Wow, did the weekend fly by or what?! Luckily, Monday did too, and we are already well into the week. Before you know it, it will be Thanksgiving then Christmas, and we'll be beginning a new year in no time! I'm not quite ready for the new year though, there is still so much to be done before our babies come, most important being getting moved into our new home. Patience is not my virtue right now, or anytime for that matter. But alas, I must wait. Thankfully, I have plenty to focus on between now & then, especially this little slice of my world. I have so many great posts planned for the blog, and I'm especially excited for today's— itinerary planning tips!
Planning an itinerary for your long awaited trip can seem to be a booger, but with my tips you can have it planned in a breeze. Now remember when you book with me, I do all of the work for you—no headache necessary! But if not or if you love the planning process yourself, here are some tips that can help you take the worry out of planning.
Make a List of Must See/Do
Start by making your list of must see and do places/attractions. Do you want to walk by and see a specific building? Do you want to spend time browsing a renowned museum? Do you want to spend the day seeing as many different beaches as you can? Write them all down!
Put Your List in Order of Importance
Here's where you have to be realistic. List your must see/do list in order of what is most important to you. Will you have enough time to see all of the places on your list? What is the most important to you—what will you regret not seeing? Put those at the top of the list, then work your way down to the "oh that would be nice to see, but I won't be devastated if I don'ts".
Determine Attractions Hours
What are the hours of operation for your must see places? I like to make special note of places that open very early or stay open later in the day. Is that museum you want to check out open later on specific days? I also try to look at what will be the most popular spots, i.e. Pearl Harbor Memorial on Oahu or the Empire State Building in New York, and make those the first stops of the day as they are less likely to be as crowded when they first open.
Arrange According to Location
This step is the most important to me in making sure I get the very most out of my time at a destination. I don't want to waste time walking by the same places more than once or doing too much back tracking. So, I use Google Maps to list my must see/dos in order by location. You can put in more than one destination in Google Maps, and move them around in location order.
Fine Tune & Finalize
From here, I break things down by days, and tweak & fine tune my itinerary. I begin by putting the most popular spots at the beginning of the day, then plan the remainder accordingly by location. Lastly, I fill in any items from the bottom of my must see list that I may happen to pass or might have extra time for.
Most importantly, when traveling enjoy your vacation & be flexible! While you're away, you may realize you didn't allow enough time at certain places or allotted too much time at others. This may result in some things being cut, some extra time for the things at the bottom of your list, OR time for things you hadn't planned at all. Even with itinerary in hand, it is important to keep an open mind, be flexible, and keep your focus on enjoying yourself & your destination!
Sample Itinerary for a Day in New York City
Explore Central Park
Go to Rockefeller Center
Shopping & Lunch in Rockefeller Center
Top of the Rock Observatory
Rockefeller Center Tour
Explore & Tour St. Patrick's Cathedral
Dinner at Rockefeller Center
View the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas Tree
Performance by the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall
Sample Itinerary for exploring beaches in Maui
Drive to Makena Beach (the farthest you can go by rental car)
Explore Makena Beach (Big Beach & Little Beach—if you are brave)
Drive to Wailea
Enjoy relaxing at Wailea Beach
Drive to Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge
Explore the refuge & Sugar Beach
Drive to Kehei
Shop & have lunch
Drive along highway, stopping at various beaches & look outs along the way
Stop in Lahaina to view the harbor and neighboring island
Arrive in Kaanapali & check out the beach
Shop & have dinner at Whaler's Village
Drive to Napili Bay
Relax & Snorkel
Drive to D.T. Fleming Beach for the last stop of the day
I can tell you my itineraries never go 100% as planned, but without them I would be wandering aimlessly wasting too much of my precious vacation time. Hopefully these tips will keep you from wasting time, and help you get the most out of your time on your next vacation!