As someone who works a full-time career, I realize that travel for me is almost never going to be for extended periods of time. Although I don’t let that stop me from exploring and seeing the world. Here are some tips that will help you plan an itinerary for a short trip.
Pick out your “must-do” things
What can you not leave the country without seeing? Make a list of all the things you absolutely have to do on your trip and keep in mind that sometimes your bucket list is just not practical for the amount of time you have. Sometimes you may have to accept that you’ll just have to return to that country again to see more of it down the road. If it looks like you have too much to cram into your vacation, try numbering what must-do things are your top 5 or 10 and go from there.
Map out where all these things are on a map
Let’s face it – not every country is super condensed with things close together. For example, if you’re heading to Europe and want to see France, Italy, Spain and Germany in 2 weeks that may be impractical since you’re going to have to include the travel time between the countries and each city too. The best thing to do is map out all your must-do things from above and determine how long you will need in each of these places, and how long it takes to travel between each place. Once you work that out if it looks like you’re going to spend most of your trip transferring between places, you may have too much on your list.
Look at a route – what looks like it would make the most sense
Is it cheaper or more practical to go from East to West or West to East? Look at what route makes the most sense. You don’t want to be jumping from one side of the country to the other and back again. Take a look at a few different routes – because sometimes it may be super cheap to fly from another city then the one you are looking at. For example: It may be cheaper to fly from Rome to Florence then to fly from Naples to Florence so play with a few different options before you make any commitments.
Do some research on transportation
How long does it take to get everywhere? Many times on a short trip where you want to cover a lot of ground, it may make more sense to fly between each city and destination instead of taking a train or bus. Figure out what is the most practical and realize that it may be worth it to spend a bit more to fly if it means you get to see more of the country. Sometimes flying is even cheaper than the train or bus in some instances so don’t rule out any options.
Many people like to be the type of traveler that just doesn’t plan anything except their flight to the country. This can be a fun and spontaneous way to travel, but when you’re dealing with limited time, it may not be the best option. You don’t want to end up wasting time when you get to a new destination looking for a place to sleep that night, or end up getting to a place on a Sunday in hopes you’ll visit a must-do museum only to find out they’re closed on Sunday’s. Planning ahead will make it easier for you to cram as much into a schedule as possible and make the most of your time. This doesn’t mean you can’t have room for spontaneity, but knowing how you’re getting from place to place and where you’ll rest your head at night can make a difference!
What are some tips you have for those looking to plan a trip with limited time?
ValerieAugust 24, 2015 at 10:05 am
Great tips — I always forget not everyone just *gets* how to make itineraries like this and still enjoy their short time in a place. Definitely sharing this one!