How to Make a Travel Itinerary

How to Make a Travel Itinerary

 

A travel itinerary is like a small database which outlines all of the elements of your trip, from hotel stops to destinations. Even though it can feel overwhelming and time consuming, it's quite easy to make one.

The advantages of having a travel itinerary for you trip are that it actually saves you money and time, as well as avoiding a lot of stress. Just imagine not finding any connecting flights to your dream destination, or no available accommodation once you get there… An itinerary can help prevent problems like these from spoiling your trip.

 

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Plan

It’s important for you to decide how you’d like to spend your time from the outset. Are you an outdoor person? Will you want to visit museums and other cultural attractions? What will you want to do for nights out, and for food?

Take all of these factors into account and then create a list of everything you want to see and do on your trip. The internet will be your best friend when making a travel itinerary, so start using it now to research your destination. Check out things such as tourist attractions and activities, local holidays, events and markets. Don’t forget to also look for hidden gems, which don’t always make it into the tourist guides!

Based on how much money and time you have, now you can figure out where you’ll be staying and how to get there. You can either choose to stay in a 5-star hotel, or, if you’re feeling more adventurous and frugal, go couch surfing and backpacking! Setting a budget from the start will help you to figure out where you want to stay.

When planning out your holiday, it’s also a good idea to remember to check what to expect from the weather in advance. Will you need gloves, umbrellas, or swimming shorts? If it's likely to be very hot you may want to read up on the best ways to cope with the heat first. Keep your budget in mind at all times too, as you don’t want to plan activities for a whole week just to find out you’re out of money by day 3 once you’re there!

 

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Organise

Once you have all these ideas written into a list, a great next step is to put them in order of location and priority. It’s much easier, and faster, to visit places in the same area then move on to the next one, rather than going back and forth randomly.

Make sure you allocate enough time for each activity. For example, it might take a whole day to explore a big museum. Consulting online forums and reviews from other travellers is also a good idea when deciding what to see and do.

If you want to get really organised and be prepared, spend time researching your options and always have a plan B. In terms of transport, keep in mind that planes save you the most time, however they can be expensive. To stay within your budget, you can look into trains, boats and rental cars. These can be more time consuming, but also way more adventurous, and a great way to see more of where you’re visiting.

A travel insurance policy can cover you against things such as bad weather, trip delays, lost or stolen luggage, emergency transportation, evacuation and medical problems, so it’s always a good idea to travel with an insurance plan in place. The level of cover needed for your trip will depend entirely on your needs, where you’re going and what activities you’ll be doing while you’re away.

 

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Store Your Itinerary

There’s a variety of mobile apps you can download to help you with your travel itinerary and stay organised. It’s very important that you have a hard copy of your itinerary first, rather than relying only on your phone. For this reason we would recommend drafting your itinerary on paper before adding it to an app.

These websites and apps make it much easier to store, sort and share your lists. Some of them even go the extra mile by automatically including weather and flight updates, maps, directions, activity suggestions and many more useful features. Some of the top apps of this kind are Tripit.com, TripCase.com, TripHobo.com and Google’s My Maps app. Again, make sure you have a plan B – your hard copy itinerary written in a notebook or journal!

Finally, what you need to do is add essential travel information to your itinerary: hotel reservations, rental car confirmations, important information for tours, trains and buses, and last but not least: information that you don’t want to have to use. This includes your home address, emergency contact details, addresses and phone numbers of your home country’s embassies, consulates etc. Read our blog on travel security for a bit more information on how to plan for a safe trip.

 

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Relax!

All in all, flexible itineraries tend to be the best ones. Don’t try to micromanage every hour of your holiday, and it’s often good to leave an extra day for the unexpected. It’s very likely that you’ll discover some hidden attraction on the way, plus your trip will be very rewarding if you’re more laid back about it!

Some would argue that creating a travel itinerary is the most important step of a journey. Even though it’s not the easiest thing to do, planning doesn’t have to be a painstaking process either. You can learn to have fun while you plan, and now that you’ve learned how to make an itinerary, you can use the same template for all your future adventures. Happy packing!

Posted by Filip
15th February 2018

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