Planning an itinerary is the first step towards having a successful trip. Be it solo or a group trip, a perfect itinerary is the primary step to have a great trip ahead. Though most of the modern travellers don't prefer to have any prior plan to their trips, it's still better to have some plans before starting your trip to an unknown location.
Various platforms are now available online to plan a trip with the options to choose packages from their buckets. For a solo trip, I will always suggest you to go with minimum planning. Just book your flight tickets and start your journey of adventures. At most you can plan the accommodation near your destination on your solo trip.
Though there are a number of platforms available online to plan your trip, at the end it's your gut feeling and your budget which will guide you to make the perfect itinerary for your trip.
Things to keep in mind before planning an itinerary for a trip:
1.Ask yourself why: Ask yourself why you want to travel. Are you travelling to explore or you are going for a trip just to get the refreshment and a break from your monotonous and hectic work life. If you are of the first kind of travellers, then you need not to have a perfect itinerary prior to your trip. Just acquire some knowledge about the place on the internet, read some articles, watch some youtube vlogs ,book a flight ticket and start your journey. An explorer should never be bound by an itinerary. A solo explorer travels for thrills, adventures and the element of surprises during his trip. A fixed itinerary will never allow that.
If you are of the second type of travellers then you must need a perfect itinerary as you are travelling for a fixed period of time. You need everything in pre-booked condition. Your accommodation, places you are going to visit, how much time you can be at a particular spot, everything must be pre decided as you are traveling by taking leave from your daily job.
2. How you want to travel: The itinerary of a solo explorer will be completely different from that of a group goer. You must go with a flexible itinerary if you are going solo. You never know when your heart says once more during your time of travel. You will explore more and can experience more adventure if you go solo whereas the fun will be more if you are travelling in a group. Mostly mountain lovers are solo travellers and beach lovers are group goers.
3. The budget: The budget is the main deciding factor of how your itinerary is going to be. Try to spend less on accommodation, food and related issues. Stay at a hostel or a dormitory and if possible try to stay with the locals. Hotels are more expensive in general and staying at a hostel or with the locals itself is an experience for lifetime. Try to socialise yourself with the locals, with other travelers from around the globe and try to have lunch and dinner with traditional dishes from roadside dhabas. Most of your budget will be dedicated to travel costs and the only flexibility you can have in your budget is the cost of accommodation and food.
4. Be true to yourself: You know yourself better than anyone else in this universe. An itinerary is useless if you are not giving priority to your likes and dislikes. Just following other travellers won't make your trip memorable. For example a non drinker must not go to a night club during his trip not because he doesn't drink but because the vibes of a club wont match with the vibe of him. A negative experience can destroy your whole trip.If you are sort of an introverted kind of person, you must try to get social with other fellow travellers as well as with the locals.That will open up a different world to you. Put yourself at the topmost priority while planning an itinerary for a trip.
5. Documentation: Be it a diary or google docs, write down roughly what you gonna do during your trip, names of places you are going to cover and how much time you are going to dedicate to them. It's important to have everything in a document form. There is a high probability to forget something while travelling as you will be super busy travelling from one destination to another managing everything by yourself. Why to pressurise your brain more when you can have everything on your phone.
6. Documents to carry: From passport, voter card to your personal identity card, everything should be kept handy. If you are travelling abroad, learn all the processes you will have to go through once you land in that particular country. Some countries follow very easy immigration policy while in some countries, crossing the immigration desk itself is a tedious task.
Read articles about the cultures, traditions and a bit about the society normes that are being followed in that country while planning an itinerary for a trip. Carry your international driving license if you have some planes to have road trips in a foreign country.
7.Extra time: Always plan your itinerary with some flexibility to add one or two extra days in your schedule. You never know when something interesting comes up and you don't have any time for it. Nobody wants that, right? A solo exploration is all about adventures and thrill and any fixed time duration will never allow you to have that. If you travel by taking leaves then you must take leaves for some extra days besides your scheduled durations. You are going for refreshment, thrill and some adventure then why to restrict everything to some particular fixed days.
Conclusion: No itinerary is perfect. It's your heart which directs to a perfect memorable trip. You must follow all these steps to assist your heart while planning an itinerary for a trip.