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Hello. Itinerary organization?

This is not a transportation question, but I didn't see a category, and haven't run across any reading on this: How to organize my itinerary for Italy? 16 days, Solo travel, older female.
I've written each day on a separate page in a wired notebook by "Day Number, date, location, activities, with attached appropriate pre-purchased paper tickets, needed train schedules. For example when I take the train to Naples, I have the Date, Day number, heading of" Arezzo to Naples"., train numbers, departure and arrival times, assigned seats, with paper ticket attached and (a back-up eticket.) Also included a list of things to get at the Napoli train station, what metro line to take to hotel, where to find taxi stand, address and tele number of hotel, and paper hotel reservation confirmation. And a loose agenda of other activities that day.

Is there a better way?
How do you organize your agenda?

Posted by
7790 posts

Great question! I'm sure you'll get a lot of answers!

I use Googledocs and make a table with Date/Activity/Transportation/Hotel headers for the columns and then give myself a row for each date. If I’ve got too much info for one line, of course the document automatically expands. This way I've got an outline of what's going on for each day of my trip. I add in confirmation numbers and times for air/train/hotels plus daily activities.

I have tickets online/on an app if available (usually train tickets) but have back ups printed out. I put the tickets into sheet protectors and put them in a Plastic file envelope. I have a small plastic envelope that I can put in my purse for single train tickets or my airline fight.

I put any transport notes (Metro line etc) for activities or transit in the outline.

I save the googledocs to be read offline and can access it on my phone or iPad Mini. I usually print out a copy as well and put it in the plastic file envelope.

At the end of the table I'll add text for restaurants in various cities.

I've got a 31 day trip coming up and things are shaping up!

Posted by
49 posts

I like to use Kayak, free version. has a spot to add all the stuff by date and time under "Trips".

Posted by
2351 posts

Physically organize your information? I think there are about as many ways to do it as there are travelers! The only essential thing is to have the information backed up somewhere in case you loose one copy.

I like mine electronic. My approach is scattershot (read: chaotic!) and probably no one else will want to use the same system but it works for me! It includes

-a simple text document with a very basic outline (arrive here on train 123 at 12, stay at hotel name and address, plan to do x, y, z on this day)
-all confirmations for anything - hotels, rental cars, tours, trains, flights...saved as PDFs to my phone, kindle, and google (so I can access them from a public computer if I loose all my personal electronics). Confirmations generally come as emails, so are also in a special folder in my email. However, having them downloaded as PDFs is more accessible.
-the few physical papers I need (generally tickets for things with no e-ticket option) inside a sheet protector and folder in my suitcase so they don't get lost
-an offline map I make with places of interest (hotel, restaurants, sights) marked by color coded pins. So I can be walking around and see what is nearby, and read my own note of why I marked it (award winning pastries in a cafe, famous altarpiece in a church) and the hours. Practical stuff is marked here, too (like bus stations, taxi stands, parking lots, grocery stores).

Posted by
5395 posts

Tripit -- I forward all hotel, plane and train confirmations and Tripit picks up address, confirmation number, time, price without my typing anything. Timeline format.
I can also manually put in possibilities for each location. And it also updates on my husband's phone every time I make a change.

Posted by
3283 posts

I guess I'm not much of a techie. I have a system of ziplocks that I love. I have a "general" bag with a reference list of foods/wines/beverages to try, common words and phrases, and "cheat sheets" (e.g. for Italy, I have a timeline, chronological list of emperors and very brief outline of art history) and any tickets. Then I have a bag per city. In those bags, I have just the pages of guidebooks I plan on using including walking tours and a summary page. The summary page has the hotel name, and address, price and what is included and a confirmation #. It contains the plan for getting to and leaving the city (train or bus or car, times, etc. and any warnings like fewer trains on Sundays or in Italy validate local train tix) It has a prioritized list of the "attractions" I'd like to see and any important info like longer/shorter hours, and closed days. It also has a short list of restaurants that I've vetted thru this forum, tripadvisor, and guides. I will add a "grocery list" to the city bag where applicable. For the second day of our upcoming trip we have a five hour scenic train ride. So I've made a list of supplies for our "picnic" that we will gather at the Coop in Chur the night before.

When I'm out and about, I'll typically carry the "general bag" and the applicable city bag. I toss my pages in recycling or give to the inn keeper for other guests when I live the city.

I actually never have a day by day, hour by hour itinerary except in situations where I've had to prepurchase tickets. I use my list and when I get up, I choose based on weather and other factors. I usually will start the day with the more time consuming activities and then will add in additional items as the day goes on. If I have all outlined in advance, when I've finished at a museum or other, I see what time I have left, check my summary page and can easily move on to something else, or find myself a table and a glass of wine! This way, I am more flexible in case there is something we really like and spend more time than my estimate or something that ends up to be quicker.

Posted by
1600 posts

I use the (free) OneNote app which syncs across my devices. I create an electronic section for each destination with a page for my rough itinerary and pages for each hotel, sight, activity, transit, restaurant.

I put details I've gathered from various websites into the pages: hours, cost, website URLs, snippets of maps. It becomes the electronic guidebook for my trip, supplementing the sections I bring from my physical guidebooks.

Posted by
270 posts

I'm with Mira --- electronic and a bit scattershot.

