1. Time to spend in each place.
Some tourists load up their schedules as if their only goal is to take one good photo behind a famous landmark and move on. Seriously, why even bother?
And then there's the first time travelers who wants to accomplish a lot thinking they can pull it off. It's not Amazing Race, there's no need to rush. So before adding another place or attraction to your itinerary consider first how many hours you are going to spend in the previous places. Some attractions are meant to be explored for one full day. Disneyland, Universal Studios, Ocean Park, Safari and basically any Amusement Park that involves rides, slides, animals, shows, kids and long lines are definitely a whole day affair.
Do you know how to get there? Take note of the modes of transportation available before finalizing your itinerary. If you don't know how to get to your location your scheduled plan will be for naught. Your time will be wasted scratching your head and asking for directions.
3. Location and Distance
Most cities are big and have a lot to offer. Breakdown the areas and list all the landmarks and places you can visit. It will help you plan your day and make the most out of your stay. Otherwise you might end up going from north to south to get from point A to point B only to go back north again to go to point C?
Do yourself a favor and look at a map. See if your schedule makes sense. It doesn't if you have to go back to the same area twice not realizing that the place you want to go to today is in the same vicinity as where you went yesterday.
4. Travel Time
You are not going to magically transport from one place to another. Always put the minutes or hours needed to take to get from one location to the next then add an extra thirty minutes for traffic jams.
If you need to travel by bus or train for more than 7 hours always try to do it at night. You can save on one night's accommodation and you don't have to waste a day's worth of touring.
5. Operating hours and Holidays
Save yourself from the hustle and disappointment of arriving fully prepared and excited only to know upon arrival that the venue is close, about to close or under maintenance. Many museums are open only until 3 pm, and some are closed on the weekends.
The Chatuchak Market in Bangkok is only open on the weekends and many attractions in Malaysia are closed every Monday. This is a minor detail that most people tend to overlook that turn into a major bummer.
Always secure your tickets beforehand as much as possible. Not only it is cheaper to buy from third party sellers (most of the time), you are also relieved of the long queues and worse sold out tickets. If you plan to visit Amusement Parks or watch Cultural shows always try to buy the tickets in advance. If possible allot atleast half an hour just for buying all the tickets on the very first day.
7. Weather and Time of the day
Be informed of the weather or the season of the country you plan to visit. Southeast Asian countries have only two seasons-- wet and dry. If you are going during the summer, the afternoons will be scorching hot and the humidity can easily drain your energy. Schedule your outdoor activities accordingly.
Some tourist spots boast of magnificent view of the sunrise and sunset like the Prambanan Temple, Angkor Wat and Manila Bay. Adjust your schedule and try not to miss it. The city's downtown area and shopping strips are best explored during the night when the city lights are on and the night breeze is perfect for a leisurely stroll.
You need to eat people. Dining and eating foreign cuisine is considered a travel experience. Find good local restaurants, observe the ambiance, savor the food and recharge. Reserve an hour for every meal.
9. You and your party
Yes, you. Do not kid yourself, are you really going to wake up at 5 in the morning and start the day at 6? It happens all the time you have an early morning plan only to be moved a couple of hours later because you woke up tired and decided to go back to sleep instead. Know your fitness level as well. Can you really do so many activities consecutively for 5 days?
You're a group of five, how long will it take for everybody to get ready in the morning? Do you have an elder, handicapped or a baby in tow? Not everybody can handle long walks and full day schedules.
|My grandma, little brother and cousin at Hongkong Disneyland|
Try to make your itinerary loose and flexible. Limit the places you want to visit to two or three maximum commute. Having to travel more than four times in one day is just too much.
And lastly try to have options. Any of the above-mentioned list is bound to go wrong-- sold out tickets, sudden rainfall and whatnot. Try to schedule major places as either/or. Example, for day 1 Disneyland or Ocean Park.