This may seem like a redundant topic to chat about but I recently realized that for first time travellers, planning a trip can seem like a huge task. As I’m preparing for a big Asia trip in December, I thought I would quickly touch on my process of planning trips!
Before you start planning the bulk on your trip, make sure you’ve decided on dates and purchased transportation already. Get your plane tickets, bus tickets, train tickets—whatever it may be—out of the way first. So you don’t have to worry about it later.
1. Start a Google Doc
Starting a Google Doc is a great way to help you keep organized as well as allow you to access your itinerary on any device. I used to create my itinerary in Microsoft Word, but I quickly realized it was a lot more convenient to do it on the web. Plus, you have the ability to share your itinerary with family members to keep them in the loop (important if you’re travelling alone!) or with your travel partners so that you can work on the itinerary collaboratively.
2. List Out All Your Destinatons
The first thing I do in my Google Doc is always to list out every city/area that I plan on visiting. For example, for the Bali portion of my Asia trip, I would put down Seminyak, Ubud, and Changgu as my headers.
3. Find Accommodations In Each Of Your Destinations
Before researching what to do, the first thing I want to take care of are my accommodations. For this example I Googled “Villas in Seminyak” as well as looked on AirBnb for accommodations in Seminyak. (Pro tip: if you’re looking to stay in cheap but beautiful villas, definitely look into AirBnb first before you start looking at boutique villas and resorts).
Make a list on your Google Doc of all the different accommodation options that you have. Make sure this list is decently long just incase some of your first choices are booked already.
4. Research What You Want To Do In Each Area
After you’ve got all your accommodations figured out, that’s when you can start looking into activities and other fun things in the area.
In Seminyak I looked at beaches, shops, horse-back riding and restaurants. In Ubud I looked at nature walks, scenic routes, and yoga retreats. Once I have a master list, then I can start deciding which ones I want to do the most.
5. Mapping Your Days Out
After you have your accommodations list and your activities list, you then want to open up Google maps, and start looking at which of your accommodations will be the most convenient for you. As a young traveller, you will probably also need to consider budget so pick accommodations that are a good balance of affordable and close to the action. After you’ve mapped out where all your accommodations will be, you can then start planning your days.
6. List Out Your Dates
List out your dates in your Google doc and start deciding what day you want to do what activities. Keep referring back to your map so you’re not travelling all the way across town between activities. If you notice that a bunch of your activities are in the same area, try to visit those places on the same day. If it’s too much to do in one day or you think you’ll be too tired to enjoy the activities. Spread them out within two days.
And that’s it! Once you have all your dates and activities / times listed out, you can refer back to this itinerary through your phone during the trip so that you don’t waste any time while you’re travelling. Travelling for the first time can be daunting, but with a well thought out itinerary you can feel at ease during your trip!