Creating the perfect travel itinerary

Creating the perfect travel itinerary

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

Planning the perfect trip can be incredibly time-consuming. From finding affordable flights to a hotel in the ideal location, it can take hours, even days to put together one vacation. The good news is that right now most of us have nothing but time! Use this extra time, when you can’t go out to eat or hang out with friends, to create some perfect travel itineraries. This way, when the travel ban finally lifts, you’ll be ready to go! Take these tips into consideration when planning.

Hotels

Finding a good hotel can be a serious challenge. Location, breakfast, parking and other amenities come into play, depending on where you are staying. When looking at hotels, make sure you are utilizing filters. If you want breakfast every day, be sure to select “Breakfast Included.” If you know you will be visiting multiple locations that are within walking distance of a hotel, take that into consideration too. Utilize the map view to pinpoint where the hotel is located. You should also take into consideration transportation. Will you be taking the train, bus or driving a personal vehicle while on your trip? Can you park on-site at the hotel? How much does it cost? You’ll save yourself the headache of dealing with this when you arrive if you plan ahead! 

Airfare

Once you’ve decided on the perfect location, booking plane tickets potentially becomes one of the most expensive parts of the trip. I highly recommend you look at BOTH hotel prices and plane tickets together before you book anything, or you may find that one is way more expensive than the other. If you can, be flexible with dates to get the best prices, and consider flying at early or late times. Don’t forget about baggage! How many suitcases will you be bringing with and how much does each cost?  Another great way to save money is to travel to certain locations in their “off season.” Once you purchase plane tickets, figure out how to get from the airport to your destination. Is there a hotel shuttle? A bus stop? Will the train get you close enough? Oftentimes, it is a combination of walking and taking a few different types of transportation to get to your hotel. Figure out the quickest or cheapest options, depending on your preference, before you get off the plane and look around like a lost tourist! 

Transportation

Again, transportation can be the bane of your existence if you don’t plan ahead. Are there taxis easily available? What about Uber? Is there a bus stop by your hotel? Can you easily drive a car from location to location? How much is parking? Can you get a city pass and hop on/off different types of transportation? Can you train across the country easily? Depending on how many bags you are traveling with, will the vehicle you rent have enough room? While some people might be more comfortable with “winging it,” you’ll save yourself a considerable amount of stress if you take these things into consideration. 

Activities

Planning out what you want to do on your trip might sound like something that can be decided in the moment, but doing that can waste serious time and incredible amounts of money if you aren’t careful. Research activities, cost, location and opening times before you arrive. There are many places that require you to purchase tickets beforehand. You might not be able to get in at all if you don’t plan ahead. A prime example of this is Neuschwanstein Castle. You should definitely not try to get tickets on-site without a reservation! You should also take into consideration the location of your activities. For example, if you are in Paris for three days, try to break things up by location/neighborhoods. This will save lots of time because you won’t have to walk or take transportation back and forth multiple times a day. 

Restaurants

If you are traveling with picky eaters or anyone with food allergies, planning restaurants ahead is paramount. Make sure you locate restaurants either near activities or the hotel. While you certainly can go out of your way to get to a special restaurant, make sure you take into account how you will get there and how long it will take. And ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS, make reservations if you can! For places that are particularly popular, do so well in advance. For example, when I was trying to get reservations at Angelina’s in Paris, I was booking two weeks in advance and there weren’t any tables!  

I know all of this information can seem overwhelming, but if you have the time now, it will save you so much time while on your trip! Imagine spending no time searching for a restaurant or figuring out the train system while touring a new city. Never miss out on a tour again for not having booked tickets in advance. There are no surprise charges or missed busses when you’ve created a full itinerary (at least you hope so)! Plan the perfect vacation, or two, now while you have the time. 

 

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