For some, making an itinerary for traveling might seem like a waste of time, a trivial endeavor. A lot of people like to travel and take things as they come, making every day spontaneous and exciting, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The free spirits of the world don’t want the constraints of a plan to lessen their good time. Others, though, like to have a plan so they know what to expect on the trip. Following an itinerary will help you maximize the trip and enable you to see and do everything you want to do in this new place. If all you want to do is lie on the beach and sip exotic drinks, you don’t need an itinerary. If you want to see the sights, eat some local fare, and take in some culture, then think about making an itinerary. There are hundreds of things to do anywhere you go—for instance, Panama. There is so much to do here you can’t possibly do it all in one week. The Panama Canal, deep-sea fishing, Panama City, rain forests, coral reefs, scuba diving, and so on. While you can certainly spend your whole vacation in the fishing lodge in Panama, you can also incorporate other activities to make the most of your time here. Here are some tips on how to create an itinerary for your Panama Vacation so you can see and do it all. Remember that the itinerary is a list of all relevant information, stored in one place, that you need while on a trip.
Getting Started at Home
The first thing to do is gather up all the relevant information for the trip. This will include flights, reservations, hotels, and things that you want to do on the trip. Organize all the information in a way that makes sense for you; after all, this is your list, so it must make sense to you. You can write everything out on paper if you like, but recording it digitally makes more sense. It’s easier to transport and keep track of and you can send it anywhere. Having a digital and hard copy is a good idea, though, because phones can lose their battery power. Start filling in the day-to-day information with activities you will participate in and places that you will go to each day. Once your itinerary is complete, share with as many people as you like, but two at a minimum. Let a trusted family member or friend know where you will always be in case of an emergency.
List of All Lodgings
The first thing to write down on your list is where you will be staying. Include every place that you plan on staying at if there’s more than one. You want to include the street address, website, phone number, and confirmation number of all places you will stay. In the age of Airbnb and rentals, this becomes especially important. The level of security and accountability in those places is not as high as with a traditional hotel or established lodge. Include how much you paid for the reservations and any receipts you have too. If you used a travel or booking agent for the rooms, include their name too, in case there is any disputing the reservations and fees.
List of All Flights
Every airline has this information on its website. When you confirm the flight, it will be available to you. Include all the flight information in your itinerary. List the carrier, the flight number, when and where it departs, and when and where it will land. If you used frequent flier miles for the tickets, include your member number. Include how much you paid for the tickets and how you booked them: via travel agent, third-party site, or on the carrier’s website. There is no such thing as too much information when preparing for a trip, so include everything, no matter how insignificant it might seem.
Write Down All Tours
If you plan on going on any guided tours while on vacation, and you should, include all that information too. You can book tours well in advance of your trip now, and you don’t have to look for them once you arrive. A tour might seem old-fashioned, but there really is no better way to see the important sites and historical places in a country than on a tour. They will give you interesting information about the sites that you wouldn’t otherwise get. When you book a tour, jot down any information about it in the itinerary. Include the tour group’s name, location, tour date and time, the meeting and ending point, and how much you paid for the tickets.
Information on Your Home Country
File this under “information you hope you don’t need” while on your trip. But having it will save you a lot of hassle and grief if you do need it. Include the addresses and phone numbers of your home country’s embassy, consulate, or state department. If you need to contact any of these entities, it means something has gone wrong and you need their help. You don’t want to search for this information if you need it; you always want it accessible. If you are traveling to more than one country, then include the names and numbers for every official home entity in every country you will visit.
Current and Past Health Information
Before embarking on your trip, you should consult your doctor or the Centers for Disease Control for information on what vaccines you need. Different parts of the world have different diseases that we haven’t built up immunities to. If you or someone you are traveling with has recently been sick or is prone to illness, write down the names and addresses of the local hospitals. Write down any pertinent medical information, like medications and current illnesses in the primary language of the country you are visiting. In the event of a medical emergency, you can hand over that information to the doctors, which will enable them to help you.