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    Planning for the eclipse will help avoid difficulties on the day of the eclipse.

    The most important step to take first is to ascertain if you will be within the path of Totality during the eclipse. This requires consultation of an accurate eclipse map. (Click here to see circumstances for your location)
    If traveling, check for friends and relatives who live in the path of totality to avoid competing over hotel space.
    If you are not within the path of totality, one should consider if travel to the eclipse path is desired.  If so, travel plans should be made early.  Hotels sell out early and rates go up to "superbowl" level demand cost increases.

Remember that international astronomers will also come to the US to watch the eclipse. Eclipse tourism attracts tens of thousands of 'Eclipse Chasers' to each eclipse.

    Select your viewing location. Open fields with no trees, buildings or aerial obstructions like power lines, water towers or cel phone towers are good viewing locations.  Check what time your eclipse happens.  If it is close to sunrise or sunset, be sure you have a good view of the horizon for the sun's altitude

    The eclipse will take hours from beginning to end.  Prepare to be outdoors for this long.  Consider shade, drinks, bathroom needs and seating. Ball parks, City Parks, National Parks, State Parks, Camp grounds, back yards, school playgrounds, pond/ lake shores and festival grounds all make good viewing locations.

    Perhaps make a plan for more than one observing location. If it's cloudy on eclipse day, you may need to travel to find clear skies. If you have a second or third location picked out in advance, it's good to have a destination planned.

    Do not assume that a location which is empty now has not already been claimed by another person or group. Check property owners and site managers for reservations or claims to the space in advance.

      Eclipse Day traffic will be bad. Depending on the roads, prepare for a possible complete shut-down of traffic along your route to your viewing location. Think about alternate routes and ways to arrive to your viewing location long in advance of the event.  

    Drivers on the road who may not know about the eclipse often become confused, pull over or stop in traffic.

    Sometimes law enforcement and municipality officials make special plans for events or road closures on eclipse day. Do not be surprised when a road is closed due to a local event on eclipse morning.

    Safe solar observing equipment has been available to the general public for decades. The ISO developed safety guidelines (ISO 12312-2) for Filters for Direct Observation of the Sun.

    Shop for and buy your viewing equipment as early as you can afford to do so. Manufacturers usually produce in quantities of hundreds, but due to the tens of millions of North Americans affected by this eclipse, equipment manufacturers are not expected to meet demands for sales.

    Once you have your equipment, open and practice using the equipment ahead of the eclipse.  Eclipse day will be chaotic. Learning to use new equipment is prone to fail in excitement and chaos of the eclipse.

    Decide if you want to try photographing the eclipse. Many experienced Eclipse chasers discourage this because it is easy to become distracted by the camera functions and miss the view and the experience of the eclipse in such a short time.

    If you will be photographing the eclipse, you need to buy a solar filter for your camera. Again, shop early.

    If you are with a group of people, make sure everyone has eye protection and safe filters for any cameras, binoculars or scopes they plan to use.

    Customize your 'eclipse party' to your own personal goals.  Everyone parties differently. Share a drink with friends, rejoice, conduct scientific experiments or do Tai Chi. However you chose to observe the eclipse, your experience will be memorable.