I may be a bit on the obsessive side when it comes to organization, but you don’t have to be a professional travel planner to build a great itinerary for your next vacation. Get organized and outline your plan with these five easy steps.
1. CREATE A GOOGLE MAP
This initial step will help create a visual of the places you want to go so that the path will naturally fall into place. I promise this is easier than it sounds. Just check out this tutorial from a fellow travel blogger here. Google has recently unrolled some update, so things may look a bit different than they do in the screenshots but the steps are inherently the same.
2. FRAME YOUR TRAVEL DATES
Grab a calendar and pencil and begin mapping out your location day by day. If you are traveling between cities or countries, mark potential travel days. This may require you to search things like “Paris to London” in order to understand how long it will take.
3. SEARCH PREMADE ITINERARIESOnce you’ve framed your own travel dates, compare them with premade itineraries to see if your sketch looks reasonable. You may want to Google phrases like “1 week in eastern Europe” or “5 days in New Orleans.” Sites like TripAdvisor can also be great resources or you may want to go directly to a guided tour company like Contiki to see what they’re doing. There are experts out there so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
4. MAKE NOTE OF ATTRACTIONS YOU WANT TO SEE AND PLACES YOU WANT TO GO
After searching premade itineraries you should have a good idea of the things you want to do on your trip. Jot these down and make note of them on the appropriate days of your calendar.
5. MODIFY BASED ON YOUR PRIORITIES AND RESTRICTIONS
The beauty of planning your own itinerary is that you have total control. Go ahead and take note of premade itineraries but then change them as you see fit. If your priority is getting amazing photos of the skyline from atop the Arc de Triomphe then skip the 4 hour tour of the Louvre. If you really want to go to the Full Moon Party, then rearrange your trip so you are in Koh Phangan on the right days.
Need some inspiration? Take a look at my suggested itinerary for backpacking Southeast Asia.
Or check out this staycation itinerary for a weekend in New Orleans.
Photo credit: Get Your Guide
Great tips! I’ve been wondering lately how the hell I plan what to do in the 25 or so countries I expect to visit over the next two years. Planning a long weekend away to a new city is sometimes overwhelming enough, but a whole country… These tips give me ideas where to start. Thanks for sharing!
Tiffany(The Together Traveler) says
Thanks for reading Charlie! I get overwhelmed sometimes too, and I love the planning part of travel. I always go back to my Google map when I get stuck or start searching premade itineraries.. why reinvent the wheel right? Just take whats already there and make it fit your needs! You can definitely find RTW trip itineraries for help too!