idiy tinerary planning

Mastering the Art of Itinerary Planning

Itinerary planning is a major step in your journey. It is your travel guide-book. It takes a lot of effort to come up with an itinerary. But don’t worry there are a lot of resources out there to help you in planning your itinerary. And this post aims to do just that. Help you start with coming up with an itinerary for your trip. Your itinerary should answer the 4 major questions below:

  1. When? –  refers to the time of the year you want to travel
  2. Where? –  of course refers to the place or place you want to travel to.
  3. What? – refers to the activities that you are looking forward to do when you get there.
  4. How much? – means how much budget are you willing to spend?

If you notice all 4 questions are interrelated. The “when” and the “where” will answer “how much”. The “what” will depend on “when” and “where”. OK now we have a travel date and where to travel to on our list.  The next question you need to answer is “How much”. How much are you willing to fork out for your trip? Is it a fixed amount or a flexible one? To help you arrive at a budget for your trip, you need to consider the following:

  1. How are you going to get there? Flights? Cruise? Road trip with a car rental? By commute?
  2. Accommodations. Remember to check out alternative accommodations if you need to work this out within a budget. Or you can check if you have long-lost relatives in that city you’re going to and if they are willing to have you for a few nights.
  3. Activities. What activities are you planning? Are you going to join a tour? Or do the tour on your own and rent the guide or a car? Are you going for island hopping? Visit some websites related to the place you are going to so you have a vague idea. Mr. Google is your BFF here.
  4. Packing list. Do you need to pack for a skiing trip? Do you have winter jackets and ski pants and gloves? Do you need a waterproof camera for your snorkeling trip? Remember, you need to include the shopping that you need for your trip in your budget before you even go on your trip. This will definitely will add to some amount and you need to put it in your budget calculator.
  5. Post trip costs. These are items that you need for documenting your travel. Be it some photo frames or scrapbook materials, it will still add to some cost. I put in the cost for souvenir shopping in this category.

itinerary planning

So after you have made some deals and booked your flights tickets and accommodations, next thing you have to include in your itinerary is the activities you are going to do on each day of your trip. If you are going on surfing trip for 4 days in Bali, you need to list it down as Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4. Include your arrival details on the first day and your departure details on the last day of your itinerary. Include all flight booking details on this itinerary.

All accommodations details should also be included. Don’t forget to add contact details of your host or hotel. All offline maps should also  be in this itinerary.  Travel insurance details too. Add it all in. Anything and everything about this trip should be in your itinerary. Website links, contact details, booking confirmations, offline maps or directions, even shuttle buses or tour guides contact details and what have you must be all in your itinerary. This will be your reference guide when you are already in the middle of nowhere in Nepal.

Must Read: 8 Don’ts for the New Traveller

Imagine yourself offline and with no mobile phone. You need to think of a way how to get to your next destination or activity guided only by this itinerary.

itinerary planning
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Do not make your itinerary too ambitious. Do not pack too much activity in one day. I’ve seen some itineraries that pack too much cities in 7 days! Obviously it will be too tiring and that it will deprive you of the chance to actually see the city and enjoy the activities that you have planned.

Don’t make your daily schedule too tight. Give yourself a free day and some allowance on the timings. You might make some amazing finds during your trip and that you want more time to explore. Or you might need to do some detour due to unexpected weather disturbance.

Make it as flexible as possible. This is the best approach for a great itinerary. Do some research on the places you will be going to. There might be some local activities going on that you might be interested in. Then you fit it in your itinerary if still doable.

During my France itinerary planning, I found that there was a women’s run going in on Paris in early September so I was able to fit that one on my itinerary. Don’t worry if you need to make changes here and there in your itinerary. Remember, you own this list. You are in charge here. It’s one thing that’s great about travelling solo!

Review your itinerary with a close friend or with your family. They may have some pointers or questions that you need to answer that you may have missed out. This is good too so that they can keep track of your whereabouts when you are already inflight. When you finalized your itinerary, now you have your official guide-book! Safe travels!

Must Read: 10 Really Obvious Reasons to Include Philippines in your SEA Itinerary

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    • Viktoria Kuzmenko
    • April 14, 2017
    Reply

    Really useful, thank you!

  3. Reply

    Some great tips there for itinerary planning. I don’t tend to plan in that much detail except for the first couple of days and then tend to just be a bit more spontaneous. However, I know a lot of people prefer to having everything mapped out before they travel and this post is a fantastic resource for them!

  4. Reply

    Great advice and tips, especially when it comes to not making your itinerary too ambitious for the day! We do a lot of research, but tend to write up lots ideas for each day, and depending what we fancy follow it or go off piste…

    • Anna
    • April 17, 2017
    Reply

    Good tips! I hate travel planning haha! I just make sure I have my accommodation and flight, and then figure out what to do once I get to a place. But I don’t recommend that if you’re on a tight timeline! I’ve missed stuff because I didn’t know about it or because I couldn’t do it in time. But yes, definitely give yourself plenty of free time each day, because you never know if you want to linger at a cafe for longer or walk around a neighborhood!

  5. Planning an itinerary can be overwhelming no matter how many times you’ve done it! Very rewarding once you’ve whittled down the ‘want to do’ to the ‘what we have time to do and enjoy’, though! Thanks for sharing this! #feetdotravel

  6. Reply

    Ohh!…This article can help so many people in how to plan an itinerary for ur trip how to pack!….The tips mentioned are really useful Not making ur itinerary too ambitious was one tip I loved the most….In all it will be really useful newbies.

  7. Great tips! I like to have a little planned before I leave then try to meet locals for some inside info and expand. This is a great post to get the ball rolling.

  8. Reply

    Imagine yourself offline and with no mobile phone. – Now that’s a great tip! Coz phone battery dies and then you are stuck. We usually have some details jotted down in a diary just in case. Great post!

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