Whether you’re going on a short city break, a two-week holiday or a multi-stop trip around the world, organizing any kind of travel itinerary can seem a little daunting. But it really doesn’t have to be. With a bit of careful planning, you can make sure that every tiny detail is taken care of, everything runs smoothly and you can make the most of your time away without having to deal with any unnecessary stress. If you’re not sure where to get started, here are ten top tips to creating a seamless travel itinerary.
Research, research, research…
The second the idea of a trip pops into your head, start researching everything you can about it. When’s the best time of year to visit? How much money are you going to need? What are the must-see sights and attractions when you’re there? It’s really quite simple; the more research you do, the more plain-sailing your trip will be.
Whenever you can, book as early as possible. You can’t always do this, especially when you find yourself with a few spare days and decide on a spontaneous getaway. But if this is a trip that you’re planning way ahead of time, then be sure to book things up as soon as you can. Flights, accommodation, transfers and any other domestic travel that you know you’re going to need; it pays to book early. You’ll get the best pick of the available options such as hotel deals, at the best price too. Plus, it’s easier to plan everything else once the basic travel is in place.
Pre-book any excursions
If there are any excursions that are an absolute must-do when you’re away, or a must-see attraction, or somewhere super important to you that’s going to require an admission ticket, be sure to book it in advance if possible. There’s nothing worse than having your heart set on seeing something, only to get there and find out that it’s fully booked for the next few weeks.
Don’t forget your in-flight extras
It’s all well and good getting your flights booked nice and early, but don’t forget all the important bits that will make them more comfortable, enjoyable and convenient. Make sure you’ve got seats booked next to the person you’re traveling with, make sure you’ve paid for enough baggage allowance and make sure you’ve booked any meals that you’d like to be included on board. All these little things can make such a difference to your journey, yet can be so easily forgotten.
Make a packing list
As soon as you know when you’re going, make a packing list and refer to it regularly. You can even find one online and add and delete items where appropriate. It’ll help you to know exactly what you need to buy in the lead-up to your trip and will ensure you don’t forget anything important.
Know your route
Don’t leave it until you arrive in a destination to figure out how you’re going to get to exactly where you need to be. Plan your route in advance and know exactly what the safest, cheapest and most convenient mode of transport is going to be. Can you hop on a bus or train? Is something within walking distance? Or will you just be better off getting a taxi to take you from door to door?
Check public holidays
If you’re planning your activities and travels by the day, it’s worth checking that there aren’t any public holidays occurring in the destination that you’re heading to while you’re there. This can sometimes be great if somewhere is celebrating a holiday with parades or festivals and the like, but it can also lead to disappointment if places that you hoped to visit might actually be closed.
Research the weather
It’s always important to check what the weather’s going to be doing at the time of year that you’re choosing to head to a new place. This isn’t about determining how good of a tan you’re going to get, but more about how safe and easy it’s going to be to travel. Unlike our fairly simple seasons, some popular travel destinations have more extreme weather variations, such as monsoon season or hurricane season, so it’s best to avoid these times.
Allow time to be reactive
Planning your itinerary is great, but don’t be too strict with your arrangements. You should always allow time to be reactive, where you don’t have any plans set in stone. Talk to locals when you’re out there and get their recommendations on the top places to eat and the best off-the-beaten-track sights to see. You’ll miss out on all of these unique opportunities if you have too much crammed into your schedule.
Make back-up plans
Sometimes things don’t always go according to plan, often through no fault of your own. If this is the case, all is not lost. You’ll always find a way of working things out, but it can often help to have some sort of back-up plan in place for if things do go a little off-route. And if they do? Don’t worry about it! Just go with the flow and everything will come right in the end. Situations like these often make for the best stories anyway.