How to Make an Effective & Budget-Friendly Travel Itenary

Itineraries are a must for travel. When going to a completely unknown place, it’s always best to know where and what to visit and when you can visit them. It helps organize your days and time to make the most out of your tours.

So here are a few quick ways to make your own personal travel itinery customised to your budget and travel needs.

Budget

The first step of creating an itinerary is locking in your budget. Other than your airfares and hotel prices, calculate how much you can spend on public or private transport, ticket fees for attractions, and any extra activities. This should give you an idea about how much you can spare for your overall travel expenses.

You should also calculate costs for food and any other miscellaneous spending. It’s always great to keep a backup so you won’t be taken by surprise and freak out when you end up spending more than you calculated.

Make a Schedule

Timestamping is one of the most important parts of making your itinerary. Make a schedule of the number of days you will be staying at your destination. It’s a must to include your time of landing and take-off as well so you will get an idea of what you can do with the rest of the day.

For example, if you land at your destination in the morning, it will give you enough time to freshen up and go sightseeing for the day. If you land towards the afternoon, that will give you half-day to see a spot or two nearby. Night-time arrivals mean you get to rest and be out and about the next day.

This is also similar to returning. If your return flight is in the morning, then you will have to pack up the day before.

Schedules will also help you organize visits to places with time limits. Maybe a certain spot will only be open for half a day or at a certain time. Maybe the tourist attraction happens at a specific day of the week. Having a schedule will help you put two and two together so you won’t miss what you want to see and you will have plenty of time to go around.

Making a schedule will also help you in knowing just how many hours you can spend at a certain tourist spot if you are crunched for time.

Research – cities, activities & events

This is where you pour in your conditions of time and budget and pick out places that falls under your criteria.

You can’t make an itinerary if you don’t know where exactly it is you want to go and what you want to see. And for that, you need to do travel research. Check out which are the most popular places or ancient monuments that are worth visiting. Find out if there are areas that suit your particular tastes (like adventure activities, hiking, diving, city strolls, beaches, etc).

When you come across a certain tourist spot that you would love to make a stop at, it’s time to find some added information. Check out where it is and how long it will take you to get there. Here are some questions you can keep in mind when researching:

  • Is the travel distance within the constraints of your time limit?
  • Does the spot have any entry fees or other fees?
  • Would you need another day or two to travel to this particular place?
  • What are the transportations you can take to get there?

If the places that do want to visit tick all the mark (money, distance, time etc) then add them to your list. Which takes us to the next step.

Bring it together

This is where you put your itinerary together and create a concise list. You can create your itinerary in list form or table form. Start by writing down your travel dates.

The next step is to jot down any important events or spots with time restrictions. This should be the first to go on your list. For example, a festival happening on a Tuesday or a museum that’s only open from 2 to 4pm. List this down first so you won’t miss it. This should have your itinerary roughly looking like this:

Sun 10th – See the weird festival
Mon 11th –
Tues 12th – the museum opens from 2pm to 4pm
Wed13th –
Thursday 14th –

If you have any special things you want to do (like eating local food or have brunch at a special place) include them in the middle of your activities. Here is an example:

Monday 15th – Start tour at 8am and head to xxxx place. Have local food at xxxxx restaurant nearby at 1pm, followed by half an hour drive to xxxxxx.

Fill in the rest of your dates with similar information to plan your trip. If you don’t have any special events or festivals planned, it’s better to list down places that are closest to you first so you can take your time to see the rest.

And remember, always be ready for surprises. Sometimes things might not go as you planned or they might go better than you planned. The best thing about travel though is that you get to see and experience things you otherwise never could.

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