There are some free-spirited travelers that believe in reaching their destination and just going with the wind, but if you suffer from a mild case of OCD and SE (See Everything), like me, I live for a custom itinerary. My itinerary needs vary depending on the type of trip, for instance, if I’m going to the Caribbean, I want a 5 star resort with premium liquor (with familiar names) and amenities that are guaranteed to need their own day, but if I’m travelling to a historically rich area like Great Britain for instance, I’m Airbnb all the way due to most of my time being spent playing world-class tourist versus pool napping extraordinaire.
There was a time when I would jam-pack my itineraries so tight that by the time I crossed everything off my list, I was often too tired to fully immerse myself in the experiences. Below are some of the tips I use to create my perfect travel itinerary while still making time to just breathe:
- Know what your destination has to offer. I believe in maximizing each and every travel location. In 2017, all that it takes is a few catch phrases using either Google or Pinterest to find the best places to visit in just about any city across the world. Based on your personal preferences, choose the places that spark your interest. For my 30th birthday, I took a trip to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and one of the major selling points in staying there versus Montego Bay, was the accessibility to the excursions that best met my preferences like visiting Dunns River and Secret Falls.
- Be realistic. In 2015, I spent 18 days touring Europe with 2 friends. Over the course of 2 and a half weeks, we travelled from London to Greece fulfilling our wanderlust ambitions, but even with that amount of time, we still had to pick and choose which places, beaches, restaurants, etc, should reasonably take precedence since it was physically impossible to see everything.
- Make Trip Advisor and Yelp your new best friends. In the same way that most of us use Yelp in our home cities to find new restaurants and attractions (and to leave 1 star reviews), combined with Trip Advisor, these sites are essential to finding highly ranked places to visit and eat while travelling. They can also help you to avoid locations that are overly touristy and can even assist with pricing and/or tips to meet your needs. Download the apps for both of these sites to have these great resources at your fingertips, and don’t forget to leave your reviews as well to help other visitors.
- Learn how to bargain shop. There was a time when I thought Viator was the end all, be all, when it came down to booking excursions. I am so glad that I have been delivert. Before booking an excursion or tour, use your fancy phone and research multiple companies to check pricing and reviews.
- Build relationships with the locals. One of the best resources on any trip are the locals that call that city home. From dining to exploring little-known gems, don’t be afraid to step outside of your box and strike up a conversation. Whether it’s the coffee barista serving your morning latte or the bartender at your swanky hotel or resort, locals are often friendly and don’t mind sharing tips to navigating the place that they call home.
- Make time to rest like Jesus. For most of us, travelling is a reprieve from some of our normal responsibilities like work, school, etc. Don’t create an itinerary so full that you don’t have time to sit back, relax, and JUST enjoy life without any real commitments.