Planning for a big trip can sometimes seem like more trouble than it's worth.
A Bit About Travel Itineraries
Experts believe that we remember things better when we write them down. And there's a lot to remember when it comes to planning a successful trip. The travel itinerary is a time tested way to tackle this issue head on. Plan your trip up front before you ever set out to your destination, wherever it might be. So whether you've been traveling for years or you're planning your first big trip, keep reading. A travel itinerary can help travelers of all types.
What Is A Travel Itinerary?
In simple terms, a travel itinerary is just a way to get the most out of a trip. It is a plan for your trip, wherever and whenever it might be. You're in control of what it looks like and what it covers. After all, this is your getaway. Therefore, your itinerary should include the things you feel are important.
Depending on the nature of your trip, your plan could include any number of attractions or appointments. In the sections below, we'll discuss how to keep up with your itinerary and what it should include.
What Is the Purpose Of A Travel Itinerary?
Regardless of your plans while you're traveling, you definitely have a few things you want to accomplish. And since you might be in new places or trying new things, a travel itinerary gives you some confidence. You'll have a plan of action, including details on every aspect of the trip.
Sure, some luxury cruises and other all inclusive getaways might have a short list. Perhaps "relax" is all you really need to list once you reach your destination. But getting there and getting back are always of some concern.
How Does A Travel Itinerary Help and In What Ways?
Let's face it, some trips are incredibly demanding. There's going to be some stress associated with pretty much any getaway. And the purpose of a great itinerary is to remove some of that pressure before the trip even starts. We think this is probably the biggest benefit of a travel itinerary. But it can be harder to measure.
In more specific terms, it helps by providing key details about your trip and schedule. Follow this plan to make sure you accomplish all you wanted to in your trip. And there's a hidden benefit in expertly scheduling your getaway. You'll probably find some time to try something you didn't plan.
What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial
- Your Favorite Way To Take Notes. For many travelers, it's all digital these days. And a travel itinerary can be effective even if it's just in your phone. As long as you can keep track of everything on your list, you're good to go.
- A Good Old Fashioned Folder. This might feel like ancient history to some younger travelers. But for all the important details in your travel itinerary, you'll want an actual paper backup. That way, if something happens to your itinerary you'll have access to that vital information.
- A Detailed Map For Reference. A big part of scheduling any trip is knowing where you're going. That includes getting there and getting around once you've arrived.
Instructions for How to Create a Travel Itinerary
1. Do Some Homework About Your Destination
This will be a bigger undertaking on some trips than others. But regardless of where you're going, you'll need a plan of attack. We recommend dividing your host city into sections. You'll find this especially helpful if you are visiting a big city or making several regional stops.
If you aren't already familiar with the location, this is your opportunity. It's better to have some idea of where you're headed before you get there. Check maps and look for recommended routes from locals if you can. Try to figure out where the traffic jams and other issues are most common. Avoid possible hassle ahead of time with a clear idea of what you're likely to encounter.
2. Decide What You Want -- Or Need -- To Accomplish
Here's another reason your travel itinerary will be uniquely yours. Every trip has a different purpose. Many are for recreation and relaxation. You might plan others for professional reasons. And then there are those trips that accomplish both, at least in theory. But whatever your trip has in store, you need to start with a list of things you can't miss.
Perhaps these are landmarks or attractions you want to check out. It might include anything from a huge national park or a particularly interesting food truck. Write these down so you won't forget. Include directions to make sure you'll find it. And most importantly, schedule plenty of time to accomplish the task. Whether it's for fun or profit, you don't want to be any more rushed than necessary.
3, Divide and Conquer
As we mentioned above, we think it makes sense to look at your travel destinations in sections. You can divide it into quadrants or any type of graph that makes sense. Then try to find the things on your schedule that are closest together. Being proactive here can really increase your productivity without raising your stress level.
Make sure you group things on your schedule based on proximity where possible. If you've got a few things you'd like to see downtown, make a day of it and tackle everything. Of course, if you're depending on someone else's schedule this might not always be possible. But if you have a working travel itinerary, you'll at least be prepared for those instances.
4. Set Your Pace
Don't bite off more than you can chew. This is good advice in daily life. But it's especially important when creating a travel itinerary. When you have your list of tasks complete and optimized based on locations, set a schedule. And make it a realistic one.
Be sure to plan for travel time between locations. And don't forget to factor in some extra time in case you get turned around. Unless you're familiar with where you're heading and have been there recently, you could easily get lost. Also, you won't want to sell yourself short when it comes to enjoying some of those plans. Just because you want to see a dozen sights in one day doesn't make it a good idea. Try to keep it to only the most important things you can fit into a day. Then you might be pleasantly surprised by what you're able to accomplish.
5. Keep It Loose
If you don't try to cram everything into your schedule, you'll leave room for some whimsy. Maybe that means you'll get to try some of the things that didn't make it onto your original list. You could even create a separate list of the places you'd like to visit if you have an opportunity. Of course, it also presents the opportunity for some spontaneous ideas. If you meet some interesting locals and want to join them for dinner, a loose schedule allows for it.
On the other hand, it could also pay off if you find something on your travel itinerary especially interesting. A museum or private beach could end up taking over your entire day. And if you don't have too many other things competing for your time, you can really enjoy the diversion.
6. Pay Attention to the Details
Finally, we'll include the nuts and bolts of any trip. Make sure you have important phone numbers and addresses conveniently stored. You can include a file in you travel itinerary dedicated to this information. You'll probably want to keep lodging and flight details handy as they apply to your specific plans.
That being said, your itinerary is really for your convenience. For added peace of mind, we recommend keeping a physical backup of the vital information. The main thing is to make sure you're prepared to prove you belong where you're going. Even if your itinerary gets deleted or you lose your cellphone, actual paperwork will save the day.
Creating a travel itinerary is a pretty simple process.
We hope you've enjoyed our simple guide. If so, share this article with the travelers in your life. And leave a comment below if you have any final thoughts or questions.