Does having an itenerary matter?

Old May 17th, 2003, 03:25 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 62
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Does having an itenerary matter?

I have been planning and planning and plotting courses on maps and getting ready for my trip to Manchester and London, then I thought why am I doing this? Does it matter? What if I get there and I want to do something totally off of my itenerary- thus making all my weeks of planning come to naught.....

Did everyone do a lot of trip preparation only to wind up doing something completely different once they go to their final destination?
policywonk is offline  
Old May 17th, 2003, 03:33 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,067
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've not been to Manchester but I've been to London. Seems like a question that could apply to most trips though.

My "itinerary" consists of knowing where we're going to sleep. Some folks would rather not plan that either but if it's high tourist season, that's a gamble.

Anyway, as long as we have a place to sleep and are sure we can get from point A to B for distance travel, we don't schedule much else. I keep a lot of info handy on what we could do, but we don't plan the times and we already have more possibilities on the list than time. Then, we just do the "so, what do you wanna do?" thing and pick something. If it's busy, we might buy tickets to something for the next day.
Clifton is offline  
Old May 17th, 2003, 03:36 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,050
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
An itinerary is a guideline, and is a very useful tool as long as you realize that it's not carved in stone. Without any itinerary, you're likely to waste time, backtracking around town or missing events you would have enjoyed.

The key is to remember that at any time, you can change or ignore it in favor of something that looks better. And IMHO any good itinerary includes some flexible or "down time" anyway.

Even if you abandon huge chunks of your itinerary, the effort wasn't wasted -- presumably that research informed the decision to abandon the plan after all!
Anonymous is offline  
Old May 17th, 2003, 03:36 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,067
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Clicked too soon, but in short what I'd wanted to say was that on vacation, we want to relax and have fun. Itineraries are often tough to stick to and who wants to feel like they failed at vacation?
Clifton is offline  
Old May 17th, 2003, 03:38 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 434
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think it's not completely necessary to have a detailed itinerary. I find it helpful to be aware of the different kinds of bus passes before arrival.

I also have a mental list or general list of places to visit. Upon arrival, I find that some places can be seen quickly, some take more time, some new places can be added that you didn't plan.

In short, I find it helpful to be aware of some of the tourist attractions, but I am not so rigid that I schedule "appointment times" and plan the exact route that I will take. Only Presidents and Royalty need to do that and their aides do the work. I am not a king.
Hiroshi is offline  
Old May 17th, 2003, 06:21 PM
  #6  
jor
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,766
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have never had an itinerary in 23 years of travel to Europe. Total waste of time. I think its like bringing your boss with you on your vacation.
jor is offline  
Old May 17th, 2003, 06:37 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,560
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Whether or not you have an "itinerary" depends on a lot of factors. (1)Are there certain things you really want to see in certain places? If yes, then knowing if they will be open on the days and times you'll be there really helps. (I am a victim of having been to Rome three times and never seeing the inside of the Parthenon - high on my list of must-sees - because I screwed up the dates and times or it was being repaired or whatever, and that's a bummer).(2) Are you more interested in visiting established sites or just wandering around getting a taste of a new environment? If the latter, an itinerary won't help much. (3) Do you have certain places you want to eat/drink? All establishments close down from time to time or have certain regular opening/closing schedules. If it's important for you to have an ale at a certain bar in a certain city, or a meal at a special inn, yes, you'd better plan ahead. Maybe the proprietor takes his vacation for the whole month of June or whenever you're going to be there.
My approach to travel before I had a base in Europe that allowed my much more flexibility than most travelers was to plan everything to the hilt, then expect to diverge from the plan as often as whim dictated. Now, I hardly plan at all, except when going to a country I'm not very familiar with. I think in general the best approach is to do lots of up-front planning but to be perfectly willing to cast it all to the wind if something unexpected comes up, as it most likely will. The more research you've done, the more resourceful you can be when confronted with the unexpected.
StCirq is offline  
Old May 17th, 2003, 06:44 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,853
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It sounds like you are talking about traveling between cities since you refer to a map and courses. I do not ever deviate from that kind of itinerary, meaning I plan on how many days in each city, because I book hotel rooms and perhaps buy train or airline tickets.

However, I don't plan daily itineraries that much within the places I stay. I always have a general idea of the main sites I want to see, but do that depending on weather or what I feel like when I get there. I do plan for specific events that need tickets in advance, such as ballet and concerts.

