So if you’re anything like me, you are constantly making lists of potential destinations to visit. But what do you do when it’s time to actually plan a trip? How do you narrow down your list of amazing possible destinations, and put them into a manageable itinerary? Here are five simple tips to help you start planning your next trip:
1. Figure out who will be traveling. Will you be solo, with friends or maybe family? Also, find out what the overall physical ability of the group is. Some destinations are great for a family, while others are better suited for a group of friends. And there are destinations that pose physical restrictions, such as a trip hiking in the mountains.
2. Length of time. Once you’ve figured out who is going on the adventure, it’s important to figure out how long the adventure will last. Though a lot of the time this is dictated by vacation days and overall budget.
3. Geography. Grab a map, grab a globe, or get online. A map is one of the most essential itinerary-planning tools! Once you have your map, take a couple of potential destinations and check out where they are in relation to each other. If four are in Eastern Europe, and one is in South America, think about splitting those destinations into two trips. And it is also important to realize that what may look like the best itinerary on a map, may not logistically work out. Sometimes there just aren’t easy, quick or cost effective ways to travel between two close destinations.
4. Time of year. This can affect a lot of the things listed within the first three tips. Depending on when you travel it might make a difference on who can join. This can also be a determining factor on the length of time you are able to be gone, or want to be gone. And it can definitely impact the geography of the trip. If you are trying to ski in Switzerland, it won’t work to go during the summer!
5. Research. Once you’ve narrowed your list down a little bit, do some research! Get some books, look online, and write down things that seem interesting or fun to do in each destination. This also helps if you want to go somewhere for a specific event, like Oktoberfest in Munich.
As you start planning, keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect itinerary; perfect doesn’t exist when it comes to travel. No trip ever works out 100% how you planned it. There is also no right or wrong way to go about planning. And sometimes the best things happen by complete accident. For me at the end of the day, travel is more about the actual journey, than the physical destination.