It doesn’t matter if you are a serial traveller who is always on the go or like to save up for a big holiday every few years; you’re probably beginning to feel that ‘travel itch’ right about now. Whether that means that your suitcase is staring at you each time you open your closet, or you’ve begun researching potential travel destinations - it is clear that you deserve a vacation.
While our travel plans might have to remain on hold for a little while longer, that doesn’t mean that you can’t start planning your next adventure! With that in mind, here is a great guide that you can use to plan the perfect travel itinerary!
1: Nail down the basics.
The first step towards putting together a travel itinerary is deciding on the basics. For example, you need to decide:
- What country/town/state you are visiting (If you are planning a longer trip, you may wish to tick several destinations off your bucket list).
- How long you are going to be traveling for.
- Your budget.
- Whether or not you need to obtain a special visa before traveling.
2: Do your research.
Once you have decided upon the perfect destination for your trip, be that Hawaii or New Zealand, it is time to start researching the area. Figure out what kind of experiences they have an offer, and see what tickles your fancy. For example, you should try to find a spot that has a range of activities on offer that match the interest of everyone in your travel party.
3: Look at hotels/hostels.
It’s likely that you won’t be spending a great deal of time in your hotel room - especially if your days will be full of adventure - but you still need to ensure that you have a safe and comfortable place to sleep. Furthermore, you can often get great deals by booking accommodation early. If you’re going to be traveling to multiple destinations, figure out the best hotels/hostels in each area so that you know you are always going to get a good night’s sleep.
Remember, when planning an itinerary around your hotels, it must make logistical sense. For example, if you plan on making your way through a specific country - figure out the most logical route on the map so that you don’t double back on yourself, as this will just waste time.
4: Write down a list of everything you want to do.
The next step towards putting together an award-worthy itinerary is making a list of exactly what you want to do. For example, if you are planning on visiting Cathedral City, write down a comprehensive list of all the full things you want to do when you are there - this could include relaxing in Panorama Park and testing your golf skills at Cimarron Golf Club.
Once you have put together a list, you can begin to schedule the activities in your itinerary. Try to mix it up a little so that you aren’t spending too much time on one activity. You should also ensure that each day is slightly different. For example, if you spend one day partaking in a lot of exercises (such as hiking), give yourself a little rest the following day by planning visits to museums or local theatres.
If you are traveling in a large group, it is essential to remember that you can’t please everybody 100% of the time - but you can ensure that everyone has a good time by allowing each member of the group to choose one activity to take part in.
5: Don’t forget the evenings.
Often, when putting together an itinerary - you’ll focus on daytime activities. However, when you’re on holiday (and you don’t necessarily have to set a morning alarm), your evenings are a lot more free, meaning the fun doesn’t have to stop when the sun goes down! Be sure to schedule some fun evening activities, too, such as visits to delicious local restaurants, bars, or maybe even casinos!
6: Understand that itineraries are flexible.
When you have put a lot of time and effort into putting together an itinerary, it can be incredibly frustrating if it doesn’t go to plan. For example, you may wish to visit a certain location only to find that it is closed upon arrival. When this happens, it is important to understand that your itinerary is not set in stone - you can easily move things around while ensuring you have time to cover everything on your list. Remember, the most important part of a vacation is having a good time!
*Post contributed by peer travel writer and ex-pat, Penny Jones.*