Like many travellers, I think there’s nothing better than arriving in a foreign destination with no itinerary and no bookings, and just going with the flow. Some of my greatest travel experiences have been wrong turns or sudden decisions that led to incredibly experiences; however, sometimes that just isn’t possible. If you have strict time constraints, then planning is probably a must. Or, for some, they prefer planned out holidays – understandable, since you often see much more when you have a clear idea of what is on offer in a country.
So when you do plan your holidays, how do you do it? I personally love planning holidays; even when I have no set itinerary, my law student love of research takes over and I tend to compile a mini-encyclopaedia on my destination.
I use an excel spreadsheet laid out with different tabs; bookings, itinerary, IOUs and checklists.
Bookings – all my reservation numbers, flight times, flight numbers, etc, as well as the cost. Divided up further by ‘transport’, ‘accommodation’, ‘activities’ and other.
Itinerary – I have a day per column, and then accommodation, flights, transport, activities etc as each row. This includes things that aren’t actually booked, but just options in case we find some extra time. I also have a colour code – if the cell background is green it’s on budget, up to red (massive blow-out!), and then the text is also colour coded; e.g. reserved & paid for, reserve & not paid for, not reserved yet, etc.
IOUs – to keep track of any money that Ben and I lend each other during the trip. No matter how many times you swear you’ll remember, you never do, and who wants to spend their holiday arguing about money!
Checklists – e.g. visas, packing, etc.
Are you so impressed by my slightly neurotic, obsessive level of planning that you’d like to copy my template? No problemas. You can download the excel file and change as you like HERE.
How do you plan your holidays? Do you think my system can be improved? Comment below!
(Stock image by Tome213 from http://www.sxc.hu/profile/tome213 )