Remember the good old days when people would think about travel and the first thing they have in mind is to visit a trusted ‘travel agent’ who would plan everything for them? Those were the days when bonafide experts would set up the trip for you and make sure that you knew what you were going to be doing. In today’s world, we can all turn to the internet or travel guidebooks to find out about the destinations we are going to, but one thing would still be nice to have is the good old fashioned trip itinerary.

Free Maps in Changi Airport
Free Maps in Changi Airport

An itinerary is like a map of what you are going to be doing even before you reached your desired destination. It tells you where you will go, what you will eat, how you will travel, what time you need to be at the airport, and as much or as little as you want it to. Sure, too much planning can spoil all the surprises, but it is nice to have an idea of what you are going to do and how you are going to get there – of course, it’s probably better not to have it handed to you by a sixty year old man in horn rimmed glasses.

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Dont just follow fellow Tourists, Ask for Directions!
Dont just follow fellow Tourists, Ask for Directions and Trust your Map!

So, what is the solution? Well, the best thing to do is to create your own trip itinerary. There is only one way to do it though. You have to plan ahead. I know, I hate that too, but sometimes it’s nice to have things laid out for you. And besides, it’s your itinerary so you can always feel free to change it.

Follow Directions
Follow Directions:) LOL

The problem with doing everything off the cuff is that sometimes you miss some of the best hidden gems you might otherwise have taken the time to find. The good thing about a personal itinerary is that you can always change it if something isn’t working for you and you dont have to pay penalties for not joining a specific tour eg. HongKong City Tour.

Always bring your Dry Sack
Always bring your Dry Sack…

If you are traveling on a limited amount of time, it is best to use the time you have to the best advantage possible. Instead of visiting everywhere, you are just going to have to visit a few places, so make sure that you pick the ones that you will regret missing the most. For example if you love theme parks, don’t schedule time at the museum and if you love architecture, make sure that you take the time to wander through interesting neighborhoods.

Bring a Destination Guidebook
Bring a Destination Guidebook

Before your trip, make use of great resources on the internet like your favorite travel blogs on your browser’s bookmark or in your local dusty library. Visit bookstores and see whats the latest thing written about where you are going is. See how it feels to read a few paragraphs and if it excites you dive in for more. Don’t worry about spoiling the trip with too much information, Planning is just to have an idea but always remember that traveling is all about never ending discovery. Travel becomes better the more you know about a destination… at least you know what to expect prior to your trip.

The easiest way is to checkout the websites of popular travel agencies or online directory of travel packages then copy their destination itinerary. List every place that catches your attention. You can narrow the list later but it’s always a good idea to have alternate plans. Figure out what your route will be and whats the best option to get there… budget wise. Take the time to figure out how you will get from one place to another, how long it will take, and what you will see along the way. If you can add timetables, that will help you a lot later.

Do you want a faster way? Checkout Blogs and search for helpful keywords like “El Nido Travel Guide” and it will definitely give you a list of blogs that will provide basic travel tips about a certain destination.

Bear in mind that the most convenient places to visit are probably where you should start and then plan your route from there. You can get a return ticket from the same location you arrive in or you can be adventurous and book an ‘open jaw’ trip. That means you fly home from a different city than you arrived in.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the transport you are used to will be present in your destination. Research ahead and find out about prices, scams to avoid, and alternate means of traveling in case of transport strikes or road closures. By having a back up plan you can spend more time getting the joy of travel and less time experiencing travel nightmares while you are out-of-town.




  1. Be sure to ask people who have been to your chosen destination. Some written materials are not exactly accurate. It is better to ask those who have been there and done it.

  2. Wonderful list and beautiful photos. I like @backpacking-travel’s idea of forwarding it on to parents, who may be concerned about where their children travel! For myself, I have found that every place is both safe and dangerous – it just depends on your timing.

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