It use to be that to go on any trip required a visit to the travel agency while these days everyone is their own travel agent handling their own travel needs. But with so many resources and opportunities available on the internet, sometimes planning a trip can seem a little daunting especially to someone who is relatively new to the travel scene. I am always planning a trip here or there and I get asked by friends and family for some guidance on where to start planning their own trip. So here is what I do when I’m planning a trip.
GATHER IDEAS… Before anything, start gathering ideas of things to see or do in the place you are going. Pinterest is a great place to start because you can gather pictures and itineraries and save them in one place. I would say that most of my boards on pinterest are trips I want to take at some point or trips I am planning right now. Another great place to start is seeing any travel shows or documentaries about the place you are going. This will help to give a visual of the place and what might interest you there. And of course, a great place to gather ideas is from people who have been there. Ask for recommendations from friends or family or have been there on what they loved and what they wouldn’t suggest.
DO YOUR RESEARCH…After you have gathered your ideas, then comes the nitty gritty part of doing the research. This is where you look at the time that you have for where you are going. Pull out the guide book or the map and start to narrow down what you want to do. Decide on the things that you absolutely can not miss on this trip and let those things be the guide posts for your time. There is always so much to see and so much that you want to do where you go, but because most of us have to fit our travel plans within time constraints it is important to prioritize the things that you really want to see. Look up distance times between points of interest and look up how are you going to get from point A to point B so you can factor in that time.
MAKE A DAILY PLAN…Once you have the top must see list, then decide what day of your trip you want to do each thing. For me I always break my trip into areas (certain areas of a city for example) and decide what area will best for what day. It is good to have a general plan for the day that includes getting to do the things you want to do but also allowing some breathing space for other things you may discover. Being so rigid about your plan and having every minute planned out takes away from the experience, so breaking it down into an area gives you time to see the priorities but also gives you time to explore.
BE FLEXIBLE…No matter how well you have planned a trip, there are just some things that you have no control over. Sometimes you just have to make the best of things and look at all of it as part of the experience. When plans don’t work out for whatever reason, just roll with it and make the best of it instead of letting the hiccup ruin the entire trip. Adjust your plans and priorities as necessary and go from there. Before you leave for your trip, just understand that not everything might go as planned but that being there will be worth it even if there are hiccups. And sometimes you will find that those unplanned for, seemingly disastrous, moments lead to the best travel experiences…or if nothing else, a great story to tell when you get back.