Guesthouse Langaholt Iceland
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Stupid Tip of the Day: Your Entire Itinerary in One Place

Planning a trip is rarely ever easy. Between trying to secure the best prices, rates and fares at the most convenient times and days while simultaneously creating the best experience possible is nothing short of a gargantuan task — and errors are easy to commit when dealing with so many moving parts of an itinerary.

Stupid Tip of the Day: Your Entire Itinerary in One Place

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Iceland
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Having all of the necessary information in one place is paramount for me when not only planning the itinerary of a trip — but also using that itinerary as a guide, as spontaneous changes can occur while traveling.

The method I use tends to be old fashioned; but it works well for me. One example is my trip to Iceland.

Click on the image for an enlarged view. Image ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

What you see is an actual image of the first page of my itinerary while traveling in Iceland — except that I changed the confirmation numbers for this example. The design is one which I have created and used for virtually all of my international trips for years; and it originally was for printing to a laser printer with black toner — which is why the itinerary lacks color for the most part. Notice how virtually everything is listed in chronological order.

I ensure that each date and day is in larger type with all upper-case letters, with the general subject of that day with initial capital letters:

MAY 31 THURSDAY — Golden Circle 10 hours

Because I was planning on driving a lot in Iceland — around the entire country, as a matter of fact — I added how many hours the itinerary for that day should consume, which I do not usually do. When I calculated that out for the entire trip, I found out that one or two of the days amounted to 16 straight hours — and that caused me to rethink that itinerary by either adjusting what I was planning to do on which day. Sometimes I added things to do; and sometimes I eliminated them. I ultimately perfected the itinerary to the point where it had room for spontaneity if an unexpected opportunity arose.

I then include everything which is intended to occur on that day. The first day includes the:

  • Outgoing flight with the airline
  • Flight number
  • Changes in the flight itinerary between purchasing the tickets and the day of the flight;
  • Origination, stopover and destination airports
  • Departure times
  • Airport lounges and where they are located
Iceland Gunnuhver Hot Springs
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Because the time of arrival was the next day, that is where the arrival time and destination are included — which gives me instant indication that this is an overnight flight.

The next item is all of the information I needed for picking up the rental car:

  • The time I expect to pick it up
  • The telephone number of the rental car facility
  • Which payment card I used for the reservation
  • The policy for fuel in the car; the confirmation number
  • The type of car I should expect to receive
  • Whether or not unlimited miles are included
  • Where I booked the reservation
  • Who I needed to meet
  • Where in the airport that meeting should occur.
Procar Iceland
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

A reminder is added to convert some currency — although this does not always go smoothly. I usually wait until I am out of the airport before exchanging currency. I normally list the range of the rate of exchange so that I know whether or not I am getting the best deal; but at that time, the rate of exchange between the United States dollar and Icelandic Krona was easy enough to calculate.

All of the events and activities for the day are then listed. A solid green star meant an activity not to be missed; while a star with a green outline was recommended but not required. Activities with no star were optional if I had the time. Directions and approximate drive times were included.

At the end of the day is all the information I need for my lodging arrangements for the night:

  • The name, address and telephone number of the hotel property
  • Directions
  • Confirmation number
  • Type and number of beds
  • Smoking or non-smoking room
  • Refundable or not
  • The total cost in both currencies.
Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Center
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

When finished, my itinerary was 13 pages long, as I was in Iceland for 11 days before traveling on to Barcelona, Andorra and Lisbon — and then traveling back to the United States.

I still print out the itinerary — double sided to save on paper, of course — but I also have a copy on my laptop computer and on any portable electronic device I take with me. This way, I always have access to the itinerary.


Humpback whale Iceland
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

That original itinerary went through a number of unexpected changes during my trip — but despite the spontaneity, it was still invaluable to me.

What I just outlined is what has worked for me for years. You might have your own custom differences: perhaps you use special software to outline your itinerary; or you might want to add more color for increased differentiation between items of information. Maybe you just list everything the old fashioned way: using a pad of paper and a pen or pencil.

Whatever method you use, having the entire itinerary at your immediate disposal will help reduce booking flights at the wrong times; mitigate scheduling activities at overlapping times; and even save you money.

This is one of my not-so-secret secrets to better travel.

I have many articles which I still need to write pertaining to Iceland — but in the meantime, please enjoy these articles which include plenty of photographs:

All photographs ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

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