I love planning and finding new things to do when I’m away. I’m someone who loves to be organised and thought it might be useful to share with you how I plan my trips away and what I do to find out everything I need to know. To demonstrate this I’m going to be sharing with you my London Itinerary, so you can see what there is to do in London as well as how I went about putting it together.
This is the most important thing when planning a trip, I like a good mixture of things to do and explore, as well as relaxing so I combine everything into one easy sheet. I try to make it as simple as possible and follow a pretty simple procedure. I also use websites such as TripAdvisor, TimeOut, The Culture Trip and Buzzfeed to find things to do that are outside of the general tourist areas. Next, I start on the blogs and Instagram accounts, I read about people’s lives who live in London and see where they go that I think would look fun. I also use the location tag on Instagram to see recent pictures from London. After making a huge long list of everything I want to do, I then move on to Step 2.
With only a few days or maybe a week somewhere, I like to split my long list up into categories to see what I have. For London I have Drinks, Eats, Other, Experiences, Museums, Hotels, Landmarks and Parks. By making it clear in the sheet, I can see how many restaurants I have to choose from as well as how many I need to have for the days of my trip. I start looking at address’ and seeing what restaurants and landmarks are nearby. For my London example, I have only done the addresses for Eats and Drinks as I roughly know the rest. I always overdo it with the Eats as I like to have a lot of options! (If I could eat my way round a town I would!)
Look at the dates and times you are expecting to be anywhere and break down your days into areas. So for London, if I only had a week I would plan things to do for four out of the seven days so I could fit everything in but still had extra time if I wanted to change plans or take any day trips out of the city.
I would also dedicate a certain area of London for each of the days, for example, Shoreditch area in one day, two mornings for museums and two afternoons for sightseeings with lunches and dinners planned at nearby restaurants.
Of course things don’t always go to plan and I might turn up somewhere, hate the museum and head somewhere else but if you have a rough idea of what you want to do each day then you can always change things on a daily basis. There are so many options available for just a few days that it would be impossible to see everything!
I use Google maps pretty much constantly and love creating lists on there. As you can see from my London map above, I have starred all the places that are on my spreadsheet so if I am walking around, I can quickly see what is nearby. It also helps to plan routes and know where you are going on public transport. I use Google maps as I find it really easy to use and also it tells me how far away things are and the best way to get around. I star my hotel or wherever I am staying, so I can work my way home too without having to remember the address every time.
I love that I have planned everything before I go somewhere, but I also love to find new places that aren’t on TripAdvisor or anywhere else. It’s easy to use a backup though if you don’t find somewhere extra special in the meantime.
As you can see from my Ultimate London Itinerary there is a lot I want to explore whilst I’m here for the next month or two and I’m lucky I have my sister who lives there as well as my friends. So many places to eat and drink too and I always keep adding to it! If I go on a weekend away I usually limit what I’m hoping to see, when I made my list for the places I was visiting in Southeast Asia I also focused more on landmarks and temples etc rather than food and drink, I personally think it just depends where in the world you’re travelling.
Either way, I hope this was useful to you somehow and if you’re heading to London, you have some new recommendations. Follow me on Bloglovin for weekly posts, I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest too!
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I post once a week covering topics such as solo travel, working and living abroad and also creating Gabriella’s Guides to places I have been. I cover topics under the following categories such as Planning and Packing, The Travel Diary, Travel Inspiration, Photo Diaries, Gabriella’s Guides and Working Abroad.