Itinerary Planning

Itinerary Planning

Plane tickets are booked! Now, what are you going to do when you get there? You are starting with a blank itinerary, which is both exciting and daunting. Make it easier to figure out what to do next by going through my top tips for itinerary planning. I tend to open up a document on my computer to list everything out by day, but you can plan it out using the medium of your choice.

What do you already know?

If you’ve already booked the plane tickets, you likely have done some research on your destination already. So what do you know? Jot down the main attractions, and anything you’ve heard about the destination that you might have interest in. 

Are there any items on your list that require booking in advance? Tours, performances, cooking classes, and even some museums should be booked before you arrive. Since they require the most planning in advance, now is the time to see when you can fit those activities into your trip itinerary. Don’t buy anything yet, just note when it’s available.

Now you can start adding the main attractions in. If it’s a long list and you don’t have a lot of time, try to make some cuts. For instance, Paris is a city full of attractions. There are enough museums to keep you busy for at least a week, and that’s nothing compared to the number of churches and cathedrals worth seeing. Prioritize what you want to see!! If architecture is your jam, make sure you get to more cathedrals than art museums.

This can be a difficult part of the process since you want to see everything a city has to offer. But keep in mind that you also want time to enjoy the experiences you have. Rushing around to check off a list is not going to leave you with the stories and memories you’ll want to tell your friends and family about. So get that list to reasonable length, and see the things that matter to you most.

Using the Internet

It’s safe to say that if you’re reading this blog post right now, you use the internet to do a lot of your travel research. But there is a lot to sort through. My top three internet go-tos when planning my itinerary are the following:

‘Top 10’ Lists

For food and attractions, this is one of the first things I’ll look at. Get yourself onto Google, and search for ‘Top 10 things to do in _______’. Without fail, you will get results from TripAdvisor, some blog posts, and maybe a few magazine articles from publishers like Condé Nast. Click through a few of these and you’ll notice most of the items listed are the same. If you like what you see, add these to your itinerary! And if not, maybe alter your search slightly to ‘Top 10 unusual things to do in _________’. That will definitely take you off the beaten path.

This method is great for finding places to eat. TripAdvisor will give you tourist favorites. Blogs will give you some affordable options and have a variety as well as descriptions. The big publishers are usually for a higher budget, but are solid recommendations. Not every country has Yelp, unfortunately, but if you happen to be going somewhere that does have it, you’ll be swimming in recommendations both my locals and tourists. 

Facebook Groups

If you’re not in any travel Facebook groups, join a few! Companach has our own that you should definitely check out, but there are numerous options out there for all your various interests.

Once in the group, go ahead and make a post about what you’re looking for! Be sure to include as much information as you can. The more you provide about your interests and situation, the better the responses will be. These communities are also great for getting ideas for future trips.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a wealth of both beautiful and useful information. I usually make a board for each trip I take, and just pin relentlessly. Anything that looks interesting, pin it. Then go through it all and see what can actually be done during your trip. This is a great place to put the less mainstream things like festivals, weekly markets, and even just picturesque streets to visit.

Curated Travel Newsletter

Companach has a product that is made just for itinerary planning. Our Curated Travel Newsletter is an email series that sends four personalized emails to you over the course of a month. You give the dates, destination, and a description of your ‘travel personality’, and we put together an amazing set of emails that are part recommendation, part inspiration, and a dash of general information to keep you safe. 

Travel Guides

Maybe you like to be a little old school. Or maybe, like me, you like to collect DK Eyewitness travel guides. Whichever it is, travel guides are never a bad idea. With all the information in the world (that’s how it works, right?) available on the internet, these guides continue to provide value to my trips. If DK makes a guide for my destination, you better believe I have it in my carry-on

Friends and Family

Don’t forget about your friends and family! Some of them may have already visited your upcoming destination. They can provide some of the best tips for you since they know your personality better than Google does (hopefully). And they might be able to tell you what to skip,

Trade tips with your friends about your itinerary!
Trade tips with your friends about your itinerary!
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash 

Now that you’ve made an impossibly long list of things to do, see, and eat on your trip, put it to paper (or screen)! Write out a daily itinerary for yourself, scheduling in all the activities you found above. It doesn’t need to be completed all in one sitting, but it’s good to have a running list of the things you must

Do you have any tips for itinerary planning that aren’t included above? Leave a comment below!