Itinerary is like a blueprint in a construction job. It’s basically means a travel plan which contain specific place and date, schedule or timetable, and accommodations. It’s a trickiest part of a travel journey. But for some people who really loves traveling, this will be the most exciting thing about going on holiday. For someone who doesn’t, just leave this work for travel agent because making itinerary is pretty time consuming. Here’s the step by step about how to make itinerary based on my experience.
1. Decide WHERE you want to go and HOW LONG it will be.
If you’re about to make itinerary, I assume you already have a destination in general, for example Europe or Australia or Japan and Korean. You also need to decide how long you want to go depend on how many time you get and how much budget you have. They will be the head/title of your itinerary, for example “30 Days Europe Trip”.
2. Make a list of your PERSONAL BUCKETLIST and check AVAILABILITY.
I’ll define personal bucketlist as a very specific things you want to see or do on your journey that you’re really excited about, that become your obsession. Check them out if they are available at any time of the year or just open in specific time. If you don’t have the list on this specific destination or if they are all available anytime, then there’s no problem and you can proceed to point number 3. But if some of them have a specific time then this will be the base to do the next step.
For example, when I was making itinerary for my Europe trip, I included Keukenhof (tulip garden) in Amsterdam and watching football match at Allianz Arena in Germany, on to this list. They are not available every time. Keukenhof opens just for a month in spring every year and football match is even more rare, approximately just 2 matches per months.
3. Decide WHEN to go
After you know specific time to fulfil your bucket list, the next thing is to set the dates. In my case, this must be in spring and there must be one match held in Allianz Arena when I’m there. If you can’t find a time to fit all of your list, then you must prioritise and choose. In example, if you want to see some tulips in April and also want to attend Octoberfest in Germany, then you must choose between them, unless you have time and budget for 6 months traveling.
4. Make a list of the COUNTRIES and CITIES you want to visit.
After you have destination and time frame, now is time to choose specific countries and cities you want to visit. Be free and put everything that cross your mind into this list. I’m pretty sure everybody is gonna go overboard in this step because we have one time to travel and we want to make sure we see and do everything. It’s okay if you have a long list at this point because we’ll narrow it down in the next step.
5. ELIMINATE some of them to fit your itinerary.
Now this is the hardest part. Choosing between all of beautiful cities we wanna see is not easy. I remember struggled between Venice and Florence for a long time. Start to put them in order based on your priority. At the same time decide how many days you want to spend in each cities and put them on your list. In my opinion, average time to visit a city is 3-4 days, you can always adjust it later on. If you feel like you wanna stay longer in 1 place, go ahead and pick a shorter time for another cities you’re least excited about.
Example: If in first step you set 30 days, then you can visit 8-10 cities, roughly. I visited 9 in 30 days, some of them for 4-5 days and some of them is just a day trip from the nearest (i.e. day trip to Pisa from Florence, day trip to Salzburg from Munich).
6. Set the ROUTE
There are 2 ways to set the route. First, is to travel in a circular route. It means you need to arrive and depart from the same city and it’s usually cheaper if you book this kind of flight. The con’s you need to go back to your starting point which usually make a longer route.
The second one is travel in straight line route. Good thing about this route is you can travel in one way, no need to go back. The weakness is the open-jaw flight (arrive and depart from different city) is definitely more expensive. Just try to compare them and it depend on your destination as well.
I chose circular route from Jakarta-London-Amsterdam-Munich (with a day trip to Salzburg)-Florence (with a day trip to Pisa)-Rome-Barcelona-Paris-London-Jakarta which I thing suit my my plan better.
7. Find ACCOMMODATION
After you finally happy with your destinations and route, now is the time to search the best accommodations. Accommodation means transportations (between and within cities) and hotels/hostels. For me, this part took me the longest to decide, because there are too much option. Took me about 2 months to just finally booked a flight at the lowest price. And took me even longer to set accommodations in each city. It’s a lot of browsing, comparing, checking prices and availability, and choosing the best for you.
After you finish this step, then your itinerary is ready, and it’ll pretty much looked like this:
Making an itinerary is a long time process with a lot of adjustment and revision. You need to count every possibilities and be flexible to change a lot of things, until everything is ‘click’ and you know you’re good to go. The final step is just to make it happen!