So you now have confirmed dates for flying out and back and you may have booked some accommodation. If you have also booked a tour then your itinerary is already determined for you. But if you are travelling independently with no fixed plans, then it would be wise to form even a rough plan of what you intend to do and when.
Between your arrival and departure dates, you may be trying to visit multiple countries, or at least several places within the same country. From past experience, many travellers would advise against trying to fit too much in - you might end up spending most of your time going between places and not having enough time to actually see and experience them. Consider the following:
- How easily can you travel between each place and how long is each journey?
- Will it be difficult or expensive to find accommodation at each place? If so, it may be better to avoid going there unless you want to waste time looking for accommodation on arrival or book something in advance.
- How much is there to do in each place? List all the sights and activities that you want to do, then estimate how many days it might take to fit them all in. You may need to prioritise them and leave some out - would your time be better spent elsewhere?
- Are there any overnight coach or train journeys you can do to save time and money (you won't need accommodation that night)? But how easily can you sleep when travelling?
It's a good idea to write out an itinerary of what is feasible, so that you have an idea of how much you can fit in as you go along. The great thing about independent travel is the flexibility it gives you, so don't constrain yourself too much to your plans. But the advantage of having an itinerary is seeing what the impact is of changing your plans. For example, staying an extra two days in Prague might mean that you have to miss Vienna or Bratislava in order to get to Budapest in time for your flight home.
Simply draw up a table with 2 columns. In the left-hand column list the days you will be away. In the right-hand column write the activities (travelling, sightseeing) you intend to do. You may also want to build in some 'float' - spare days that you can use where you choose. Putting in a spare day would simply shift your itinerary back a day thereafter, but check travel plans such as inter-city buses that only operate on certain days of the week. An example itinerary is shown below:
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