You’ve decided it’s time for another trip. You know where you want to go, and maybe even one or two places you’d like to visit, possibly which historic hotel or swanky rental you’d like to stay at. But what do you do about the rest of your trip?
If you’ve taken the leap to spend money on airfare, and can spend a little more, make the most of it by making your trip longer than a night or two. You’ve already got the hard part down: you’ve picked a destination and now have a starting point. Planning your trip yourself, instead of following a step-by-step itinerary or paying someone else to plan it for you, will ensure your trip is catered to you
What Do You Not Want To Do?
Decide how much time you’d like to spend relaxing on a beach or at a spa, versus how much time you want to spend adventuring and exploring the area. If your destination has it, do you want to experience the nightlife? Do you have the gear needed for a hiking or skiing trip? If not, are you willing to rent the gear once there?
Answer these questions and more to narrow down what type of attractions and activities you want to participate in. There’s no point in researching everything your destination has to offer if you’re not an outdoors person and know you won’t be doing any sports or physical activities. Instead of thinking about what you want to do, rule out things you know don’t enjoy and work from there.
Check Out A Local Tourism Guide
While you’re not going to follow a pre-written itinerary, it is useful to look at your destination’s government website for what their biggest tourist attractions and famous landmarks are. You should also look at travel guides like this one, to see real travelers’ recommendations and reviews.
Do research on your destination, by using the guides mentioned above, as well as other blogs, websites, and travel books, and narrow down a few places you’d like to visit. Also figure out where the best place to stay is, preferably someplace central to these places.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Learn more about the places you’ve settled on, and figure out the distance from your lodgings. Secure airport rentals if your trip requires driving—or if having a rental car makes your trip easier. Depending on where you’re going, local transportation may not be reliable, or it may be pricey. If either of those things is true, you may still find it less stressful to have your own means of transportation.
Pack all the clothes, shoes, materials, etc., you may need. Obviously, if you’re going to a beach or somewhere to swim, bring a bathing suit. If you plan to go hiking, bring the correct footwear. If you don’t have what’s necessary, make sure there’s somewhere close you can rent or buy from.
Get Ready To Leave
Perhaps the most important step to planning your own itinerary is making sure you have a copy of it! We suggest a written copy, but you can also use your phone, including travel planning apps, as a backup. Give or send the itinerary to whoever is accompanying you on the trip, if anyone at all, and have them double-check it for any missing items or mistakes.
Whether you choose to plan every hour of your trip, or just a few excursions and leaving the rest up to the moment, having a travel itinerary will make preparing for and enjoying your trip easier than if you had not.
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