My wife and I have traveled the world, seeking amazing sights to hike, climb, dive, explore, and learn about. We will never tire of travel; however, one pain point that hits us before each adventure is travel planning. We’ve learned many tricks and tips to optimize and streamline the process over the years! Let’s take a moment to reflect on all our learnings on how to create a travel itinerary. Not to mention how we are driving Travel-Wise to change the way we travel forever. We aspire to make all of these processes more manageable.
Traveling anywhere new and into the unknown leads to many worries and fears. Rightfully so, this world was not fully explored without adequate planning and preparation before travel. For many, a travel itinerary that paves a safe plan with maximum enjoyment breaks down the barrier to getting out.
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Understand what you are looking for in a travel itinerary
Everyone wants something different in their next travel plans. Those wants can even change over time. Not to mention budget and costs vary wildly across the world. With all the variations in what you may desire in your next travel plans, let’s explore some good points to reflect on. Especially before starting your search for travel plans.
Understanding your travel persona can vastly change what you may be looking for. Your persona will help highlight certain activities or destinations you can seek above others. Your persona may vary from trip to trip, and you may enjoy activities from several personas. Reflecting on what is suitable for you on your next trip is essential.
Be sure to check out our article that will help you explore more about your travel persona.
Everyone has some upper limit on what can be spent, as resources are never infinite. Please consider what you can afford and mark that upper bound and limit your plans around it. At the same time, some folk may have a particular style of traveling that is exclusively cushier. Cushier, as in avoiding all of the budget locations. Consider where you are willing to travel cheaply and when it is worth it to spend a bit more.
For some, climbing Mt Everest, traveling into the Amazon, hitting a politically unstable geopolitical location, and diving into the black ocean water may not seem like a big deal. However, it is at least worth noting and planning for or avoiding altogether for others. What is your comfort zone?
Distance and Time Zone
For some looking for a road trip or a short flight to others willing to go to space and back, you must consider your options for distance. Longer distances, of course, need more time and budget.
Are you a digital nomad that has nothing but free time or someone with a limited vacation time budget? From living at a destination for several months or having just several weeks available, your time available will limit how much you can experience at specific destinations. To understand the maximum time you have to take your next trip.
How Travel-Wise will improve this experience
Understanding what you are looking for can feel like soul searching, especially for those inexperienced with embracing the unknowns in life. Travel-Wise intends to make it quick and easy to see many example itineraries. You can use search filters that match various angles of what you might be looking for. You can adjust your search parameters and fine-tune until you start seeing itineraries that look exciting for you. In the worst case, try creating your own after some initial research, build it as you like, and share it with the community. Travel-Wise will aid in this process and streamline it faster than ever.
Are you looking for more information on this topic? Then, check out this article that dives into more!
Find good sources for research
Through the years I’ve traveled, finding good sources of information is always the most challenging part of the process. Many in the world of intelligence will understand that knowledge is power. Doing something without a plan is nothing more than hoping everything will be okay. So how do we find out what it is like on the other side of the world or in our neighboring countries, states/provinces? Truly. Here are my top resources used in planning my next trip.
Also, doing many things out of your comfort zone can be dangerous. From someone who often embarks on dangerous activities and thrills, I am always aware that I need to approach these with a directional plan to mitigate risk. Having the knowledge and experience during the adventure to overcome challenges will get you through the end. Embarking on any such activity with no plan will leave you with wasted time, missed opportunities, and worse, mistakes that will leave their scars. No great adventurers in the early days of humankind’s world exploration set off without a plan. Despite traveling being more accessible than ever, it is good to acknowledge the risks of doing things.
Government websites and official boards of tourism
My #1 go-to for understanding political climate, concerns, and current understanding of different worldwide destinations is often just their governmental front end. They are the ones that are *often* the most honest and straightforward. However, expect many destinations to have a very outdated, old, and barely usable website. Governments tend to have poor websites, sometimes not very up to date. Some don’t have any information at all on the internet. The US also has a rating system judging safety over geopolitics worldwide.
