Wondering how to make a travel plan?
Making a trip doesn’t have to be complicated and can ensure you don’t miss anything important while traveling.
We understand, creating a travel plan can be exhausting. The first research trip can take hours or days, and then you need a way to track the timing of your trip.
Even travelers like us who really enjoy it last minute excursions, we still need to keep track of where we are staying, what nights and all the reservations we have.
Maintaining a travel plan is even more important with the new travel restrictions. Most attractions require prior booking to keep the number low and allow for social distancing. This means that all of our trips now involve a lot more planning, but luckily you can all work online with sites like Bookmundi.
I always make a travel plan.
When traveling with limited time and on a specific budget, you don’t want to miss out on opportunities. Therefore, creating even an outline itinerary can greatly help your travel planning.
There are four main steps we use to create a itinerary:
- Make a list of your responsibilities
- Draw a timetable / calendar
- Make a ready-made travel plan
Here’s how to create a travel plan.
You can have a perfectly organized itinerary, but it all comes out the window if hotel or the attractions you choose are mulberries.
There are many websites to compare hotels and airlines, but I’ve been checking out a new one lately. PissedConsumer.com it is one of the most popular consumer complaint and advocacy sites online, with 1.7 million customer reviews, 78,000 company reviews and a whopping 3.5 million monthly visitors. It is one place to seek reviews of hotels, travel services and travel agencies.
To get ideas, I like to search online for things like “unusual things in ABC City” or “the best breakfasts in ABC State.” This draws a lot of blogs from other bloggers, which is a fantastic way to get travel ideas directly from travel experts.
Make a list of places you would like to stay, things you would like to see and do, and the transportation you want
As I explore, I record everything I would like to see, along with hotels and transportation options.
For that, I just use Evernote or a text document on my laptop. If you want, you can use an old-fashioned notebook or any other digital recording app. If you are a more visual person, use an app for inspiration that will allow you to add photos or even videos.
At the beginning is a list I create just a disorganized data dump with a bunch of great ideas.
As my research ends, I organize the list into three categories:
- I have to do it
- I would like to do that too
- Optional items
For each activity on the list, I write down the estimated time that the activity will need and a rough approximation where each activity is in relation to each other.
Create a calendar sketch
You can create a draft calendar as a simple list (either online or handwritten) or in a spreadsheet. Write down each day of the trip and copy it must be done items until the right day.
Since you have already estimated the time you will need each item, you will be able to quickly see if you have enough time for the activities you need to do.
If you have extra time in your calendar, add some (or all) I would like to do, i optional activities.
Sometimes things are added simply because we have a few hours to kill, and they are the main attraction across the street or they are on their way to commit, and the family will need a break in the journey no matter what.
The next step is to connect everything.
Create a finished itinerary
In the last step, you create a ready-made itinerary, along with accommodation and transportation details, and a list of activities per day.
You can be as detailed as elaborating your trip by the hour on a calendar, or you can simply keep a simple list of items you’d like to work on and see each day (along with hotel and transportation information).
There are literally hundreds of sites that will create your travel plan. Some are good, some are excellent, and some are absolutely useless. After traveling together for over 18 years, we’ve probably tried most of them.
Our system for maintaining our itinerary has evolved in the simplest possible way (for us): using Google Calendar and Maps. We are Gmail users, so this means that our flight and hotel reservations are sent to our inbox on Gmail.
From there, Google automatically inserts the reserved place into Google Calendar and Google Maps with the time and day of our reservation. This is especially useful because Google automatically enters flight numbers, hotel addresses, and phone numbers.
If Google doesn’t automatically create a calendar entry, I add it manually.
Google also usually automatically creates a trip with booking dates Google Travel. It’s a convenient way to see all bookings in one place. You can also manually add activities, flights, and accommodations to Google Travel.
I usually use Google Maps to follow our itinerary if we have a lot of things to do in one day. It’s great because it automatically lets you know how long the trip will take, and even lets you choose transportation options like car, walk, or bus.
Having my travel plan on Google Maps is perfect for traveling by car (and we worked a lot locally road trips lately), but also manages to plan your route to check out the city. I also like the fact that I can save my Google Map for offline use.
A few tips for creating a flexible itinerary
Tip! Whatever system you use to store your itinerary, leave little space during downtime, bad weather, jetlag and enable a buffer if your plans change on the go.
The worst travel experience I had was on a trip to Mexico (planned by someone else) where every second was booked and there was virtually no downtime allowed. The whole experience made it unnecessarily stressful and left a shadow on what could have been a horrible experience.
If you are traveling with a partner, be sure to set aside some personal time, and if you are traveling with family, allow a little swimming in the pool and a little electronic downtime. If the children are tired and miserable, you can guarantee that no one is happy.
If you like a complete schedule and want to maximize your time somewhere, just add an hour here and there to the schedule. Taking a local coffee, walking in the park or spending an extra few minutes browsing the local market can all become a reality of your experience and help you cement your memories of the place in the future.
Having a flexible travel plan can greatly ensure that your trips are memorable for the right reasons, but creating an itinerary is first and foremost smart in today’s world. How you act is entirely up to you.
Do you have travel plans booked?