I had people wonder how I plan my journeys and in how much details I usually go.
I have a confession to make.
I am a planer.
I love planning every single thing out before starting my journey.
It’s not because I have no life or am scared of stepping outside of my little world.
It is because I am really good at it.
It is like going into a Candy Store and putting the juiciest, most delicious or weird things into a bag to take home with you.
It is loads of fun and gets me really exited about my upcoming trip and has saved me so much trouble and wasted time while travelling.
Imaging wasting hours to find a Hostel, because you haven’t checked before the adresses and directions. Or imagine wasting time in the evening searching for the next potential hostel, instead of going for a drink with your new friends.
This will rarely happen to me.
I already did that comfortably from home, while lying on my couch in the evening and watching TV.
Here are 4 things I will do to plan my holidays!
- I will write down any sights and museums I am interested in. I write down the coast, potential discounts and which way of transport does get me there, for example if there is a Metro or Bus Connection. This way I just have to pack my small bag in the morning and get going, without having to look up the way to every single place and I can budget my trip a lot easier.
2. Next I will get Maps of the cities I am planning to visit. Either Google Maps on my phone if i have local Simcard or a map I will buy as soon as I arrive. Nowadays I very much prefer the only version, because it is much simpler and I can prepare my map in advance. I will mark all the sights and any good restaurants or bars I heard of on the map and plan out my routes for every day.
No more wandering around aimlessly.Well actually I do plan time for that to and like to walk down random roads which I think look interesting.
This may seem like a lot, but it saves me so much time later on. I also leave at least half a Day free to do whatever I feel like or if I get any good tips from local people.
3. Which makes it possible to create a rough Travel Plan. Because I figured out the sights and marked them on a map, I can roughly say how many days I want to spent at each place. Which makes it easy to plan my routes.
Usually I will add between 1-5 Days of Buffer, depending on how long I plan to travel. Because one thing I learned is that nothing ever goes exactly as planned. So better leave some free time instead of constantly rushing. This way I can stay longer if I like a place, go to a new place if I hear great recommondations or if I get stuck somewhere I do not have to skip anything later on in the journey.
4. This brings be to my last point. If I am actually traveling inbetween cities I will look up Bus and Train times and already pick 3 choices I like. For very busy routes I will maybe prebook them ( A lesson I had to learn in China-read here) or buy as soon as I arrive at my destination.
I also like to check the metro times and local buses around the place I will be staying. Nothing more annoying then having to take a taxi simply because one is 20 minutes to late for the last metro.
I know there is often soo much stuff you will want to see or that sounds interesting.
How do you pick the right things to do?
Instead you have to see that it is a decent portion and you will have to pick things that go well together. How boring would the bag be if you would be just buying red candy, which could be visiting Museums. Even if you love them, you might get tired of them very fast. Throwing some sour green strings in already makes the mix more interesting, which could be a couple of great scenic spots or hikes.
If you add some lemon drops it all becomes tastier, which could be places where you can get great local food.
You get what I want to say.
The more colors and flavors you add to your bag, the tastier and more interesting it becomes. The same goes for your journeys.
Add special flavors!
Try to maybe visit places out of your comfort zone or add some new flavors for a bit of an extra kick, so that you get as much as possible out of your experience.
Now obviously if you are just in for a beach holiday you maybe prefer to stay inside of your comfort zone. I still hope you will try a couple of new things. It firstly makes up for great stories to tell at home and you might discover a completly new passion or hobby, you never would have thought to try otherwise.
Traveling gives a great opportunity to learn and a well planned holiday gives you the chance to dip your toes into new cultures, without it ending in a complete mess. (Most of the times at least 😉 )
I am not always going this much into detail.
If it is a sponteneous trip I tend to simply get a Hostel and go or I just make a rough plan with the main places I want to see and figure the rest out on the go.
(This is what I did in Malaysia were I travelled alone for the first time or when I went for a short trip to Brugge.)
But when I travel together with somebody I like to be prepared. I know I will get around, worst case scenario is me sleeping in McDonalds or the train station, but I honestly can’t imagine my sister doing that. So the whole planning probably also is to save me from a lot of headaches and worrying about others.
Just keep in mind that planning is like a bag of candy.
You want the sweetest and best collection, but some old classics are always great to round everything up and the better you are prepared, the less you will feel uncomfortable if things go wrong, because you know of possible alternatives and solutions.
If you ever need help with planning or any more tips, feel free to contact me and I will try to help you out!
Otherwise if you think this article will be useful for other travelers or people who would like to start traveling, please share it!