In this internet age where more information is accessible at your fingertips than ever, here I recommend books?! Yes, books are not easy to publish and vetted for quality and detail more than most everything on the internet. But, books such as the lonely planet series have been great resources for me on many destinations. The problem is that they could be outdated and grow stale decently fast. Especially with how fast the world changes these days. But, they are still great foundations and primers to start your plan.
Travel agents are professionals who work with destinations. They tend to have various specializations to help make sure you can travel to where you want to go safely. Travel Agents are experts that know a lot about a destination’s history, culture, etc., and are excellent sources of deep information. They typically don’t cost you extra, as affiliation services often pay them. The trick is finding the travel agent that meets what you are after. Travel agents sometimes have numerous pre-built itinerary templates that they also work off. This world is vast, and with so many travel personas, finding the right travel agent can be tricky with many specializations and skill levels. We need a search engine for travel agents alone.
Folks who recently went there
We all have friends, family, or acquaintances who travel. Sometimes finding someone in your circle who has personally planned and gone to that destination provides a wealth of insight. In our written forms of communication, we lose a lot of meaning and detail. When talking to a travel agent or someone you know face to face, you can ask questions along the way. You get a more vital idea of all the details you are personally looking for of a destination. This personal interview can provide details that can be easily left out or glossed over in other written materials. Of course, not everyone’s network may include someone knowledgeable about where you want to go.
Today, the internet is booming, and new travel blogs pop up in many manifestations with great information. I’ve used such travel blogs to plan dangerous trips like Huemo Circuit (one of the more hazardous treks I’ve done). They can be super detailed, although the one we used still got us a touch lost. I do advocate that you be careful with blogs. Find reputable ones with lots of detail as information quality and even disinformation vary widely. Also, most travel blogs have no editing or fact-checking in place and may grow stale (as all information does) over time.
How Travel-Wise will improve this experience
The information opens many doors, but finding that information is not trivial. Travel-Wise is helping by providing search capabilities. This enables you to find the itineraries full of the information you are after about destinations worldwide. From hiking, land explorations, scuba diving, road trips, and resort fever dreams, we have you covered as our itinerary repository grows. We give the travel community all the tools needed to maintain destination itineraries, including the ability to keep them at a high-quality bar. We will be continuing to innovate here to ensure maximum searchability for current and up-to-date itineraries.
Record and jot down your travel itinerary
You’ve come this far and found plenty of ways to understand your aspirations and where to find information. However, you’ve likely also found that holding this in mind is impossible. The human mind can only retain so much information. Without some written storage of this information, you’ll be practically winging your plan on the fly. For most of us, you’ll find all sorts of things to jot down manifestations of travel plans on. Here is what has worked for us in the past.
The various Google or Microsoft document suites are tried and true for collaborative planning. They also both make your documents available while offline. Offline capability is a must while on travel to handle unpredictability! These docs have numerous tools built-in but always feel a bit fussy for travel itineraries. Maybe it is just me.
Email and Drafts
Perhaps one I don’t strongly recommend but works in a pinch for most is email. Email clients generally offer the ability to access your emails offline from temporary drafts or group reply chains. These work but take caution as it is easy to lose or misplace important information. In addition, the harder you make it to find important information you need, the more stress you may bring yourself while on the go.
I mentioned above that Google and Microsoft docs always feel a bit clunky for the niche of travel planning. The format is not entirely correct. EverNote is a to-do list but is a powerful one and offers similar capabilities that Google and Microsoft docs do. Its format caters to what I’d like to see in a travel planner. Also, it allows me to look up information on the go quickly.
The most reliable form is always back to the basics—the old print and pack. After every trip, we’ll be left with some papers with scribbles and notes jotted on throughout the journey. These documents are reliable, always at arm’s reach, and do not require an internet or phone battery. The only downside is that losing them will be winging it off your memory.
How Travel-Wise will improve this experience
Travel-Wise yearns to improve your experience fumbling with your phone for the booking, address, or planning information. Instead, we want to enable our users the finest tools as a one-stop shop that caters to neat and quick retrieval for information on the goal and is available as needed. Not to mention tooling and support explicitly catered to make one less stressor on your travels.
