Planning a vacation can be tricky, especially if you’re not sure where you want to go or what you want to do once you get there. The best way to overcome this challenge is by creating a travel itinerary – a document that outlines your travel plans in detail so that nothing slips through the cracks.
An itinerary will also make it easier for you to track your budget and allocate time efficiently. Here are a few itinerary planning tips to help you make the most out of your trip.
1. Outline your travel goals
Before you start to plan your trip, think about what you want to get out of it. What are your travel goals? This will help you to narrow down your trip options and see where you can make adjustments for a more successful trip.
Identify your travel type. Are you someone who loves to explore nature and new landscapes? Or perhaps you are a history buff and would like to visit iconic landmarks and museums? Are you an adventurer who loves to try new activities like scuba diving or skydiving? Or, do you prefer a more relaxed, beach-filled vacation?
You can also fine-tune your travel goals by considering your travel companions, and planning your trip accordingly. Do you have young kids who need lots of breaks? How about elderly relatives who may need special accommodations like wheelchair accessibility?
2. Pick your destinations and activities
Now that you have an idea of what you want to get out of your trip, you can start to lock in the details! Pick the destinations where you want to go. If you aren’t sure where you want to end up, there are lots of ways you can figure this out.
Do some research about where you would like to go. Pick destinations that are appealing to you and that you will enjoy. Check out reviews and travel articles for inspiration. For instance, user-generated content websites like Tripadvisor offer insights and tips from travelers who have already been to your destination. If you are traveling with other people, make an effort to select destinations that everyone is interested in.
3. Plan your budget
Next, you’ll want to start planning your budget. This is the part where you juggle your travel goals with your budget to find a happy medium. Start by making a list of all the things you want to do and see on your trip. Make it specific and in order of importance. This will help you to determine what you can afford. Here are a few things to consider:
- When is the best (and most affordable) time to go?
- What are the average costs of activities and things you want to do?
- What are the average costs of transportation?
- Are there bundles, packages, or discounts that will help you save on expenses?
Once you have a general idea of your budget, you can go back and make adjustments as needed. Check out our article on five budget travel tips to save on your next vac
4. Know when to go (and when not to)
When to go is just as important as where to go! This is where you do a little research on the best times to travel to your destinations. You can do this by checking online sites like Weather.com to see what the average temperatures and weather conditions are like in your destinations.
If you have destinations that you have to visit during a specific time of year, this is where you would put that information. For example, if you have always wanted to visit Paris but know that it is incredibly cold during the winter months, you would plan your trip for the spring or summer months.
Your itinerary will be your guide as you explore a new destination. But don’t stress yourself out trying to stick to your itinerary if circumstances make it hard to. Allow yourself to go off course and play by ear when necessary – in the end, it’s all about enjoying your vacation and making new memories.
Ready to start planning? Download our free travel itinerary printable to help you organize your trip!