how to plan a travel itinerary - A step by step guide

How To Plan A Travel Itinerary; A Step-By-Step Guide

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Planning your travel itinerary for yourself is fun. There is an irreplaceable element of flexibility that is present when you are tailoring a travel itinerary to suit your personal interests. For the obvious benefits, we prefer to plan itineraries for ourselves most of the time during our many adventures.

But on the other hand, we can also acknowledge that planning out any itinerary, especially a travel itinerary can be a daunting one. Things like keeping track of all the flights, train, and bus schedules, finding places to stay and eat, finding tour packages that fit what you want to do, and so much more all become your responsibility. 

So, we have drilled down the exact steps that we typically follow during the “planning phase” of our trip. This practical guide is aimed at making it easier for you to tailor your vacation.

10 Steps To Plan A Perfect Travel Itinerary

1. Decide The Person You Are Traveling With

Tagging dog as your travel partner

Are you planning to travel solo? With your pet? your friends? family and children? Your travel partner is your choice. The people you choose could make your trip an extraordinary one or turn it into a really bad one. So be picky and choose one that matches your vibe.

2. Set The Budget

Setting your budget is a really crucial step in planning your itinerary. It helps you in choosing the ideal destination, accommodation (budget hostels, hotels, or luxury resorts), and transportation (public buses, trains, flights, taxis, or rental vehicles).

Break down your total allocated cost to a “per day” basis so that it is easier for you to plan your desired activities every day, and stay and eat in reliable places.

3. Choose The Destination

What sort of destinations would you like to cover on your trip? Would you like to see beaches or mountains? Is your priority to relax or to have an adventure? Based on the budget and the vibe you wish to experience, choose a place that makes for your ideal vacation spot.

4. Finalize The Duration of The Trip

Depending on your approved leaves or your available leisure time and the budget, decide the length of the trip. Decide on how long it is going to be— 2 days, a whole week, a month, or even more.

5. Do Research

By homing in on your needs and researching your travel options in advance, you can increase your chances of achieving your objectives or at the very least minimize your costs. Read up and gather as much information as you can.

  • Pinterest articles and YouTube videos, among others, are great places to gather reliable travel info. You can also search through Instagram location and hashtags, and go through the top travel blog posts on Google.
  • Get to know the regional language as best as you can and download the language offline in Google Translate. 
  • Gather information on the local currencies, VISA requirements, travel insurance, SIM cards, and network availability.
  • Learn about the culture and etiquette.

6. Design Your Itinerary

Designing and crafting the itinerary for every single day

Tailor every facet of the trip to your preference—food, accommodation, transport, sightseeing, adventure, and shopping.

  • List down your must-visit places and places you consider to be optional. Mark them on Google Maps.
  • Group the places by distance. Plan your day-by-day itineraries, and group the places that are close to each other. Determine the simplest route that saves time and avoids bouncing across town.
  • Get to know about each place in as much detail as possible before your visit. For instance, some spots are open only in the evening. You can include visiting these places towards the end of your day, instead of going over there earlier and wasting your time.
  • Now, figure out the cities you prefer boarding in and out. It is important that you decide during your planning stage itself as doing it after or in an unplanned manner can cause you to lose a lot of solid hours and even days, you could use for exploring.
  • Ensure you have your accommodation for each day thoroughly mapped out. You can also shortlist the restaurants (which we don’t usually do so our preference is to sample as much of the local cuisines as possible) that offer your preferred food.
  • We recommend you collect information beforehand and plan in a manner that enables you to opt for different modes of transport to commute. Also ensure that the modes of transport you plan are compatible with the region’s weather, your time, and comfort.
  • Always keep shopping as the last leg of your trip. This ensures you don’t end up lugging around your purchases everywhere you go.
  • Do ensure while you fix your dates, that you have taken careful consideration of the place’s festivals, local events, and holidays. Checking the regional news or following their social media handles is a great way to stay on top of this and minimize last-minute cancellations.
  • Leave enough margin time for spontaneous activities or revisiting a particular place that you had to, unfortunately, cancel due to bad weather. All the trips don’t go exactly as planned. It is good to leave enough room for you to be flexible.
  • Also, plan in a manner that lets you have a rest day. This comes really handy during those unfortunate times when you might fall sick or feel too exhausted to continue to enjoy the trip. Take it slow.

Ask your friends and fellow travelers who have already visited the place before for suggestions. There are planned itineraries published by popular travel companies online. You can also cross-check your itinerary with them and adjust it as required. If you don’t have the luxury of time to prepare, you can even pay travelers and have your itinerary planned out for you.

7. Book The Tickets & Fix Your Reservations

Book and confirm your flight and accommodations. 

Ensure you book tickets in advance for activities that require or accept prior reservations. When traveling from one place to another, we recommend you reserve your seats especially if it is during a weekend or holiday season.

8. Pack Light

Make a list of items to pack so to ensure you don’t miss anything. Pack your clothes in a manner that ensures you have sufficient ones that last for a week. If your trip is for longer, then ensure your accommodations have a laundry facility or the place has an affordable laundromat. Make sure you pack all the “must haves” and not the “just in case” or “nice to have” items.

Check the weather & temperature and pack accordingly. Always mandatorily pack your basic first aid kit and toiletries

9. Do The Last Minute Errands

Your planning is not over just yet. In order to ensure a peaceful journey ahead, you’ll have to do a few last-minute errands at home. Errands, in many ways more than one could be the deciding factor of whether you have a home or a house to get back to. We wrote a separate blog detailing a checklist of things that you need to consider before heading off for your trip. Read out.

10. Wishing You A Safe Journey!

wishing you a happy and safe journey

Now, you are all set to enjoy the itinerary you painstakingly crafted. Have fun!

Explore and have the experience of a lifetime without stressing out. Do not fret if you accidentally miss out on something while crafting your very first itinerary. Through multiple travel experiences and with time and practice, you will be able to ace an itinerary that perfectly suits your needs.

If you found this blog to be useful and helpful, drop your comments below and let us know. We’d be glad to hear from you guys. For more travel tips, guides, detailed itineraries, or anything related to travel and blogging, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media – Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.

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