Disclaimer: This post may not be applicable to all travelers.
“YOU DO NOT NEED A TRAVEL AGENCY TO FIX YOUR ITINERARY”
Making an itinerary has been my favorite ‘task’ whenever I travel. I ‘like’ to do the researching, knowing the little details that are important for your trip.
They say, what’s a trip without an adventure? The trip itself is the adventure! Your journey going there is already an adventure. Knowing the tiny things is an adventure. It depends on how you perceive it. Others may find having an itinerary boring or ‘strict’ but I find it essential.
Every time I go somewhere, I always make it a point to know where I want to go. I do a background research so even if I do not have a “hard copy” itinerary, I won’t spend much time thinking and figuring out where to go.
You know, having an itinerary doesn’t always mean HAVING THAT PIECE OF PAPER WITH ALL THE TIME FRAMES AND PLACES. Being able to figure out the places you want to visit or to set your mind on which spots go on what day, that for me is already having an itinerary.
synonyms: travel plan, schedule, timetable, agenda, program, tour; (planned) route
Why am I writing about these things?
For those who prefer doing their own itineraries, this write-up might be of some use to you. I wanted to share how I do my itineraries, for information purposes only. It’s not that I’m an expert on this but I made some tips just in case you want to know what I usually do and try it out for your next travel plan.
💡 WWDD (What Would Dee Do)
These are the things I do before or while I craft any itinerary…
- First thing’s first! Are you traveling alone or with a group?
You can be strict or lax in making your itinerary but it really depends whether you’re traveling alone or in a group. When I travel alone, I keep it simple – no papers, just places noted on my head or in my ‘Notes’. But there are some instances where I have to prepare a hard copy (e.g. immigration requirement, visa requirement)
When I travel with a group, before I make any lists, I consult my friends if they prefer any arrangements or if they like certain spots to be included. You have to know your friends’ preferences. Don’t make the itinerary all about yourself. Basically, everything you do will depend on which group you’re with – the adventure-seeking one, the care-free group, the ‘all about learning’, or the ‘chill’ kinda group.
- Do your own research. It’s called ‘DIY’ for a reason.
This is essential!
If you’re traveling alone, have a list of the spots you want to visit. If you travel with your friends, like I mentioned, consult them. BUT don’t do any grouping yet. You can watch videos, read reviews and other blogs about the places you want to visit. Mind you, reviews are very important whenever you travel.
You also have to know where the airport or seaport is located. This information will be useful for the next steps in making your itinerary.
- Your accommodation affects your itinerary-making.
It’s better to book an accommodation where the majority of the spots you want to visit are near. This way, you wouldn’t have to travel so far.
There are some people who like to book their hotels near the airport. I usually don’t recommend that because traveling to and fro your place would take up most of your time every day. If you’re hopping from one place to another, start from the farthest then move closer to the airport.
- How long are you traveling?
Of course, before you book or arrange anything for your trip, you must keep in mind the number of days you’ll have to explore to place.
First and last days tend to be more relaxed than the rest of the days. Usually, I put the nearest spots on these days while I put those spots farthest from the accommodation on the second and third.
The first day is for ‘settling’ in. I make time to explore the neighborhood or the spots nearest my accommodation. But when you have a hectic schedule, you’ll have to jump to your first ‘spot’ on the first day and leave the ‘exploring the neighborhood’ part on the last day.
Now that you have your accommodations ready and you already know the airport or the seaport’s location, start grouping the spots you want to visit or the activities you want to try out.
After preparing the list of places and activities you want to see and try out, you also have to know their addresses and their operating schedules. If you know these details, it would be easier for you to zone your itinerary and you’ll have an easier time figuring out how to go to these spots.
You might think it’s too much work. It’s not.
- Google Map is your best friend.
Google Map will be your ultimate travel partner, not just during your travel but even before you trip happens. Why? Let’s go back to zoning, as I mentioned, knowing the details of the spots you want to visit is not much work. All you have to do is type in one spot on Google Map and you’ll see how it can work magic.
For instance, you keyed in Taipei’s Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. The map will bring you to the spot but it will also give you the exact address and its operation schedule.
I don’t know if other people tend to overlook details on the map. All the other spots nearest that certain spot you just keyed in will pop up on your screen. And the subways nearest the spots too! It’s easy as 1, 2, 3! You got the address, their schedule, and how to go there via public transport.
- Always factor in TIME!
I don’t know about you but there are some people who tend to forget that before they reach any spot (that’s not a walking distance from your hotel), you have to ride a bus, a train, or a taxi. If you’re riding any of these, you’re going to have to spend some time on the road. And when you reach your ‘destination’, you’ll have to spend time exploring the area.
TIME hugely affects your itinerary. You can’t just dump all the spots near each other in one day or mix and match other spots without knowing how long will it take for you to reach the place or how long will it take for you to explore the area. You will have to be sure to factor in time before, during, and after visiting a certain spot. Factor in Holidays too!
I’ll guess I have to wrap this up before it gets super long and boring…
Having an itinerary might not be applicable to other types of travelers. Some would still prefer travel agencies to do it for them. Maybe because they find it more hassle-free or convenient. But in my case, making my own itinerary gives me more control over my entire travel experience aside from the fact that it helps me to be on track. Other people may find me too organized but they’re probably the ones who haven’t traveled with me, so they can’t really say how spontaneous, flexible, and open I can get.
All that matters is that whenever I travel I make sure I enjoy every bit of experience. And it doesn’t require any piece of paper.
***For the sake of this article, I’m going to share with you one my itineraries, keep posted!
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