Planning for a big trip can be a daunting experience for people. Where do you go to find the best deals? Which sites are legit? Which hotels are the safest to stay in? What if my flight is delayed? What if it is cancelled? Understandably, most people do not enjoy the intricacies of planning a big trip and preparing an actual itinerary.
One of the most common questions we get is: how do you come up with your trips? We have found that most people are shocked after we answer their question. For us, planning an itinerary is an art form. We love to research the places we’re going to visit. Once we know for certain which cities we will be in, we head over to one of our favorite websites; viator.com.
Viator has tons and tons of tour options available for just about anywhere you want to go. We spend some time looking over the tours and deciding which ones will provide the overall best experiences. We prefer tour options that provide hotel pick up/drop off. We love tours that provide breakfast/lunch! And we determine which day will be best suited for the tour.
Next, we map out everything. My favorite thing to do during the planning process is to map out every location we will be heading to. Within a city, I will map out the fastest and smartest routes to get to all of the different places we want to visit. Whether it is museums, architectural splendors, tourists must-see locations or restaurants, I map them all. My goal is to maximize our time and efforts.
Along the way, Eldris is inputting everything into an excel spreadsheet. This is her thing, she’s a genius at it. Everyday is accounted for, every tour is listed – including pricing, hotel information, transportation information – you name it, Eldris has it in the spreadsheets. The organization of it all helps us stay focused and allows us to take the guess work out of sorting things out during the trip.
Most people look at us like we are crazy when we vaguely go over our itinerary making process. Sure, we get how crazy it can seem. Some people have even told us that they wouldn’t like things so regimented and they prefer to go with the flow of things while visiting a new place. These are valid points. However, for us, having similar personality types when it comes to travel, this is what works best.
There are so many things to see in our vast and grand planet. We want to see as much of it as possible. Our itineraries help us accomplish so much more than if we just winged it. We can probably tell you the smartest way to see Barcelona. Or the most efficient way to see Vienna. We could even tell you which cafe with the best ratings is nearest to your hotel.
We travel on a budget with maps and excel spreadsheets because we know that we can’t just easily go back to visit the same city. We have jobs/careers and bills just like most people. Instead of missing out on the amazing things a new city has to offer, we make sure to utilize our time to take it all in with the understanding that tomorrow is never promised.
We have gone on trips where we have deviated somewhat from our itineraries; we usually felt like we missed out on things after being back home. One of the things we always discuss is if we are going all the way to this country or that country, why not take as much of it in as possible. We don’t just seize opportunities, we create opportunities.
Hiking up the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, people watching while sitting in an outdoor cafe in Vienna and sipping on mulled wine or touring the ruins of Pompeii is what attracts us. Ensuring we have amazing and lasting memories of our adventures around the world is priceless. Our itineraries make that happen for us.