How to Create an Awesome Travel Itinerary

in Trip Planning

Many travelers love to get away because they can move from here to there, exploring the world without rules or restriction. Ask one of these free-spirited tourists to create an itinerary and they’ll probably scoff and insist the schedule will only spoil their fun. However, planning your vacation can save you serious dollars and stress. In this article we look at the perks of planning and help you create your own itinerary.

Creating an itinerary ensures you don’t miss the sights you’ll enjoy most. You can get a feel for a city when you’re on the ground, but it’s much easier to get an overview of your destination’s highlights online. It’ll also ensure you’re traveling in the most efficient, and budget-friendly, way rather than back-tracking during your journey.

While an itinerary takes some time to put together, you’ll get that time back and more while you’re away. Who wants to spend hours searching the streets for suitable accommodation when they could have booked a bargain room weeks ago from the comfort of their own armchair?

Consider creating an itinerary a bit like completing a crossword puzzle. As you add your answers you’ll start to see how your trip will fit together. Tackle the easy decisions early, and the other aspects will start to come into view. You might discover sections that don’t work with the rest of your schedule, so like a crossword it’s sometimes best to plan in pencil!

Choose your arrival and departure dates
If your company allocates set vacation time, this will be an easy decision. If you have more freedom you might decide to travel in the low season to save cash, or enjoy a summer abroad. Consider your budget carefully, as you shouldn’t stay away longer than you can afford.

Add the dates that can’t be moved
With travel dates planned, it’s now time to add more details. You shouldn’t plan anything major on the day you arrive or depart, as these days will be busy with traveling. Then consider any commitments you’ve already made. If you’ve bought tickets for a concert or arranged to stay with a relative, jot it down. You’ll want to build your itinerary around these solid plans.

Get brainstorming
Now you’re getting to the fun stuff. Hop online and break out the guidebooks and note down anything that appeals to you. This might be cities you’ve always dreamed of seeing, natural wonders, museums and historic monuments, or festivals. If it gets you excited, you’ll want it on your shortlist.

Consider your options
Now you know all the things you’d like to do, it’s time to decide what’s really important. We like to use a three-star rating system with our travel wish list. Anything that scores three stars, you’re desperate to see. You’d really like to see the two-star stuff, and while the one-star items sound cool, you wouldn’t lose sleep over missing them.

Plan your path
This step can be incredibly simple or a major headache, depending on your holiday style. If you want to visit just one city, it’s easy. If you’re planning an extended European getaway with stops in various countries, it can be a bit trickier. Choose the cities where you’ll stay, using your shortlist as a guide. Consider how many days you’ll stay in each spot and block out your time, including travel between locations. While you’ll want to see as much as you can, it’s important to be realistic. If you overstuff your schedule you’ll get burnt out and bad tempered. Don’t forget to factor in jetlag too. Spending more time in fewer cities is preferable, as you won’t waste vacation time in transit or feeling sluggish. Many hotels also offer discounts on long-term stays.

Decide on the final details
Now you know where you’ll be when, and what days you have free, you’re ready for the final steps. Return to your vacation wish list and add the attractions, restaurants, and other sights you’ll see to your schedule. If you’ve got your heart set on particular restaurants, make your bookings now. It’ll avoid disappointment on the day. Do a little more research on the sights you’re interested in. Some may not be open in the off season or through the week, while others may offer discounts on particular days. Move things around now to get the best deals. Book accommodation in each city you’re staying and you’re done!

Passport_ProgramWhile itineraries can make vacations run more smoothly, don’t be afraid to move away from the script now and again. Where possible, book refundable or exchangeable tickets to ensure you won’t be out of pocket if your plans change. Then if you see something that catches your eye, make sure to check it out. Some of the best stuff isn’t in a guide book, and if you miss it you’ll regret it!

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