The cornerstone of your travel arrangements, a holiday itinerary provides all the details of your trip to make it a success. It’s what you’re going to be looking to in the run-up to departure and throughout your holiday, and contains every ‘plannable’ experience to make your holiday truly remarkable. The only issue is – how do you make sure it delivers on everything you were expecting? And how do you set about creating it in the first place?
1. Know what you are travelling for.
Ask yourself why you are really going away before you start building your itinerary. Is it to kick back and rewind while taking in the culture at your own pace, or is it more a question of expanding your worldview? Is it to get a good impression of a country as a whole or to experience more particular, authentic elements? To make your holiday a success your reason for travelling should shape the structure of your itinerary.
2. Pick your dates
Do you have a particular timeframe in mind? Or are you flexible as to your dates? Perhaps you’ll be travelling mid-monsoon season (this could be good or bad)? Is it during the Chinese New Year (overpopulated tourist hotspots could be a pain)? Are there festivals taking place and should you head straight for them or steer clear altogether? (During the Vietnamese New Year – Tet – many shops and restaurants close their doors). Will you be travelling during peak season? At Christmas and Easter, there will be peaks for air travel and hotel costs for example.
Pay close attention to your travel dates as these will give you the experience you are looking for – be prepared to compromise.
3. Who’s travelling with you and what do they want?
Will your travel companion be happy with the pace and style of the trip you’re thinking of? Have a conversation with them about what they really want out of the trip. Be ready to meet in the middle and be mindful that there are probably destinations that will cater for both of your interests.
4. Choose your destination
Before choosing your destination, it’s often useful to think about what a given country can offer you. This includes your getting around, the style of your trip and whether you really want some beach time whilst away. Interested in Asia?
5. Getting around
How long is the flight from the UK and can you get direct flights? The less faffing about getting to your destination the better, although there’s a tradeoff – the further you go often the more different and intriguing the country can be.
Whilst you’re in your holiday destination, think about how logistics will work on the ground – will you want to hire a car or hire a driver whilst you’re there? Can you make use of domestic flights to keep things quick travelling between places of interest? Or are there ways to avoid flights, for example, overnight sleeper trains?
Have a quick research of your countries of interest and reflect on what you really want.
When building your itinerary it’s important to allow time to relax every day. A constant intake of new sights and smells can be quite tiring, so unless you want to trail blaze around the country, be sure to factor some downtime in. You also don’t want to be hopping between locations in your destination – generally, it’s a good rule of thumb to spend 2 nights per location in your itinerary – that’ll allow you to explore independently, enjoy planned activities and still have some pool time.
If you really want some time on the beach, think carefully about where you want to include it. Lots of people like to put this at the end of the holiday, however, sometimes it makes more sense geographically to put it in the middle of your holiday. Just be open to options.
8. Decide how you’re going to book it
You can make your arrangements independently on booking sites, building an itinerary word – there are some online sites that will automatically sync your online arrangements on an itinerary which is useful. Do remember though that you won’t necessarily have good legal protection over your arrangements. (There’s an entire website called Airbnbhell expressing unfortunate stories from customers.)
If you give all your needs and wishes to an expert travel company, like Experience Travel Group, all your itinerary will be protected by ABTA bonding. This means the company has a legal duty to ensure your holiday takes place as described and in case of emergency must make sure arrangements are provided for you. You won’t have to risk making any mistakes and your travel expert organising items can make extra suggestions that will set your holiday apart.
If you are intrigued by what a company like Experience Travel Group could offer, do get in touch on 0207 924 7133 or email us here. We’re not as expensive as you might think, and amazing value when you consider the inside knowledge and practical support you have access to both in the essential planning stages of an itinerary and on the ground during your holiday. To view all our destinations, do have a look at our portfolio and for a general overview of holidays in Asia, download our expert guide to Borneo.