Are you going on a trip soon and have to create an itinerary from scratch? This can be a challenging task, and for first-timers it can even be overwhelming. Worry not, the art of itinerary planning is something that you can learn and be good at in time.
Why should you plan an itinerary? Admittedly, being spontaneous can work out and you can even have an amazing experience playing it by the ear. But in most cases, it’s still best to have a plan so you can get the most out of your trip, instead of missing out on the best spots and activities. For example, if you’re visiting Tagaytay for a weekend, having an itinerary will help you see the popular tourist spots and must-try restaurants in the area. It will also help you narrow down your options on Tagaytay hotels that are located near the spots you want to see, so you can save precious time and transport costs from traveling back and forth to your hotel.
Without further ado, here are the 5 easy steps on planning your itinerary.
1. Plan your budget
What is your budget? Setting a travel budget is the most important thing you need to do during planning.
You want to make sure that you are going somewhere you can afford. It’s not a good idea to spend all your savings in one vacation, nor is it to book a flight to a destination where you can’t afford to do anything. If a place is out of your budget, you might want to delay your plan until you have enough funds or head somewhere else that is within your means.
Get a simple idea of how much a trip costs by doing your research online or asking people who’ve done similar trips in the past about the ideal amount you need to prepare. They may even give you pointers about the most affordable dining spots or shopping areas that aren’t often discussed in travel guides.
2. List down your travel priorities
Once you’ve selected a destination to visit, you can start planning your itinerary based on your priorities. These are the attractions and activities you don’t want to miss out on. Then, you can plan the rest of your time around these or leave it open so you can have flexibility during the trip.
If you’re uncertain about what to prioritize during the trip, come up with a list of 3-5 things you want to see or do. You can check out online travel guides for recommendations, but more importantly, consider your personal interests. Factor in your inspiration for planning a trip to the destination in the first place.
3. Smooth out the details for your day-to-day schedule
Your itinerary should include important details, such as where you should eat your meals, what type of transportation you should take to your next destination, the best time of day to head to a particular location, and so on.
If you’re not fond of creating a detailed itinerary with every minute planned, you can opt for a simple day-to-day schedule of the places you want to see and the means to get there.
Whichever you prefer, having the important details smoothed out will help you have a more relaxed vacation. Make sure that your research is stored somewhere that you can easily access. Print out a physical copy of your itinerary schedule. It’s also recommended to have a digital copy or save it in a mobile app that is easily accessible even offline, so you won’t have to stress about forgetting anything important and you can focus on enjoying your trip.
4. Check that your itinerary is sound
Is your itinerary reasonable?
If you’re like most people who save up their vacation days, you want to make the most of your time off from work. This, however, doesn’t mean that you should follow a jam-packed itinerary. Doing so can be tiring and will only stress you out. Instead of having a relaxing time on your trip, you can end up feeling like you need another vacation immediately after the first one.
As much as you want to go to every tourist spot, make sure to have ample time in between each one to rest and recharge. So, pick a reasonable number of activities and destinations to add to your itinerary. After you’ve penciled those in, make sure to account for the time you need to sleep, enjoy a meal, and head from one place to another.
5. Book your tickets and accommodations
It’s always a good idea to book your accommodation ahead of time to get good deals. To make it easy to change plans during your trip, choose a hotel with a 24-hour cancellation option. You might also want to research about specific websites that offer discounts for specific destinations. For example, if you’re visiting Saudi Arabia, you can easily find the best Booking code that you can use for hotels.
You should also check which attractions are crowded or require upfront reservation, so you can book tickets in advance.
Tips for planning your itinerary
Here are additional tips for planning your itinerary
- Leave time for spontaneity. A good itinerary has a clear schedule but also has space so you can check out interesting spots you may discover during your trip. It’s also a good idea to consider possible delays, so a whole day won’t be ruined in case a train gets delayed or other incidents happen.
- Google Maps is your friend. Plan your route by checking out the proximity of locations via Google Maps, as well as other information such as available public transportation.
- Check out blogs for similar itineraries. You don’t necessarily have to plan your itinerary from scratch. Nowadays there are dedicated travel blogs that publish itineraries that you can use as a rough guide.
Putting together an itinerary may take some time and effort, but it’s worth doing so you won’t have to worry about important details during your trip.
How do you plan your itinerary? Let us know in the comments section below!
This article is contributed by a guest author.