How To Make an Itinerary for Every Trip You Take

Put Important Information in One Place

Create a Travel Itinerary

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Making a travel itinerary may sound like a trivial task to complete before you travel, but a customized travel itinerary is worth the effort. It lays out every piece of information you may need on your trip so you're never left hunting for an address or a phone number. This means you can spend more time exploring or relaxing and less time trying to organize yourself

Simply put, an itinerary organizes all of the information you may need in the same place while on your trip, including a timeline of your trip.

Tips

  • Gather the local phone number for any destination contact as opposed to the number you dial at home.
  • Clarify each country's country code for making intra-country/state and long-distance calls.

The Basics of Creating a Travel Itinerary

Creating an itinerary will give you peace of mind and simplify your travel routine. The best way to store your itinerary while traveling is in a clear plastic sleeve with any accompanying documentation like receipts, boarding passes, and tickets. The itinerary always goes on top with the information listed below, followed by the accompanying documents. Here's how to get started:

First, gather all of the info you may need. Your itinerary will be a day-to-day timeline of your trip with some information pulled out for easy access at any time (such as traveler and health information). You can create your itinerary by hand if you must, but a digital version is easier. This way you can copy and paste hotel addresses and flight numbers without fear of reversing a number or missing part of an address.

Once you're done adding your information, it's time to save your itinerary in a place you and others such as your emergency contact can easily access it. You can email it to yourself and trusted contacts not traveling with you, but other good places to save it are in Google Drive or DropBox with your emergency contact having permission to view it. Think carefully about who you choose as your at-home contact and make sure it is someone you trust implicitly.

Regardless of how you store an electronic version, it is always a good idea to keep a hard copy with you. The last thing you want to do is be stuck in a cab in Rome with no cell service trying to bring up your hotel's address.

Travel To and From Your Destination

Whether you are flying or driving to your destination, gather all the pertinent information so you have it handy and in one place.

  • Address of airport parking and approximate cost (if not prepaid) needed when you return
  • Passenger full names as listed on passports
  • Flight dates and times
  • Flight numbers
  • Frequent flier program number
  • The amount you paid for tickets ahead of time and any receipts or confirmations you received
  • Name of travel agent/booking agent/website source of booking
  • Rental car information (if applicable) including reservation, insurance—either personal car or rental car
  • If driving, how much gas you will need and where approximately to stop to refuel

Most of the flight information can be found by logging into your airline's website a few days before your trip. It's also a good idea to download the airline's app so you get status updates on your flights as they happen, including any gate changes or flight delays.

Lodging Information

Within the day-to-day section of your itinerary, include the address of any place that you will be staying including houses rented on VRBO, HomeAway or Airbnb, motels, hotels, or hostels. If you only have the information stored on your phone, and your phone loses a charge, you'll be happy you have this information written down.

  • Hotel/rental address, and the room number once you are checked in
  • Hotel/rental phone number
  • Hotel/rental confirmation number
  • The amount you paid for tickets ahead of time and any receipts or confirmations you received
  • Name of travel agent/booking agent/website source of booking

Day-To-Day Itinerary

This is the heart of your travel itinerary. Start with a list of your "bucket items." Is it eating macarons at a Parisian café? Or traveling to Machu Pichu? Maybe you want to make sure there's an entire day where you do nothing but soak in the sun while drinking frozen cocktails. This list will be drastically different depending on the destination, the travelers going, and even how many times you've been there. By creating a timeline of your trip, you can make sure you don't miss the experiences you most want to enjoy.

In an hour-to-hour format, include:

  • Hotel information if you are changing hotels throughout your trip
  • Restaurant (and other eateries) reservations and/or addresses, operating hours, and what you want to eat there
  • Information about attractions such as museums, photo ops, and historic sights, such as entrance fees, hours, and any notable artwork you don't want to miss
  • Transportation to and from attractions or around the city, such as train or bus numbers, times if it runs on a schedule (like a train or bus) or what time you ant to hail a cab to get to your next destination
  • If you pay for train or bus tickets ahead of time, keep the receipt and confirmation on the day you will use it, along with any frequent traveler program information and the name of the booking source if it's not on the receipt or confirmation.

While you can access a lot of information about excursions and tours via the tour company's app, it's still best to keep a hard copy just to be safe.

  • Tour company name (and the name of the guide if you know it ahead of time)
  • Tour dates and times
  • The meeting spot and where the tour will end (along with a plan to get back to your hotel if it doesn't end there)
  • The amount you paid for tickets ahead of time and any receipts or confirmations you received
  • Name of travel agent/booking agent/website source of booking if it isn't on the receipt or confirmation

Traveler Personal and Health Information

It's a good idea to keep a copy of your passport and other ID stored securely in your travel itinerary. If the hard copy is lost, it is much easier to get an emergency replacement while traveling if you have a photocopy of the passport or ID.

Also, if you're traveling with someone who has recently been sick, is prone to ill health, or has a severe allergy, it's always a good idea to have the names, addresses, and numbers of local hospitals.

Information to include in this section:

  • A photocopy of each person's passport, and driver's license
  • A photocopy of the front and back of all debit and credit cards used on the trip (the back includes contact info in case the card is lost or stolen)
  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of the local hospital in each area you'll be traveling
  • A brief medical history of your traveling companion written down in that country's language
  • Paper prescriptions of any current medications in case you need to refill them while traveling (many countries won't refill a traveler's prescription bottle)

Caution

Because your travel itinerary includes personal, sensitive information, take great care to keep it in a secure location at all times. In your hotel room, use the room safe; when traveling, keep it securely in a backpack or other carry-on luggage that will remain with you at all times.

Home Country Information

This information is the type you don't want to have to use but if you need it, it will save you a ton of time to have it handy.

This should include:

  • The address(es) of your home country's local embassy, state department headquarters, or consulate address and phone numbers
  • If your travels will take you to several different countries, list the information for each country.