Over the last few weeks, I have planned a few trips to San Francisco, Chicago, and Colorado, so I’ve been busy creating itineraries for all three destinations. I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve found to be helpful in my planning. Hopefully these tips will spark inspiration for your own itinerary planning as you get ready for any upcoming trips you may have!
1. Check Out Sample Itineraries
One of my favorite ways to begin planning an itinerary is by viewing what others have already put together. This can be a good way to learn about popular attractions in the destination you are visiting. For example, I started researching a few sample itineraries for my upcoming trips, such as this guide for Chicago. Though I may not exactly match my itinerary to the ones I find, they can help give me a general sense of what I can’t miss when I’m traveling.
2. Research the Destination on Blogs and Tourism Sites
I also enjoy browsing the tourism board websites for my destination. When I was planning a trip to Asheville, NC, I reached out to their department of tourism and received some great restaurant recommendations (and even a little gift bag!) They can be very helpful when it comes to pointing you in the direction of what to see in your destination. I also look for destination-specific travel blogs by searching the destination name along with the term “blogs” to see what comes up. I found this to be especially helpful when I hiked the Inca Trail and wanted firsthand accounts of what to expect.
3. Start a Google Doc
My friends and I love using Google Docs to plan out trips! I even use this platform for solo trips. It can be a really helpful way to keep yourself organized and add ideas as you do research along the way. It’s particularly helpful when trying to plan group vacations so everyone can contribute ideas and comments to the document.
4. Download an App
Apps such as RoadTrippers or Google Trips can help spark ideas for what to include in an itinerary. They give quick insight into your destination and will even suggest restaurants, attractions, and hotels along the way. It’s an easy way to find tips on the go and keep your itinerary saved to your phone.
5. Talk to a Local or Someone Who’s Already Been There
There’s nothing like knowing someone who has visited or who is from the destination you plan to travel to. Asking for insider tips from someone who’s already been there is one of the easiest ways to help you plan your best vacation!
Finally, make sure you have both a virtual and a hard copy of everything on your itinerary, including your hotel, your flight, your transportation, and your tour information. That way you always have a backup in case something gets lost or deleted.
These are my five tips for how to plan your best itinerary. Of course, it’s always important to leave room for spontaneity on any trip, too. Spontaneous activities often make for some of the best memories!
This list is by no means comprehensive, so I would love to know what tips you have for planning an itinerary!