Making an itinerary doesn’t need to be complicated, and it can ensure you don’t miss anything important as you travel. We can understand that creating an itinerary for travel can be exhausting. The initial research for a trip can take hours or days, and then you need a way to track your trip’s timeline.
Keeping an itinerary is even more important with new travel restrictions. Most attractions require pre-booking to keep numbers low and make social distancing possible. That means that all of your trips now include a lot more planning. It’s just a fact of life. Call it the new normal if you will.
When you travel with a limited amount of time, and on a set budget, you don’t want to miss possibilities. That’s why creating even a rough itinerary can greatly aid your travel planning.
There are four main steps to use to create an itinerary:
- Do your research
- Make a list of your must-do’s
- Make a draft timetable/calendar
- Create the finished travel itinerary
Here’s how to create a trip itinerary.
Do your research
You can have a perfectly organized itinerary, but that all goes out the window if the hotel or attractions you’ve chosen are a bust, or fall short of expectations.
Make a list of the places you’d like to stay, things you’d like to see and do, and your preferred transportation
When doing your research, you should jot down everything you’d like to see, along with hotels, and transportation options. You can use an old fashioned notebook, or any digital note taking app. If you’re more of a visual person, use an app that will let you add photos or even videos, for inspiration.
As your research is finishing up, organize the list into three categories:
- Must do’s
- Would like to do, and
- Optional items
- The next step is to bring it all together.
Create the finished itinerary
In the final step, you’re creating a finished itinerary, complete with accommodation and transportation details, and a list of the activities per day. You can be as detailed as breaking down your itinerary hour-by-hour on a calendar, or you can just keep a simple list of the items you’d like to do and see each day.
There are literally hundreds of websites out there that will create your itinerary. Some are good, some are great, and some are absolutely useless. However, using Google calendar and maps seems to make things easier.
A few tips on creating a flexible itinerary
- Regardless of the system you use for storing your itinerary, leave a little room for down time, bad weather, jetlag, and to allow a buffer if your plans change on the fly.
- If you’re traveling with a partner, make sure you allow some personal time and if you’re traveling with a family, allow some swimming in the pool time and some electronic down time. If the kids are tired and miserable you can guarantee that no one is happy.
- If you like a full schedule and want to maximize your time somewhere, simply add an hour here and there in the timetable. Grabbing a local coffee, walking through a park or spending an extra few minutes browsing in a local market can all go towards making what you’re experiencing real and will help cement your memories of the place in the future.
- Having a flexible itinerary can go a long way to ensuring that your travels are memorable for the right reasons however creating an itinerary in the first place is wise in today’s world. How you go about it is completely up to you.