Guide to itinerary planning

When you're on holidays, the last thing you want is to be tied into a strict regime or schedule. However, good itinerary planning can help you to make the most of your stay by identifying the main attractions and activities you want to see and do, and when you can best fit them in.

Itinerary planning doesn't have to be a chore - in fact, researching your destination and planning how you will spend your holidays can actually be very exciting. Here are some top tips to help with the travel planning stage...

Start with your travel dates: It can be difficult to get quotes or make concrete itinerary plans unless you know exactly when you will be travelling.

Book your flights first: Flights tend to go up and up in price, so locking in the best deals as early as possible makes sense.

Multi-centred holiday?: Do you plan to stay in one place while you are on holiday or will you be travelling between a number of different destinations? A two week holiday by the beach probably doesn't require much itinerary planning. A month long trip through Central America, however, probably requires a more comprehensive plan.

Planning per day: Start your daily plan with an overview of where you will be on that particular day (e.g. Day One: Flight, Day Two: Beijing, Day Three: Train to Xian...).

Accommodation: Now you know how many nights you'll be in each destination, it's time to book your accommodation. Many hotels are now offering early booking discounts, so again it's a good idea to book in advance.

Activities: The most difficult part of your itinerary planning is deciding which activities you will do and attractions you will visit. If you have plenty of time to spare, you might just make a list and visit the ones you feel like on the day. However, shorter trips would probably benefit from a more concrete plan.

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