Hi Frugalistas! Welcome to Part 2 in my series on itinerary planning. In Part 1 I considered the basic structure of your itinerary and we created a basic itinerary of places to visit organised into a logical sequence, within your timeframe. Now we get to start filling in the gaps! For this part of the planning you will need:
1. A guidebook and an accommodation review website such as Tripadvisor
2. Access to a railway website (personally I like the Deutsche Bahn website www.bahn.de) if you are thinking about travel by rail
3. Access to an airline comparator website such as www.skyscanner.com if you are considering airline travel
4. Your budget
This is how I map out the next steps of my itinerary:
1. How do you want to travel from place to place?
This is based partly on personal preference, partly on distances and location, and partly on budget. While there are no right or wrong answers there are some basic principles that make sense. I’ve written a dedicated post on how to choose your mode of travel so I won’t labour the point here. What I will say though is that now is the time to make some decisions. If you are choosing to travel by rail work out whether a railpass is the way to go or whether individual tickets will work out cheaper. In some destinations bus networks are superior to trains, often at a cheaper price, so consult your guidebook or specialist websites to decide what your best options are for land-based travel.
2. Having decided on how you are going to travel between destinations……
The next thing to do is to check travel times and work out whether your itinerary still makes sense. Can you reorder some destinations to cut down your travel time? Are you restricted by certain transport options being limited to certain times and days? Should you plan an overnight stop to cut down the length of journeys on a given day? Revisit your itinerary in the light of your transport findings and amend as needs be.
3. Consider your budget
You’ve now got an idea of where you are going, and how you are getting there and getting around. So now is a good time to assess your basic itinerary against your budget before you start putting anymore plans in place. What is your basic commitment in terms of time budget and dollars for airfare and getting around? Will you have enough days in total and in each place? If not reassess your itinerary and adjust in terms of your priorities and what makes sense.
What type of accommodation are you interested in? If you are traveling in a group an apartment or other self catering accommodation can be fun and save money. Regardless of your budget if you are traveling alone, particularly for a long period, a hostel can help you connect with other travelers. Similarly B&Bs, couch surfing or other types of homestays are a great way to connect with locals. Different styles of accommodation across your trip can be fun so don’t assume you will stick with just one style. Use your guidebook or websites such as Tripadvisor sort out accommodation options that suit your budget and desired style of accommodation.
5. Go back to your budget
Now that you’ve got some accommodation plans and can estimate costs in this area, you can go back to your budget. If need be revisit your itinerary and reprioritise or look at other accommodation options to save money.
OK, so here we have it: a detailed itinerary of locations, accommodation options and how you plan on getting from place to place. Next time, in the final installment we’ll do the really fun part – what are you actually going to do while you are away?