What Is A Travel Itinerary?
Luke Iles – Uploaded 29.05.2023
Learn what a travel itinerary is used for and why you need one for your next holiday
A travel itinerary is a document that contains a detailed plan of action for a particular trip. This travel plan often contains relevant travel information including tickets, booking information and transportation which is structured in a schedule format including the time and day you will be doing a specified task.
A travel itinerary is like a map that helps you navigate your holiday or backpacking adventure so that you can make the most of your time in a specific destination. A typical travel itinerary will describe key details and travel-supporting tips about your trip and outline everything you need to know to make it a success.
The benefits of a travel itinerary include a guided structure that you can follow on your trip that provides peace of mind; a detailed plan that helps you maximise your time in a specific destination; helps you to save money; helps you create a balanced trip that isn’t too busy or too boring and it helps to plan something so everyone can enjoy the trip whether you are visiting with friends or family.
Throughout this article, we will help you understand what a travel itinerary is and the key features you should include to ensure you are creating a fully comprehensive travel plan for your backpacking or holiday trip abroad.
Why creating a travel itinerary is important
A travel itinerary is a travel plan that is designed to help you be more structured when visiting a new destination. It keeps a clear plan you can always refer back to and helps you stay on track if you have limited time in a specific place that you want to make the most of.
As avid travellers ourselves, we have been in plenty of positions where we have visited a country or destination where there has been limited time but so much we wanted to do and see.
For example, when travelling to Asia, we had a 1 day stop off in Dubai. As there is so much to do in Dubai and so much to see with so little time, we created a detailed one-day plan when visiting Dubai to ensure that we got to see all the key attractions we wanted to see, plus optimise our time in the city so we could make the most of our travel plans.
Therefore, it is so important that you understand what a travel itinerary is so that you can start to write your own travel itinerary and to get planning your own trip. Read our blog on how to write a travel itinerary and use our free travel itinerary template tool to create your own travel itinerary today!
Although it can be time-consuming to manually create and write out your own travel itinerary, you can do this for free with artificial intelligence tools. Read our guide on how to create a travel itinerary for free using AI tools and create your free itinerary today in less than five minutes!
How is a trip itinerary typically structured?
To fully understand what a travel itinerary actually is and why it is necessary, you first need to recognise how a trip itinerary is structured. Understanding what a travel itinerary needs to include, will give you a full picture of why it is always important to plan your travel adventures and also provide you with a complete breakdown of what a travel itinerary consists of and why people use them.
A typical travel itinerary will usually include:
- A destination overview
- Trip duration and logistics
- Day-by-day entire trip planning process
- Dining and local cuisine overview
- Accommodation recommendations
The destination overview is one of the most important aspects of the travel itinerary. This is the stage where you will need to complete research on the place you are planning on visiting.
This stage is the most important because, without knowledge of the country and destination you are visiting some extent, the travel itinerary will not be able to be written unless you have a general understanding of what you want to see and do within the destination.
Doing research on the attractions, transport, accommodation, areas, food, drink and cost will allow you to build a travel itinerary that matches all the preferences you want to do and see in this particular destination.
Some of the tips we suggest when doing research on a country are using travel forums and online chat spaces such as Reddit to understand more about your destination. YouTube, TikTok and Instagram are also useful resources for researching cool, little places to visit in a particular destination as well as give you an idea of the best areas to visit on a certain day.
It is also useful to research other travel itineraries online and read first-hand accounts about specific destinations so you can know how to structure your travel plan the best. Once you have built up a good understanding of the place where you are staying, most of the hard work of the planning process is complete.
Trip Duration and Logistics
Now you have a good picture of the destination you are visiting and everything you want to plan to do, it is now important to detail your logistics and trip duration. This means understanding how many days and nights you will be spending in a location as well as managing transport times as well as flight times.
For example, you need to map out how long it will take you to arrive at the airport, check-in times and then account for the actual flight time itself. From there you will need to account for travel time from the airport to your accommodation as well as any check-in and check-out times of when to enter and exit your accommodation. You will also want to plan for this on the way back home too.
Furthermore, you need to account for delays, breaks and sleep so that you can create a travel itinerary that isn’t overly busy or too boring. You want to find the perfect balance for your travel plan otherwise you will get exhausted or complete the day too quickly.
Logistics is so important to get right and incorporating every little thing including eating, getting ready and transport can be the make or break for a good travel itinerary and a bad one. It is all about planning and getting the trip duration and logistics correct is a huge factor in a successful travel itinerary.