I don't think I spend quite as much time as it sounds like you have on my itineraries, though, except for the main routings and cities and hotels, as I said. I do sometimes plan some day trips that are particularly important to me for a certain day to make sure things are open, though. Other than that, I read my guidebooks a little to find out what museums, etc, are there, but don't spend hours at that. I don't plan restaurants and meals at all, hardly -- I know others do a lot, though.
Christina is offline  
Old May 17th, 2003, 07:02 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,352
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We always have a list of As and Bs. If we end up at all Cs, we do not care. We have hopefully 30 more years of annual vacations before arthritis set in.
icithecat is offline  
Old May 17th, 2003, 09:36 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 52
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I always have a list of things to see and do prepared, as well as all opening and closing times. This can save you a lot of time and hassle, especially since your vacation time is limited and is likely to be expensive. It is not gospel however. Having an itinerary and ignoring it is far better than not having an itinerary and looking for something to do.
jsiegendorf is offline  
Old May 18th, 2003, 03:28 AM
  #11  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,699
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi wonkie,

I spend lots of time preparing a detailed, daily itinerary, which I then don't follow.

However, because of the research time (which is lots of fun), I know what I want to do if I don't find something better.
ira is offline  
Old May 18th, 2003, 03:31 AM
  #12  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,699
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
StCirq wrote:
>I am a victim of having been to Rome three times and never seeing the inside of the Parthenon - high on my list of must-sees - .....<

Dear St Cirq,

I fear that you will never get to visit the Parthenon if you keep going to Rome.
ira is offline  
Old May 18th, 2003, 04:04 AM
  #13  
RAR
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 602
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lol Ira. Well I've been to Rome and seen the Pantheon, and not the Roman Forum. So I guess we all arent perfect tourists.
RAR is offline  
Old May 18th, 2003, 04:59 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 646
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
More lol's Ira, that reminded me of the time when I was on a bus in Athens and someone sitting behind me suddenly pointed at the structure on top of a hill and said in a very loud voice - Oh look, that must be the Colosseum!
Xenos is offline  
Old May 18th, 2003, 08:26 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,130
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with the comments of "Anonymous." I do a lot of research and planning before a trip and make an itinerary, as well. However, we mainly use the itinerary as a guideline, rather than something we HAVE to stick to. We also make sure to include plenty of "wandering" time in our itinerary.

The main reason I like to have one is to have an idea of what we want to see/do on each day, as well as opening and closing times for sights. That way, we don't miss out on one of those "must see" places during our trip.

I also feel, however, that itineraries are not for everyone. Some people prefer one while others don't. Everyone's travel personality is different, so it's not a matter of it being "right or wrong." It's just a personal preference.
Statia is offline  
Old May 18th, 2003, 09:21 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 96
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I often get in a mode in the UK where I walk out of a B&B in the morning (which I found the night before by chance) get in the car, open the map and decide where I want to go on that day.

I too do a lot of pre-trip planning but more for the fun of it than anything else. I pick an area; Wales, Devon, etc. and a few things I would like to see and wing it the rest of the time.
I reserve lodging for the first and last day of a trip plus anytime I'm staying in London. Otherwise I'm not really sure where I'll end up in the evening.

Some of the unplanned stops have been some of my favorites such as Rug Chapel in Wales, members.cox.net/stump-m/UKMay2002/WalesFrame.htm, or the Church of St. Mary's in Tintern across from the abbey, members.cox.net/stump-m/UKMay2002/StMaryFrame.htm.
MikeS is offline  
Old May 18th, 2003, 12:40 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 69
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
i did a fair amout of pre-planning and laid out an itinerary before my week driving tour of Kent and East Sussex, mainly because I wanted to see as much as possible and I didn't have the luxury of a navigator.

It was stressful at times (got lost once in Ramsgate, then was late for a brewery tour in Faversham when I tried to squeeze in one more castle) but it was a big help to have some idea of where to go. (And with sky-high diesel prices, I don't want to do too much unnecessary driving). I did do some wandering off the track though (A-Z street guides are worth every pence) and enjoyed it.

If you're a big planner and like to be organized, you probably won't be happy if you don't have one. If you're a free spirit, just buy a good map.
SoloAlex is offline  
Old May 19th, 2003, 10:55 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,929
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Another reason for planning in bigger cities is that you can group the things you want to see into areas so that you don't waste time crisscrossing the city and back tracking yourself. But, then, I like to plan.
carolyn is offline  
Old May 19th, 2003, 11:02 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,815
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Pre-Trip Planning and Being Open For Adventures can make a lovely couple.
capo is offline  
Old May 19th, 2003, 11:35 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,560
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for pointing that out, Ira. Must've been a long day at work when I wrote that.

Actually, I have seen the Parthenon. Now, if only I could get inside the Pantheon!
StCirq is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -