A Guest Post by one of my favorite people — “New Friend” turned “Boyfriend” turned “Husband” turned “Best Friend” — on two of my favorite topics (organization/planning & travel) and not one of my favorite topics (beer)!
Even if you’re not into said-libation, this’ll give you some wonderful insight into how to make your next trip more efficient and packed with goodness. Also, as someone who detests beer, I must say that visiting breweries on our travels has been a wonderful way to explore interesting and often off the beaten path areas; plus, brewery-folks are some the friendliest folk! They always embrace me and my Diet Coke.
If you ARE into beer, well, you’re in for a treat; Best Friend has a ridiculous amount of helpful knowledge in this area. Enjoy!
NOTE: since we get asked so often about our travels and all activities we do, the deals we get, the places we stay, we’ll be doing more indepth posts about specific places we visit — like Portland, Maine a few weeks ago — and about travel in general. If you’d like to be notified when new posts go up, you can subscribe on the blog’s main page. And voilà! Travel goodness delivered to your inbox or RSS feed.
How do you plan what to do when you’re traveling? There’s no right way to travel, no right way to explore a new place. People have different interests, move at different speeds, and have different goals when traveling. Some feel that overplanning deadens adventure and that spontaneity is the fun of exploring a new place. Others get as much pleasure out of planning and looking forward to travel than the actual trip itself.
I won’t tell you how you should travel. As with most things in life, you should figure out what is the most fun/fulfilling to you, then optimize for that.
In the spirit of thinking about how to maximize our travel experiences, I will share how I go about planning one aspect of my travel. Specifically, beer. I like beer. For several years, I really nerded out over beer. These days, I like it a slightly-above-average amount. Back in the throes of obsession, I would meticulously plan out all the possibeerities of every trip I took. Now, laid back Pete can use the strategies developed back then to quickly and efficiently add a beery aspect to my travels.
Here’s my general beer strategy when visiting a new place
Beer Travel Planning Resources
1) Beer Mapping
This is great for mapping out breweries, brewpubs, and beer bars in all your destinations. There are city maps and regional maps. I often have trouble manually entering a city or address–a city/address map with breweries never seems to load correctly for me. So, if I want to map a city that doesn’t have it’s own dedicated city map, I’ll end up just using the relevant regional map and then just zooming in to the city/area I’m going to visit.
2), 3), and 4) Rate Beer, Beer Advocate, and /r/Beer
These sites have user-generated reviews, ratings, and discussions of breweries and beer bars. They are helpful for prioritizing what places to go when you don’t have personal opinions or recommendations from friends.
5) Seek a Brew
This site tells you about beer distribution per state. You can compare one state to another (e.g. CO to IL) on the “distribution comparison page” and find out what breweries distribute to CO that you can’t get in IL.
Using info from these sites, I will usually create a spreadsheet and/or a custom Google map with places I’d like to visit (keep your eyes peeled for a future post on creating/using custom maps for travel planning). PastPete would then organize his trip around hitting all these locations. CurrentPete will reference the map for places to visit if he happens to be in the area, or if there’s downtime in his itinerary.
Modern Times Brewery — San Diego
All you need are good tools and a strategy. I used to spend hours planning beer destinations. I’d visit each place’s website, and add in all potentially relevant info to my spreadsheet–address, phone number, daily hours of operation, if they had a full kitchen, etc. Nowadays, I can create a pretty full picture of the best beer options for a new destination in about 30 minutes, along with a handy map I can refer to when traveling. As I change, I change my travel and planning habits to maximize my fun-to-effort ratio.
If you like beer, give this particular method a shot! If instead you like restaurants, art museums, bocce ball, punk rock shows, or anything else, then before you head out on your next trip, find some relevant online tools to help you filter and organize information before you go so that you can seamlessly fit your passions into your travel.
Have any other tools or tips to keep in mind when traveling? When beer’ing?
Pete Aiello, founder of TeamPete, works with businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations facilitating team building, communication training, staff development, leadership training, and innovation and creativity, all using the tool of improvisation. Say hi to him on Facebook and Twitter. He has the unique honor of being the official husband of Mac & Cheese Productions.