How To Plan Your Travel Itinerary

writing in a planner

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I know, I know, How To Plan Your Travel Itinerary? Creating a travel itinerary may seem like too much work, but we take the mystery away in this easy to follow post.  We want your next couples getaway or family vacation to be a success.  Doing so means you need to do some preliminary planning for your time away.  Our travel itinerary tips are going to pull everything together for you easily for your next big trip.

How To Plan Your Travel Itinerary

How To Plan Your Travel Itinerary

Figure out your maximum vacation budget

Before you can even begin planning your travel itinerary, you have to really look at what your budget is.  If you add things to your plan but cannot afford to pay for them, it does you no good.  When it is time to consider you budget, be realistic about the maximum you can spend without utilizing credit. While there are reasons to use credit cards while traveling, you want to make sure your savings and budget can pay those off within the month you use them.  A budget for travel should not put you into debt.

Once you know how much you have to use for your travel, you can break things down into categories and plan accordingly.

  • Travel to and from the location including gas and car maintenance or airfare and rental car expenses.
  • Lodging during travel including on your way there, at the destination, and on your way home.
  • Food costs during your travel period including on your way there, at your destination, and on your way home.  This will include 3 meals a day, beverages, and snacks for each person in your travel party.
  • Entertainment costs for your travel period including amusement parks, movies, miniature golf, and parking costs for those locations.
  • Souvenir costs – this is usually a small budget for things like a magnet, keychain, or other memorabilia for kids to keep.

Make a list of important things to consider

As you plan your travel itinerary, you need to take into consideration your family needs.  Every family has a different set of preferences and needs.  As you begin considering what you want to do and accomplish during your vacation, make note of these things.  We have a few things to consider below.

  • Will pets be traveling with you? If so, how will they be accommodated at venues, events, and hotels along the way?  Can they be left in the room? In a crate or kennel while you are away?  Do they need to stay with you all the time?
  • Does anyone in your family have special needs to plan for?  Physical disabilities, food intolerance or allergies, medication needs, mental health concerns (crowd anxiety, etc.), or even sensory issues must all be taken into consideration when booking.
  • Don’t forget travel time as well as time at your destination.  Plan for plenty of time to get to and from your vacation destination.

Create a travel itinerary that includes something for everyone

A great travel itinerary won’t be just about what one person enjoys.  Your list of attractions and events should include something for every person in your family.  This means considering the travel itinerary and adjusting to include different things that are appealing to everyone in your group and not just one person.

  • Are your activities age appropriate?
  • Do you have enough adults to manage children if they are at different parts of an amusement park (teens in one area and younger kids in another)?
  • Is there something special for each family member to enjoy?

planning wall for a trip travel itinerary

Include downtime regularly

One of, if not the most important thing to add to your travel itinerary is downtime.  Without some breaks to rest, relax, and recuperate, you will find yourself and your family not truly enjoying everything your vacation has to offer.  It’s vital to include time to focus on things like taking a nap after a long day at an amusement park, or taking one day of just lounging poolside to rest and let your body heal before heading out for more excursions.

You will also want to consider including downtime when you arrive home.  Nobody is productive at work after being rushed back home and right into the office.  So, when booking your travel destination, leave at least one day between when you get home and when you have to go back to school or work.  This will allow you to get a good night sleep in your own bed, catch up on laundry, and simply catch your breath before heading back to the daily grind.

Explore alternatives for weather delays

Have you ever planned a trip for fun in the sun, then suddenly arrived to rain the entire time you are there?  Unfortunately, this does happen.  Unless you are planning a last minute trip, it is difficult to truly know what the weather will be when you are planning in advance.  This means you need to include some great alternatives in your travel itinerary that will help you to manage should weather not be cooperative for your first choice.

  • Ask about refund policies when there is bad weather before making ticket purchases.
  • Ask someone local to your destination about typical weather conditions during the time of year you will be visiting.
  • Look for both indoor and outdoor activities as alternatives should something happen to make your original plan go awry.
  • Make note of business hours and locations of alternate entertainment sources.

Add all information to a printed travel itinerary

Don’t forget that an itinerary isn’t just an idea in your head, but a true listing of what your plans are.  When you settle on your final travel itinerary, make sure to not only print it and share with your emergency contact at home but also add to every suitcase.  You will want access to that information easily throughout your vacation.

Include these things on your travel itinerary:

  • Dates of travel and locations you will be on each date
  • Hotel accomodations and contact information
  • Emergency contact information for persons in your party as well as someone at home
  • Security contact information for your home
  • Address and contact information of your planned entertainment as well as all back up locations

As you work on your next vacation travel itinerary, keep in mind these great tips to keep you and your family on track and having fun no matter what your destination may be.

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