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.
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.
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.
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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