When it comes to a travel itinerary, it needs to be planned out day by day. The one thing which makes a travel itinerary so beneficial is that the schedule is planned out day to day.
As a helpful recommendation when we create an itinerary for our upcoming trips we always ensure that we include a travel itinerary that is mapped out day to day. As a recommendation, we suggest that you map your travel plan so that it covers the days from when your flight is due to leave to when it is scheduled to come home so that you have a complete travel plan where no stone is unturned.
Depending on how busy you would like your days on holiday to be, you can map your travel plans out in different ways. We recommend creating a plan that is mapped out from breakfast, lunch, dinner and night.
Please view the following example below:
- [Breakfast] Have breakfast at [cafe/restaurant/hotel/room]
- [Activity/ies] [Tour/Visit] [landmark/museum/beach/activity] in the morning
- [Meal] Have lunch at [restaurant/hotel/cafe/accommodation]
- [Afternoon Activity] Take a break at [cafe/park/attraction]
- [Meal] Have dinner at [restaurant/hotel/room]
- [Night-time activity/ies]
This way it provides a nice breakdown that can allow you to adapt and detail things around your entire day so if you want to go shopping in the morning and relax on the beach in the evening, you can choose to.
Once you have the timings and structure of your travel itinerary planned out, you can now start to include the meat and vegetables of the plan itself.
No travel itinerary is complete without the planned experiences you want to do in a certain location. Whether that be seeing world-famous tourist attractions, riding a jet ski in the sea or adventuring through the mountains.
You have done your research so now all you need to do is include the highlighted experiences everyone wants to do so that you can make the most of your travel experience.
Remember to include any pre-booked trips, tours or experiences in the travel plan too.
Dining and Local Cuisine
No travel itinerary is complete without the dining and cuisine options added too. Take a look at local recommendations of restaurants or simply just freestyle it. However, a good plan to ensure that you stay within your allocated travel budget and make the most of your time on holiday is to add a slot to your travel itinerary for food-eating options even if you don’t know where you will be eating yet.
It is a good plan to help you keep an eye out for places to eat and help you plan your time accordingly. For example, you may have an all-inclusive accommodation that offers food which means that you will need to plan the travel itinerary so you are nearby to stop off and get food.
Another tip which we typically do is to include a time slot to eat food with a rough topic of what is around. For example, the note could say to “look for an authentic Italian restaurant for lunch” or “go shopping for food for dinner”. This way there is rough guidance that can then be adapted to the certain situation you are in when travelling.
Finally, it is always recommended that any good travel itinerary includes the accommodation details of the place you are staying at. This way you will know whether you have certain amenities include that could change the cause of your trip.
For example, if your accommodation has breakfast included you will not have to plan time for looking for breakfast each morning. Furthermore, your accommodation could have a gym meaning that you don’t have to waste time looking for a gym and travelling to it each day. This means that you can have a stronger understanding of the logistics of your trip and this can help you plan the itinerary more efficiently.
Take it from a travel expert who has travelled all across the globe; creating a travel itinerary is super important if you are hoping to have an enjoyable trip that you can make the most of. If you are hoping to do and see certain things whilst on holiday it is beneficial that you write a travel itinerary.
Furthermore, a travel itinerary is a great step in planning your holiday, making sure you have the best time possible, no matter who you are travelling with.
Hopefully, you now have a fully comprehensive idea of what a travel itinerary is and what a complete travel plan needs to consider to ensure that your holiday can be as successful as possible.
Just remember, our rule of advice as travel experts who have been across the world and written plenty of travel plans in the time we have spent visiting destinations are that no travel plan is foolproof. Remember there is only so much planning you can do and when you’re in the destination living the experience, different things can get up and disrupt the plan of action.
What we recommend is not following the travel itinerary religiously but instead just using it as a rough map which can help remind you what things you want to do and see on that day. We have had plenty of different things come in the way of our travel itineraries over the years, whether that be a bad storm not letting us go to the beach for that day or an unforeseen closure of an attraction when we got to the place. If stuff like that happens, take a breath and just enjoy the trip for what it is. Don’t be afraid to advert from the travel plan when required.
At the end of the day, travel is all about freestyling it and exploring new places. Things may not always go to plan so don’t get too upset if you don’t end up following your travel plan strictly and instead just enjoy the freedom to explore and travel with no limits!
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