How to Plan Travel Itineraries

If you think planning travel itineraries is easy and fun, you’re only half right: it’s definitely fun but not at all easy.

Underestimating this aspect when thinking about how to plan a trip is definitely a big mistake. Every self-organised trip is different from all the others: If the trip is organised by a travel agency, it will be the same for everyone who purchases it. If you organise the trip on your own, it will be the result of your priorities and will become a unique experience that you have designed to live all (and only) the experiences you desire.

The journey can then be a sequence of relaxing and rewarding luxury experiences or an adrenaline-filled and exciting adventure.

come pianificare itinerari di viaggio

The Travel Itinerary

One of the components that most significantly differentiates travel experiences is the itinerary. Knowing how to plan travel itineraries following a proven method is a guarantee of success.

The stages (and stops) are highly characteristic and determine the success of the travel project. Planning too long movements or miscalculating the necessary times can ruin entire days if not the entire holiday.

Before departing and throughout the planning phase of the trip, it is very important to gather as much information as possible about

  • the distances to be covered
  • the travel times
  • the type of transport available (schedules, prices, connections, types)
  • possible alternatives in case of emergency or service disruption
  • any intermediate stops to be included in case you need to modify the itinerarycome pianificare itinerari di viaggioHow to Plan Travel Itineraries: Phases to Follow and Not Neglect

Research

Once you’ve chosen your travel destination, you need to start researching

  • all the means of transport available to reach the travel destination
  • the potential intermediate stops to include in the itinerary
  • information on travel times and on the quality of transports
  • possible emergency alternatives

If you think the journey begins on the day of departure, you’re making a serious mistake! The journey begins right after you’ve chosen the destination, and precisely during the research phase. This is one of the most fun and stimulating moments for a true traveller! The means that the internet provides us with are extraordinarily powerful and using them to the fullest as well as being very useful is extremely fun.

The first and most important tool to use at this stage is Google Maps.

One of the tools that Google offers for free to users is also the most powerful and accurate in the world and has no rivals when it comes to planning an itinerary. All the most passionate travellers have used it at least once and have experienced its reliability and accuracy.

Being able to use this tool well allows (in addition to planning the itinerary) to

  • find hotels along the route
  • find restaurants in the immediate vicinity of our position
  • view the map, the satellite view, or even the “street view” of our position
  • find and view every kind of service, commercial activity, or office in the vicinity of our position

all this also in virtual mode, i.e., exploring places without moving from our comfortable sofa!

Learning to use all the functionalities of this incredible tool is essential.

Google Maps is known to all travellers, but few know that there is an evolution of this tool (also free) available on Google: My Maps

This tool is even more powerful and customizable and is essential for learning how to plan travel itineraries better. In addition to all the functions already available on Google Maps, on Google My Maps you can:

  • save the location of your hotels, the places you want to visit, or a place of interest
  • change the colour of the markers on the Google map. For example: you can set the colour blue for hotels, red for restaurants, and green for places of interest.
  • add your notes to the information provided by Google. This way, you can remember why you selected that particular place.
  • once the itinerary has been processed and all notes inserted, it is possible to save it with a name chosen by you and create sub-levels to your itinerary. Levels are useful for creating itineraries that involve a car route (1st level) that then continues on foot (2nd level).
  • You can use levels also to create specific itineraries for each day of the trip and create a subsequent level for each day of travel.
  • create itineraries with multiple destinations. Adding more than one stop in the same itinerary.
  • add mixed routes; to be done by car, on foot, or by bicycle.
  • find alternative routes to those suggested by Google My Maps. Longer, shorter, scenic.
  • view all the levels created in a single screen or deselect the levels you don’t need at the moment to view only the route you are engaged in.come pianificare itinerari di viaggio

Planning

Once the itinerary and the points of interest we want to visit have been established, we move on to the planning phase. In this phase, we need to find information on:

  • where to sleep
  • where to eat
  • what to do along the itinerary
  • activities to do in the visited places
  • events to attend

Even in this phase, we can use Google My Maps, which in addition to planning the itinerary is useful because it provides information on commercial activities listed by Google (practically all). Once the possible alternatives have been found on Google My Maps, it is important to extend the research beyond the platform: the information found on Google has been inserted by the activity manager and is therefore very subjective. For example, once you have found the hotels near the place you want to visit, start searching on review sites (Trip Advisor) or booking sites (Booking) to gather more information in order to choose based on information found on various independent sources.

come pianificare itinerari di viaggio

Execution

At this point, you are ready and have chosen all the stages, stops, and destinations of your trip. First, you will need to choose the type of transport and purchase travel tickets.

I advise you to choose based on your expectations and the type of trip you want to make. The best way to save on travel expenses is to be flexible about the departure date and buy tickets for the most convenient day waiting for the operators’ offers.

However, the success of a trip is not only dependent on achieving maximum savings but is the result of planning aimed at living the best travel experience. Consider this when making your choices.

Once the mode of transport (and therefore the departure, arrival, and return dates) has been chosen, you can start looking for places to stay overnight. I have dedicated many articles to this topic. In the article “Searching for the Ideal Accommodation for Overnight Stays During Trips“, you will find ideas and suggestions as well as the complete index of all the articles dedicated.

Departure

At this point, you are well aware of all the phases necessary to know how to plan travel itineraries and prepare for departure. The last checks to make are:

  • verify all tickets and procedures for departing with the chosen means of transport
  • check via email or with a phone call that the accommodations chosen for overnight stays are confirmed
  • check that you have all the necessary documents for travelling (Passport, Identity Card, Health Card)
  • save a copy of the itinerary, emails for bookings, all the information collected, and the phone numbers of the local operators we have booked in a dedicated Google Drive folder. In this way, we will not have to worry about losing paper copies or the smartphone because everything we need will be safe and always available in Google’s “cloud”.

Follow the advice I have included in this post and read all the articles I mentioned. You will have a very precise idea of everything you need to know how to plan travel itineraries and leave for wonderful holidays.

“We believe that the free and spontaneous sharing of information is the key to making ‘travelling’ a habit achievable by everyone.”

During your travels, you will come into possession of valuable information that you will probably never use again.

This information is extremely useful for those who want to organise a trip similar to the one you have experienced. We are forming a Community of people who believe in the “principle of sharing” and who will participate in the final phase of the development of a new digital platform entirely dedicated to travel and holidays.

It will be a real revolution that will allow everyone to organise and plan trips and holidays without any form of intermediation.

This post is also available in: Italian