Planning Your Own Itinerary
With a little bit of elbow grease and know how, planning and executing your own itinerary can be a rewarding experience.
- Your schedule, your way. You get to plan what you want to do, when you want to do it. Complete and total freedom.
- No need to account for anyone else’s needs, schedule, etc. If you start an activity, don’t like it and want to leave – do it. Want to stay longer – that’s fine as well.
- Avoids most all of the pitfalls of using tour operators, such as – confined schedules and kickbacks.
- ‘Can’ be less expensive – depending on the activity. You certainly won’t have to tip a tour guide when you are done.
- More work for you in terms of planning – both logistically and budgetary.
- As a visitor, you don’t have the local knowledge many tour guides possess, so you’ll have to research it before hand and figure it out once you arrive.
- Can be more expensive – though not always the case.
- You are on your own – so you’ll need to recognize the scams and ward off beggars.
- Since you don’t know the area, you may not know the best things/venues to see or the best times to see them.
Tips for Planning Your Trip
Whether you go the tour operator or self guided route, keep these tips in mind when planning your trip.
- Make sure you have identified why you are going on the trip and what the goal(s) of the trip will be.
- Come up with a prioritized high-level itinerary. List the top 5 things you want to do on this trip, as well as, a list of other things you’d like to do if you have time.
- Don’t over plan! You shouldn’t feel the need to plan every detail of your itinerary, e.g., 10:30am eat breakfast, 11:00am drive to event, 11:45am have fun…. This is an opportunity to have fun – not manage every single little detail. Do your top five and ensure teach activity is open on the days you intend to arrive – and go!
- The Internet is your friend. Read the various guidebooks for your destination, evaluate hotel reviews from sites like TripAdvisor, and get an in-depth idea of the local surroundings via WikiTravel. Read My Favorite Travel Planning Sites article.
- Your friends and this site ;o) – are also good resources.
Hopefully, after reading this article you have a better idea of the value of putting together an itinerary and this helps you get the most out of your vacation. If you have any suggestions or would like to comment, please post them below.