The travel itinerary that keeps me SANE!

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

The much awaited end of the year festive season is almost upon us and most of us are anticipating the holidays to begin so that we can take off for our respective vacations. Planning started months ago and all we need to do now is diligently relook the itinerary, prepare all the relevant documents, pack all the essentials and eagerly wait out the next one week. And, I would like to applaud myself and the other self-planners in charting out a perfect trip, at least, on paper. 

Nothing excites me more than travelling. Not even winning a luxury car (incidentally, I did win one last year) and which, will barely take 2 sentences to describe my sentiments attached to it. 

Excitement and happiness envelops me every time, from the moment we decide on the destination. I am like a little kid having discovered lollies for the first time. But, slowly the responsibility of planning and organising the trip weighing down on me, things start getting stressful. Arranging tickets, insurance, visa, pre-requisite medical exams, things to see and do, places to visit; so many things to take care of with three diverse individuals travelling together. Sometimes, even extended family and friends. 

This is where a travel itinerary comes into picture and makes travel lot easier for us. A travel itinerary is a detailed plan for an upcoming trip with places to visit listed, mode of transport to use marked down, activities outlined and so on. Over the years of our travels and me being the primary planner / organiser, I have familiarised myself with the key elements that make a travel itinerary, one that complements everyone in my family. Some people like to just go with the flow, book the flight tickets and the rest to be decided one day at a time. I, on the other hand, prefer a slightly more organised structure for our trips. A more or less daily outline with a certain amount of flexibility. 

My travel itinerary has the following items noted down in precise details. 

  • Travel dates
  • Duration of the trip
  • The destination
  • Mode of travel
  • Country / City of arrival and return 
  • Passport and Visa details, if applicable
  • Travel insurance, if applicable
  • The route, the mode of internal travel (airplane, train, bus, boat) and the amount of time spent each day in commuting
  • Budget and approximate expenses
  • Medical details / requirements of each travelling member
  • Number of days spent in each place / city
  • ‘Must do and see’ activities / experiences and more
  • Emergency contact person and details 
  • Expecting the unexpected

Photo by Capturing the human heart. on Unsplash

Does the list look endless to you? Well, I never said that planning and making a travel itinerary is easy. It needs a lot of work. But, once you have an outline, the same itinerary can be used for all your travels irrespective of where you are going and for how long. So, it is actually a treasure that you need to preserve and cherish if you wish a smooth and relaxed trip every time. Not that it ensures a hassle-free trip each time but definitely assures a more organised and enjoyable trip.

May the festive season shower everyone with happiness and laughter. Hope the new year makes us more responsible in life and all that we wish and desire.

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