A custom itinerary makes everything so so so much easier during your trip and lets you maximize your time and money. This fulfilling activity makes you fully in control of how you travel. You get to decide where you’ll go, when you’ll do it, how much you’ll spend, and the time spent wherever. Having a complete itinerary lessens the hassle of getting lost, floundering in an unfamiliar place, and wasting time trying to decide where to go next. Don’t get me wrong, I like spontaneous adventures as much as my RPG characters online, but I don’t like wasting my time just trying to decide among other people (or among the voices in my head) what I’m supposed to do in a middle of a trip.
When making your own custom itinerary to wherever you are going, be prepared to take time and effort. Like spend a full day for it. For an itinerary to be as useful to you as possible, you need a lot of information. I don’t just mean cursory glances at the websites of places you’d like to visit, either. It doesn’t count as “looking it up”. This involves note-taking, scheduling, and detailed preparation. Yup. your tendency to be OC comes handy right about now.
Soooo, here are my guidelines to creating your complete custom itinerary for your DIY travel.
1. Determine the Length of Your Stay, Where You’re Staying, and Budget
This is basically your starting point. It allows you to set boundaries on yourself so you don’t go overboard in planning places to go only to come short of budget in the middle of the trip. People usually also forget to factor in the travel time of going place to place. By determining where you’re staying for the duration of your trip, you can easily plan how long it takes to go around your destinations and how much time and money you can spend there.
2. List Down Places You’d like to Go
This is still the initial planning stages. By listing your possible destinations and keeping in mind your starting point (Step 1), you can already gauge if you’re stay is too short or if you need to increase your budget and so on and so forth. You don’t necessarily have to go to every place you listed here. It’s just your kind of check list. This list is your guide for your next step which is to:
3. Research your Destinations
This is the start of the gruelling process of itinerary making. This is the part where you try to get as much information you need. General information for the whole of your trip and the specifics for each activity or place you want to visit. Take down notes! Lots and lots of notes! Remember, knowledge is your friend. IT. IS. YOUR. FRIEND.
a. Where and How to Get There
It’s a great time saver when you know how to get to your destination. I mean, its difficult to ask for directions on a normal day, but what if you’re in a country that isn’t speaking your language? Aside from being lost, screwed, and confused, you’ll look like a total tourist and well, they’re usually pickpocket’s targets. I’m just saying there’s a lot more to gain aside from not getting lost.
b. What to expect
Should I not be wearing shorts in that temple? Does it have 15 different roller coasters? Do I need to bring closed shoes? Little details that make your life waaaay easier. If you can prepare for it, why not yeah?
Hoho. This is the clincher for a lot of travellers like me. How much do I need to spend to get there and how can I lower that amount. Please do remember to factor in how much you’ll need to actually get there (tram, bus, MTR, etc). I actually usually tend to forget that I do need money to commute from place to place.
d. Hours and Days of Operation
So, one time, I commuted an hour to its nearest stop then walked 45 minutes to this museum, right? I knew it was free, how to get there by walking, etc. But when I got there, it was closed. Apparently Tuesdays were their maintenance day. After that, I made sure to check when places are closed. Don’t be a daft fool like me and forget to check this. You might just get unlucky.
4. Group Destinations
After a gazillion notes written and information-overload you had to experience, it’s now time to group them together.y the time we move on to the next step which id scheduling, it’ll be easier to manage. I recommend you to group them by location. I feel like it’s less time consuming because you know, less travel time. But I know some people who like to group them by activity though. They prefer to do activities by day. Like, Tuesday is Museum day, Wednesday is food trip day, etc etc. Or do both! Group them however your innocent fragile heart tells you to.
Dunduduuuun! This is the puzzle fitting part of the itinerary making! And the, hard part for me, decision making. Since you’ve grouped all your destinations together, this should be a piece of cake now!
6. Be Flexible
We can’t really expect that the plan will go flawlessly. No matter what happens, something comes up. Roll with it. The itinerary is your in-depth guide. You have the knowledge in your hands. You can wing it if you have to. You can switch destinations, even. You know the deets, man.
When travelling in a big group such as a family, consider renting vans or cars to maximize your money and time since public transportation can add up to a considerable amount when jumping from place to place. It’s also more comfortable way to travel, and if you are travelling with enough people, proves to be cheaper.
Bonus Tip: Research Promos and Events. Check out sites a month before your travel date. Usually promos come up during that time to entice the people to visit their attractions. This doesn’t include airfare and hotel promos, usually those promos are available more than a month before your travel date. For example, airlines usually give wonderful promos a year before the travel date.
I actually try to make an itinerary for every trip I go to (even if just a cursory one in my head)
I’ll upload my past itineraries soon for your reference!
If you have any questions, comment below! I’m more than glad to help you out!