by Misha


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