Whether you are looking for a stay-cation or heading for the opposite side of the world, Fayette Travel can help you get there with a budget you can afford. We are excited to show you how professional and great we are at planning your trips. Let us take the hassle out of planning for your vacation and you worry about having a great time. Here are some tips in what to do to plan a trip
You need to start somewhere. Do you want a cultural journey through Europe or two weeks in Australia? It is helpful here to also have an idea of the timing. Do you have just a few days at the end of a business trip or are you planning a two week vacation?
Write a sentence or just a few words to help focus you searching. If you are taking this trip with someone else, definitely get them involved even at this stage. You want to make sure you’re on the same page when planning a vacation.
Collect and Cull
The Brainstorming step was without judgement; in this phase that judgement is back. There is no way you can see everything on a single trip. You also don’t want to have a trip where you lose too much time in transport. This stage involves taking the list above and grouping it into places as well as labeling which sights are actually important to you.
Group the sights and tours and ideas into lists around specific places. How big these places will depend on your trip. If you are planning a trip to a whole country, then your lists are probably regions and cities. If you are going to a single city, then your places are probably neighborhoods.
Put a star next to things that are your “highlight reel” of the trip. What things will you be disappointed not to see? Try to not go overboard here. The more pressure you have to “see everything,” the harder it will be to choose.
Also feel free to drop things. Sometimes as you are trying to group things, you realize that a sight is so far from everything else that it would be a big time commitment to see it. Feel free to drop it from your list.
Mark any sights that are closed on a specific day of the week or for a holiday during your trip. Museums are often closed on Mondays. Churches can be closed to visitors on holy days. Holidays can mean all kinds of closures both for sights and transport with private hire taxi insurance and other perks.
Holidays and festivals could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your desires. Sometimes a festival you don’t care about is going to make a place just more crowded and expensive, but a cool little local thing can turn into a trip highlight.
Most of us have to fit travel into the available days instead of deciding how many days based on what you want to see. Know how many days you have to work with and try to make a rough guess where you want to spend it. Account for the day you are arriving and the day you are leaving as well as any transport days between cities. And if you’re changing time zones, allow room for jet lag.
This is going to be a very individual step to each person and trip. For some trips you might want a few days just to lie on the beach, while for other trips you might want to see as many different places as you can, without really needing to see anything in depth.
As a rule of thumb, I think of one major sight and 1-2 minor sights per day. Major sights are the big things that take a few hours like museums and tours, and probably need to be booked ahead of time. Minor sights are things that you probably just want to see and take a few photographs. Day trips take up an entire day. Exactly how much you can pack into a day depends on the transport and your own tolerance.
In each of your group lists, count the experiences and try to estimate how long it would take you do all of these. If you are anything like us, you will end up with a plan that will take a month to do. Yup, it happens. It’s ok. That is what the next steps are for.
trip itinerary – how to plan a trip
Choose your bases
Depending on how long you have overall, pick 2-3 of your group lists that you would like to see. Put together a very loose plan of X days here and Y days there. Those days will probably not be enough to cover everything you want to see, but that is ok.
Lay out the days and places on a calendar. Know what days you are arriving and leaving in each place. Check the sights that you want to see against the planned days and their own closing days. Is a museum you want to see closed on Mondays? Does your plan have you only in that area on a Monday?
This might look like a small section of how to plan a vacation, but it can be pretty tough in practice. I’ve used everything from Excel sheets to post-it notes to pencil and paper to do this stage.
Can you actually get to the places you want to see? This step should help you answer that question, some places offer car rentals and even bus rentals like royalamericantours for bigger groups, call the rental before you arrive and have them talk you through all the prices.
Getting There and Away
Check flights from your home to your destination.
Are you able to get direct flights?
Do you happen to see any long layovers that you could take advantage of?
What times do the flights leave and arrive?
What kind of cost are you looking at for the flights?
The question of when flights leave is important. If a flight home leaves before noon, you are probably going to have to be in the departure city for your last night. If the flight leaves at night, you might even get some early sightseeing done.
Our rule of thumb is that moving from one city to another usually takes at least half a day and maybe more. Even an hour flight can take 5 hours or more with all of the extra time to get to and from the airport and the lead time you need. Often buses and trains are better options. This is the step to investigate those options.
How often does the train/bus run?
If it is a day trip, how often does the transport run to get back? How late does the last one run?
Do you need to buy tickets ahead of time or can you be spontaneous?
How much to tickets cost?
In Europe, Deutsche Bahn (German rail) has a wonderful site of finding times for most routes on the continent. But since their site can’t provide prices or let you book trains outside of Germany, you might need to go to the individual rail sites for each country you’re traveling in. Most have an English option. And if you’re planning on taking a trip with a car, you also need to check the car is in great condition and the rental rates you’re going to get, and getting a good GPS for this as well, like Garmin devices that you can keep updated with the Garmin express services so you always know exactly where you’re traveling.
As an alternative to the train, check out Flixbus. They have bus routes in many countries throughout Europe at affordable prices. We’ve used them many times, and the buses are usually pretty comfortable, though I probably wouldn’t take a bus for an overly long route. You should also consider a place with all the sanitary requirements like have some units from a Local Portable Loo Hire service.
Do this research for each city transfer and for any day trips you want to take.
These are the kinds of questions we try to answer. This isn’t about booking things, but to check practicality.