Do you need help making a travel itinerary for a vacation or business trip in the near future?
Are you looking for some practical tips on how to track all your travel arrangements, connections, and reservations?
Having a well-prepared travel itinerary makes it easy to keep track of time and manage your schedule.
It provides you with a handy travel reference not only for yourself and your fellow travelers, but anyone else who is directly involved in your travel schedule arrangements.
In this post, I offer a step-by-step process on how to make a simple travel itinerary by hand.
While travel itinerary apps abound in today’s busy digital world, there is still no substitute for creating a travel itinerary yourself.
By carefully reviewing your itinerary items, one by one, you’ll become more familiar with your travel arrangements and schedule.
You can use these simple steps to prepare pretty much any type of travel itinerary.
Use it to create an itinerary for your next vacation, a short weekend excursion with friends, a seven-day business trip, or a local school outing.
What is an itinerary?
A travel itinerary is a document that contains travel information for a particular trip.
You can think of a travel itinerary like a plan or a map for your future travels.
Not only does an itinerary describe where, when, and how you’ll travel, but it also includes key details and supporting information related to your trip.
Travel itineraries commonly include such travel details as the following:
- Carriers, Companies, and Tour Operators
- Reservation Numbers
- Confirmation Numbers
- Flight, Bus, Train, Cruise, and Ferry Numbers
- Rest areas or rest stops
- Hotels, Motels, Resorts, Hostels, Campsites, and Bed and Breakfasts
- Reservation Numbers
- Confirmation Numbers
- Restaurants, Dining Halls, Cafes, Catering Halls, Snack Bars, and Cafeterias
- Seating arrangements
- Dietary offerings
- Voucher or meal ticket information
Social and Excursion Arrangements
- Companies, Organization, and Tour Operators
- Reservation and Confirmation Numbers
- Contact Information
- Landline Numbers
- Toll-free Numbers
- Mobile Numbers
- Fax Numbers
- Email Addresses
- Website Addresses
- Physical Addresses
- Mailing Addresses
- Social Media Profiles
Emergency Contact Information
- Company or organization
- Physical Address
- Landline Number
- Mobile Number
- Email Address
- Any necessary notes related to a trip
How to Make a travel Itinerary
Making a trip itinerary requires careful planning and organization skills.
Let’s walk through each of the steps you’ll need to follow to create your trip itinerary.
Gather travel documents and related information
The first step in creating a travel itinerary is to gather all relevant information related to your upcoming trip.
You’ll want to gather information as it relates to your travel dates and times, travel arrangements, accommodations, meal arrangements, social and excursion arrangements, and anything else you may consider as necessary.
This information may be found in such items as booking confirmation emails and messages, purchased travel tickets, reservation and confirmation details and so on.
Additionally, you may find it helpful to gather related brochures, pamphlets, and notes related to the above.
It’s a good idea to have your favorite web browser open and ready on your computer, tablet, or smart phone while you create your trip itinerary. You’ll use the browser to research or double-check information as necessary.
Open a blank document in a text editor or word processor
For the purposes of this tutorial, you’re going to compose your travel itinerary in a text editor or word processor.
Using either of these two methods makes it simple to type, cut and paste, adjust, and move travel information quickly and easily.
What’s more, you can also copy and paste text from emails, web browsers, and other documents in a pinch.
Type out the name of trip at the very top of your document, followed by the start and end dates of your travels.
For example, if you’re planning your summer vacation you might write out, “My Summer Vacation Getaway, Tuesday July 12th – Sunday July 17th.”
Create Travel itinerary template sections
The next step is to create three separate sections in your itinerary.
Creating these sections allows you to easily organize and locate information both now, and during your travels.
These sections also make it extremely easy for anyone else to read and understand your itinerary, even if they’re not traveling with you, or they’re following your trip from afar.
Go ahead and divide your document into the following three sections:
This area contains the “at-a-glance” information for your trip.
This space is a perfect place to store general information and resources related to your travel.