I usually start out with an electronic notepad where I collect random notes about places I might be interested in seeing, along with early notes about possible options for hotels and transportation, things to pack, what to wear, and travel tips. Everything is pretty freeform at this stage. Bear (on a Mac) is my favorite because it syncs with all my devices, and I can add keywords to help keep things organized.

When I get down to the details of what I am planning to see on a particular day, I often pin a bunch of possibilities in Google Maps and then look for where things cluster.

As things begin to take shape, anything with dates or numbers will wind up in a spreadsheet. For each day, I have a column for the location, lodging, costs, and such. Sometimes I have columns about driving or walking distances, too. This eventually becomes my itinerary.

Oh yeah, I also keep a project going in Omnifocus with deadlines and To Do items.

Any official correspondence --- flight information, hotel reservations, etc. --- winds up in a Dropbox folder, often with a summary in Bear. I usually print out the really critical stuff, like hotel reservations and boarding passes, and tuck it somewhere close to my passport, just in case apps or electronic systems don't work.

Before I leave for a trip, I print out a one page list of dates, cities and hotels (including phone numbers) along with my contact information. I usually give one copy to my emergency contact and another to the dog sitter. I scatter several copies in my luggage --- one in the outside pocket and one on top of my clothes.

Posted by
580 posts

I prefer paper for organizing my trip, the batteries never run out at an inopportune time and I don't need to fish thru my luggage to bring out electronic devices I'd prefer to keep safely packed away. That said, paper can get lost. I send a copy of my notes, reservations, etc. to a throwaway hotmail account as a backup.

Posted by
5934 posts

TripIt! I can’t imagine traveling without it. Everything in one App, easy to find. It sends alerts about flights. I upgraded to TripIt Pro to get even more benefits. One time it said my flight was canceled even though the gate agent hadn’t told us. Using immediately I was able to secure one of the few hotel rooms at the airport left before the airline announced the cancellation.

Posted by
3098 posts

I like a system I can either insert pages, rearrange or have pockets that contain the relevant print outs. It is a 6 or 9 pocket polyvynal organizer. Full 8.5 x 11. I am limited to the amount of 'stuff' I can fit in, which I consider a good thing. I tend to go by cities than daily, but have a daily list included. I spend a lot of time planning before travel, but am not organized to the hour or even the day, so it supports my flexibility. I sometimes have notes in one long document I have either hand written or printed out. Sometimes I have an RS country book and I cut it up into cities and add relevant post its for all the places I want to see that he doesn't consider worthy.
I am using paper less and less, so that my 'must carry' holder may just be a polyvinyl string tie envelop or gallon size ziplock. I still like paper maps, but want to become more comfortable with offline google maps. I just need to try it.
I don't rewrite stuff like train numbers or times if it is already printed on an eticket....

Posted by
104 posts

Jules M, I'm not much of a techie, either. So I like your approach. That being said, I have plenty of time to check out all the great apps suggested, and hone my tech skills.

Never heard of Bear for Mac, can I use it on my iPhone?
Thank you everyone for your wonderful suggestions. I am definitely going to add them to my planning approach.


Posted by
3283 posts

I do use technology some. I love for navigation. I have all my credit cards, ID, ATM card passport scanned and in my email as well as in photos on my phone. All the emails that are hotel confirmations, train tix and prepurchased site tickets are on my phone. I usually email them all again to myself so they end up all in one "chunk" in my in box. I have used trip it, but found that typically only half of my hotels would end up there.

I do like my hard copy approach because there are times my phone doesn't last thru the day, and my husband and I find it easier to glance at paper copies. I do all the planning so with paper copies, I can have him look at a restaurant list, a walking tour or whatever and then he is not scrolling thru my phone. And he is very much NOT a technie so when I hand him my phone I usually have to guide him thru it. He is a brilliant man and still under 60 (just barely) but iphones are not something he has a grasp of. Probably due to lack of interest!

I do wish RS and other guides would make an electronic copy available at a cheaper price for people that buy the regular copy. I prefer reading a book for trip prep, but it would be nice to have an electronic copy when traveling.

Posted by
3503 posts

I just returned from France today and reading a few posts to try to stay awake for another couple of hours.

I have one spreadsheet that contains the entire summary with these columns:
Town, Date & Day of Week, Lodging, Address, Payment Info, Room Type, Activities, Evening Activity, Charges
For Lodging, I note in red "NO cancel" if I booked something with no cancellation. For payment info, I note if I've already paid (& highlight in green). The Charges column I added last year to have the specific info of which credit card I used & date it was paid.
I put one copy of this in my itinerary zipper packet and one folded up in an inner pocket of my daypack.

For train tickets that I buy ahead of time, I print them at home and also make a pdf of the ticket which I save as a photo on the iCloud in "France Train Tickets", for instance. I also have an iCloud named "France Maps" for map photos of how to get to my hotel from the train station. I like to have two methods to obtain info when traveling solo, so my iCloud is the backup plan.

One thing that helped with the train tickets is that I wrote ahead of time in large print on the train ticket - the Train #, Car #, Seat #, Time of Departure & Time of Arrival. After needing to pull out my reading glasses for the first ticket, I decided to make it easier to read!

For your separate pages, you might enjoy noting on them during your trip any extra activities or how much you spent that day, etc. for a nice summary when you're back home. Have a great time!