Step 5: Plan your activities
I have a 60% rule. I don’t want to waste time while traveling but I want to leave room for flexibility. I usually build a list of must do items, want to do, and a backup list if I have time. I put a lot of research into the must do list. Where is it, how will I get there, when is it open/closed? The second list is more of a reference. I want to know where it is in relation to some of the other items in case it makes sense to stop while in the area but these items don’t take priority. The third list is just in case you have extra time, something didn’t work out or you didn’t run into anything that ended up filling up the extra 40% of your time. This 3rd list often comes in handy with inclement weather. A few back up museums or cafes can be a good idea if it is just too miserable to be outside. Then you still get to experience a location without feeling like you completely missed out.
The 40% leaves room for flexibility. You can take advice from a stranger or stop at someplace that looks interesting. You have time to linger in a park, a café or over a fabulous meal.
Some of your favorite memories will be the things you didn’t plan! Leave time. However, there is a reason that every tourist goes to see the same sights. They are worth the stop! You don’t never want to travel to Paris and not see the Eiffel tower, to Rome and not see the Coliseum or Cambodia and not see Angkor Wat.
I want to see as much as possible and make good use of my time while still allowing time to get off the beaten path.
Step 6: Have fun and be flexible
No matter how much you have planned, something will go wrong. It is ok. It is a fact of life and frankly part of the fun.
And if you want some help planning your trip, please let me know!