It is intimidating when you have to build an itinerary for a holiday. Some people plan their holiday travel on a budget. Others may love to spend more money to enjoy the comprehensive list of things to do during the holiday. Of course, your holiday planning depends on what you want. Whatever your holiday will be, of course, there are some important things that you need to have a great holiday itinerary.
Forget your budget or duration of stay. The first thing to do is to prepare a comprehensive list of things to see and do at your holiday destination. This should include everything right from the local attractions to the restaurants you want to try. Do not try to filter out anything at this point. The objective is to prepare a master list of things you want to do at your destination. If you are planning to visit more than one city for your holiday, prepare multiple lists of attractions.
Once you have the comprehensive list of things you will do and see in the city, put these things on your map. This is important so you can identify the geographic proximity of the various attractions. For example, this map tells you that you can explore the Harbour Bridge and Opera House before going to Bondi Beach if you visit Sydney.
Google MyMaps is the most popular way to locate the various attractions on a map. There are other tools like MapCustomizer that provide bulk-entry options to input all your places to see all at once.
Next, prepare a spreadsheet to list down those various attractions in groups. The goal is to reorder the attractions whether you can visit the places within a day or two. In the map above, you can find the Sea Aquarium is available in the afternoon. Meanwhile, the Harbour Bridge Climb is open in the evening. By using this information, you can chart the things to do from the morning to the evening.
There are some things to consider here. There may be instances where you may not be able to fit all the attractions in a group within a day. You may now decide whether to spend an extra day at the same place in order to see everything or if you could skip some attractions. Other times, you may also find that all the attractions in a group can be covered in just half a day. In this case, you can merge this group with another that may be covered within a single day.
You may skip this step if you are not a budget-conscious traveler. However, if you do not want to overspend, the next step is to estimate how much you could be spending at each place. Add a new column in your spreadsheet and enter an estimated expense against each of these attractions. This could include entry fee, transport fares, as well as food if you want to be really precise with your budget estimation. Your spreadsheet now looks something like this.
Carry out this process for all the planned destinations on your holiday. This way, you will be able to get a gross estimate of how much you could be spending in all. If this gross estimate is higher than your planned budget, you might look at removing or replacing items in your itinerary with alternate attractions from the same geographical cluster. One rule of thumb is to remember that your actual expenses are always likely to be higher than your estimate.
A Draft Itinerary
You now have a complete list of places to visit and the number of days you will spend in each city on your holiday list. The next step is to prepare a draft itinerary to capture all your activities from the date of departure until you come back home. You could make use of Google Sheets or cloud-based apps like GrowRadius to flush out all the necessary details regarding your travel plans in one document. The benefit of using dedicated itinerary planner tools is that it is easy to share your itinerary with friends and family, collaborate with the people you are traveling with, as well as get anonymous feedback from strangers on the internet. Make sure that you take into account everything while deciding on the number of things to do in a day. This includes flight travel time, layovers, time for lunch/dinners, commuting to and from the hotel, etc.
Collaborate & Finalize
So you have your draft itinerary on your hands. Now, you should share it with the people you are traveling with to ask for their opinions. Second, you should estimate your expenses with the available alternatives. For example, if the itinerary includes a week each in Melbourne and Sydney, decide your landing destination and where you want to depart from the flight ticket prices.
Once you have aggregated feedback from everyone and have double-checked the budget estimates, you may draw up the final itinerary. Following the steps above should ensure that you not only explore all the must-see places in your holiday destination but that you are also able to do it within your planned budget.