Communicate with your party on travel plans
Of all the times I’ve traveled, most travel planning boils down to one leader doing most of the plans while catering and taking input from the rest of the group. This practical leadership style has stood against the test of time. It requires a lot of time and thought through. From group chats on <insert name here> chat applications to long email reply chain threads to discussions over group dinner. Information is here and there, and action items for different group members are tasked. Finally, the plan is coming together.
We’ve all been here, though. Folk gets busy, and group members drop the ball on the actions. Information is lost or forgotten about. Folks drop out or bail on the trip for various last-minute reasons. Even though you might still succeed in fulfilling your trip, getting there can be messy.
Not to mention finding others to travel with. My wife and I enjoy adventurous trips. I cannot count the number of times folk quit on us last minute or have not been interested in the extreme life. It often comes down to us traveling just ourselves despite always wanting others to join us. Traveling with others is a very intimate and memorable experience. I was finding others to travel with stands to be a huge pain point today.
How Travel-Wise will improve this experience
While I still haven’t found an optimal system for bringing everyone’s thoughts and streamlining the group part of the travel plans. I expect to drive Travel-Wise as a tip of the spear in facilitating this experience. Travel-Wise is centered as a travel community at its core. Using the community around travel, we hope to streamline communication. In addition, we want a platform to make communication integrated into our Travel Planner. This helps conversation and contextual information to stay in one place.
Also, as our community continues to grow, we will start leveraging the power of our social network. We plan to enable the ability for travel plan owners to vet other like-minded travelers and invite them to your plans. Alternatively, travelers wanting to join an open group forming can request access to join a group. This opens all sorts of doors to meet, pull together a travel group of users, and drive group travel discount rates. Think of it as the online match system for travelers! This is one area Travel-Wise will continue to drill into until we become the best in the market solution.
Start booking your trip!
Friends, the planning journey has been long, and it may feel like you are just reaching the halfway point. This is the last hurdle to fulfilling your travel itch, though. Nothing is going to stop you! Mistakes are likely to happen with everyone making their bookings today to maximize their credit points. Not even including last-minute changes, the need for flexibility at specific destinations, and the risk of natural or political disasters. These additional stressors can make booking difficult, time-consuming, and a high hurdle for many.
Many complexities present themselves booking a trip. Your party could be spread across your country or world. With intents to meet at the destination, making arrivals and departures flights all different requiring individual bookings. Most of the group will travel together from there on. However, stays can be a mixed back of one giant shared apartment or house, camping, or mixed plans of shared rooms. There are also tours, permits, and other bookings that you will miss out on that activity if you fail to account for.
What often works for us is to have a group leader. They draw up the initial plans for flights. Arrival times to and departure times from specific destinations. Other considerations include where to stay each night of the trip and what activities need booking. Each individual must then plan to share a room with others or book their room separately. Often, the group leader will try to book permits and tickets for the group. You can often drive for group discounts ranging from 10-40% off if your group is large. Below are some tools we’ve used to make booking and planning easier.
Google Flights is a flight search engine through Google that has good detail on flight information and allows you to find the cheapest and best flights (least amount of layover and hops) to get to or from your destinations.
Our go-to resource for hoteling worldwide is a great platform to book through and find destination stays. It is primarily for hoteling, so camping is not covered, but it works great for the budget and cozy rooms.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly experienced a wide range of good stays at Airbnb and personally have had some real troublesome experiences. But, on the other hand, many folks I’ve met swear that Airbnb can be cheaper than the traditional hotel stay, especially when you can rent a whole house for a large group. So it is an ideal option to keep in mind.
Official destination permit holders or ticketing
Finding these can be the hardest part. These systems are often run by government agencies and can have a lottery system that makes or breaks your trip plans. Research ahead, understand when the lottery opens, and have everyone in your group enter the lottery for maximum odds of success. As failure to do so, coordination and planning may leave a significant loss on your trip plans. Local governments usually do permits and limited ticketing to control the number of fragile traffic areas worldwide can receive to protect those environments. Also, some places are just so popularized they can only allow a limited set of people. We’ve seen a lot of great places be locked behind permits, so don’t miss your chance by a failure to prepare.
