Traveling to a foreign place can seem daunting, especially if you are going solo. When I went on my first solo trip, it was a bit scary and nerve-wracking. Every task ultimately fell on my shoulders. On the other hand, it was liberating as I had the freedom to choose what I wanted to do according to my heart’s desires. I had the ability to create the perfect itinerary for me — no compromises and no missed opportunities. With this mindset, planning can turn into an exciting process despite all of the work involved.
Below are some tips on how to create the perfect itinerary for your next trip:
1. Create an Inspiration Board on Pinterest
Once you have your destination locked, you can begin to visualize how the vacation might look like. Read up on interesting places to visit and things to do. Search Pinterest for photos of eye-catching sites and create your own inspiration board. Pin images, articles, and videos to your board to keep things organized. Do the same for every other destination that you have in mind. You can also use other applications or websites if you prefer. The point is to maintain your awesome gallery in a convenient location for ease of reference whenever you need it.
2. Make a List of Activities You Want to Do
Interact with your destination by taking part in activities recommended by locals and tourists alike. These could be walking tours around popular neighborhoods, amazing shows, incredible adventures, historical appreciation, and so on. Check out the things that you absolutely must try according to those who have gone there before. Don’t forget to look for gems that might be off the beaten path as well. After all, you wouldn’t want your holiday photos to be just like every other traveler’s gallery. Find things that personally excite you and list them down.
3. Break Up Each Day into Three: Morning, Afternoon, Evening
Now it’s time to fit your activities into a suitable time slot. It would be difficult to be too precise about the time because there might be delays and other difficulties along the way. You might also find yourself wanting to spend more time in one place than you anticipated. Keep a loose plan that divides each day into the morning, afternoon, and evening. Pencil in just one or two activities per frame so that you’re not in too much of a hurry. Know your priorities and your optional trips. Be flexible once you are out on the road.
4. Keep Nearby Activities & Eateries Together On The Same Days
Study the sights you want to see carefully. Pay attention to their location. You can find out a lot if you use the Internet so research should not be too hard. It would be best to schedule nearby activities on the same day. In many cases, you would only need to walk from one place to another or get a short taxi ride. This leaves you more time to experience a city rather than getting stuck in traffic. Dedicate each day to a different section of the town. Have your meals in neighborhood restaurants as well for convenience.
5. Visit Well-known and More Populated Areas on Weekdays
Popular sights tend to get extremely crowded during weekends. This means long lines, noisy places, packed vehicles, added heat, and heavy traffic. You might spend more time lining up rather than actually experiencing the places on your list. If you would like to optimize your precious hours, then go to these well-known places on weekdays instead. Most of the locals will be at school and at work so there will be fewer people. Tourist spots are mostly quiet in the morning so be strategic in your scheduling. Leave the lesser-known sights for the weekends.
6. Leave Time to Explore
Try not to put too much on your activities list every day. You won’t be able to truly be in the moment if you are constantly worrying if you can get somewhere else in an hour or so. Give yourself enough time allowance per place to explore, have meals, and do things that you might not have expected. Surprises can turn out to be the best parts of your trip. Free time will let you enjoy them.
7. Leave the Last Day Open
The last day should always be free. Try not to overwhelm your schedule with activities on the last day so you can relax before leaving. By leaving it open, you can do things you weren’t able to do earlier or might not have anticipated when you were at home planning for the trip. Perhaps you found a market where you want to shop for souvenirs. Maybe you met friends that you want to spend more time with. You could also go back to your favorite places, dine at a nice restaurant, or just take care of certain arrangements for smooth travel.
8. Use Google Maps to Plan Your Trip
Transportation costs can add up, especially if you are in a foreign place where you are not familiar with the public system. One of the best ways to decrease this cost is to plan your itinerary with places that are adjacent to each other. Instead of bouncing from north to south, then east to west, you can just move around in a sensible path tracing the best sights along the way. You can accomplish this by using Google Maps or any of your preferred mapping apps. You could also use printed maps if you prefer.
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