You can think of this section as the go-to-place for any general information you’ll need on your trip.
What type of general information can you include in this section?
You can include carrier and travel operator information, accommodation information, and contact information, for starters.
Feel free to include information such as toll-free numbers, landline phone numbers, mobile phone numbers, fax numbers, websites, social media profiles, physical and mailing addresses in this section.
Dates AND Times
This area is where you will list out the different dates and times related to your trip.
This section will include arrivals, departures, connections, travel routes, transportation hubs, reservation information, and so on.
This area is for any other information related to your trip that doesn’t quite fall into the categories above.
You can include notes about travel arrangements, whom to ask for when you arrive at a destination, what to look out for upon your arrival, and so on.
Write down the dates of your trip
Once you’ve created your three itinerary sections, you can move onto to jotting down the dates of your trip.
Write down the dates of your trip under the “Dates and Times” section of your itinerary one after another on separate lines.
Jotting down the dates of your trip sets the framework for your travel itinerary.
Be sure to include any other relevant dates, such as the day you leave your home or office, to the day you return to your home or office.
From our example above, you’d list out all of the days, in consecutive order, like this.
Tuesday July 12
Wednesday July 13
Thursday July 14
Friday July 15
Saturday July 16
Sunday July 17
Layout each day of your trip
Now it’s time to start laying out the nuts and bolts your travel itinerary.
The best way to do this is to work your way through the itinerary one day at a time, one hour at a time, from morning until night.
Doing so will allow you to “virtually travel” through each stage of your trip.
Simply work your way from one item to the next, gathering and consolidating all your gathered travel documents and information into the itinerary.
If you become confused, keep in mind you will always be doing one of two things on your trip. You will either be traveling or you will be at a destination.
How does this play out in practice?
Let’s say you’ve booked your flights, car service, and hotel lodgings.
You can easily drop this information into the first day of your trip, and start putting together your itinerary:
8 A.M. Leave home for Local Airport via ABC car service. Car service reservation is #334XB1.
10 A.M. Flight 324 on Example Airlines leaves Local Airport for Tropical Island Airport. Flight seat number is 14C.
3 P.M. Arrive at Tropical Island Airport and take ABC car service to Beach Hotel. Car service reservation is #908WE3
3:30 P.M. Arrive at Beach Hotel. Hotel reservation is #C12129HHT.
See how each of the travel itinerary items directly links to the next?
You want to make sure each of your entries logically follows the entries immediately before and after.
Once you’ve created a daily itinerary entry, be sure to add any relevant information to the general information or notes section of your itinerary.
From the itinerary example above, you’d probably want to include phone numbers, websites, and addresses in your general information for: Local Airport, ABC Car Service, Example Airlines, Tropical Island Airport, and Beach Hotel.
Likewise, you’d probably want to add notes that correspond with your itinerary entries. For example, you might make a note to ask for the Assistant Manager at the Beach Hotel.
Be sure to repeat this process, step-by-step, for each day of your trip.
Proofread and double-check your travel itinerary
A travel itinerary is only as good as the information contained within.
Be sure to double-check your travel itinerary work a few days later to make sure you have included everything you need.
Even better still, have someone you trust review the document after your initial review. This is ensures there aren’t any glaring errors or omissions.
Begin by confirming general information. For example, you’ll want to make sure you have the correct name, address, and phone number for a hotel. Check each of your general information entries to make sure things are correct.
You’ll then want to review the specific dates and times of your travel itinerary. Take care and slowly work through each line of your itinerary to make sure all of the information matches your original source documents.
You should also check to see if all the information contained within makes logical sense. For example, do all arrivals have matching departures?
Lastly, it’s time to confirm your notes. Are all of your notes clear and understandable? If not, you may want to add more detail or clarify a few items.
Finally, do one final check to make sure all the items in the itinerary are clear and make sense to you. And there you have it… a completed travel itinerary!
How about you? Have you ever prepared a travel itinerary? What do you think is important when it comes to preparing a travel itinerary? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!