How Travel-Wise will improve this experience
While Travel-Wise does not yet help book, we intend to deep dive and drive the booking experience and integration to solve all the above problems. We aspire to make your life and travel more accessible, which is our utmost priority. We would be working with partner and affiliate booking agencies to make it easier to book what you want at the cheapest rates you’d like with the convenience of utilizing knowledge of your travel plans if you use our built-in travel planner.
This would allow each individual to book through Travel-Wise for members of their party, and their bookings to automatically be recorded. Further, we want to ensure that you are well informed of any limited permits or tickets to plan around if you are going to specific destinations. We will be driving and prioritizing the tooling around our community as it grows. We get all this valuable feedback on how to improve our tooling to optimize for travel bookings.
How Travel-Wise is helping!
As you can see, travel isn’t easy. Through the test of time, as humankind began exploring the unknown and continuing to do that into space and beyond, it takes preparation, and some plan to challenge that unknown and come out on top. Travel is more accessible today than ever due to areas with growing infrastructure and agencies improving their travel industry. Yet I have never found travel planning easy or straightforward to do. Travel-Wise is changing this through our website, community, and tools. We’ve been places and want to help apply our experience by building high-caliber tools suited for you. Life is short. Spend less time planning and more time on the adventure. Here are highlights of what we aspire to improve on Travel-Wise.
By using our forum and social network integration around each tool we build, we aspire to fully connect all of our toolings with the community at its core. This is not about Travel-Wise providing the best itineraries worldwide but inspiring those passionate, from professionals to enthusiasts, with expertise and love for travel to give the best and up-to-date information.
Itinerary Creation Engine
Tooling for a rich experience in creating itineraries. From trips you took, researching coming trips to take, or itineraries you already planned, we will make it easy to share your itinerary information. We also will make it trivial for others to build off of it to make actual travel plans and experience their personalized adventures.
Itinerary Search Engine
Most users will visit Travel-Wise to get inspiration or plan their upcoming trips. So we aspire to provide the best search engine for being able to filter down to precisely what you are looking for. Especially with the proper specification for you to dive into relevant itineraries and information related to what you are looking for.
Whether you found supporting itineraries or made a travel plan for your adventure from scratch, we will drive our Travel Planner to suit all of your travel needs. From streamlining group communication, quick access to information offline, good visual setup, recording your thoughts and memories in-line, and one-stop-shop for all your hoteling, booking, and dates/times. Once your plan is set, keeping a reference to it will be easy throughout your trip.
Itinerary and Trip Shareability
Whether you created an incredible itinerary you’d like to promote, or completed a journey with friends and family that you want to share. We want to make it as simple as clicking a few buttons and then pasting them in the appropriate places. Places like your blog, website, forums, social media, email, etc. We will continue optimizing and refining the format to make your memories beautiful and portable to any website.
With a thriving community, we have the ambition to tie it all together and introduce the next phase of our planned future. To enable our community to find and attract others to your travel plans with the ability to vet others based on their social profiles, contributions, and expertise. You will get to see if they are a match for your travel group dynamics. Additionally, with the ability to find substitutes and others to travel with, we will be driving the ability to meet group rate discounts through our tooling to help get better deals.
Travel Plan Booking
We have your travel plans which are only part of the equation. As our community grows, we hope to use the strength of our community to work with partner booking agencies. This will allow us to provide a fully customizable booking experience that will help us drive the best booking prices. Also, we plan to have the tooling automatically integrate the booking info into your travel plan. From knowing where you need to arrive, depart, stay, and help with everything. Along with automatically posting this information to your travel plans, each individual can book separately.
Rich Creator Tooling
We want anyone using our tooling to have rich data over who has or will be using your itineraries. Further, to give our creators the ability to use Travel-Wise as an entry point to drive traffic to their websites, blogs, and services.