How I Create Itineraries For Europe - Tay Meets World

How I Create Itineraries For Europe

6:00:00 AM

I hear too often that so many people want to travel to Europe, but they just don't have the time to plan the itinerary. I can attest to this - I think planning (and planning it well) a trip overseas can take some time.  If you are going over for the first time, start small. OR tag along with someone that has been before that can easily put together an itinerary. Otherwise, plan to carve time after work or on the weekends to work on a rough itinerary. I wanted to share how I piece together an itinerary for trips, I believe that trips like such, are those "once in a lifetime" opportunities so I like to take in all that I can see and do and make the most of every trip.

Why do you need an itinerary? 

  • There is so much to see and do in Europe. I firmly believe that if you go, you cannot simply "wing" it because you won't get your money's worth. For example, in Paris alone, there are 130 museums. You many not be a museum goer, or you may be! That's a lot of museums to choose from, so knowing what you want to see ahead of time (and purchasing tickets) will save you so much time. 
Where To Start? 
  • You need to start by compiling your travel schedule. If you are planning more than one city, map out how many days you will have in each place. That will help you fill in activities for each day. For the sake of this post, let's just say you are going to Paris for 4 days. 
Pro Tip: The key to a good itinerary is too plan activities that are slotted for a particular time as well as activities that can be removed or moved if necessary. 
Creating The Itinerary: 
  1. Research. Where do you want to go? What do you want to see? I prefer blogs when planning traveling because the real experiences I can relate better too. I am picky when it comes to blogs though - I prefer itineraries that offer the most information and are not just copied and pasted together. Here are my previous Paris travel guides, here & here, that you will love!
  2. Make a list of the major attractions you want to see, your must-do activities, and place you must-eat at. 
  3. Looking at this list, separate particular attractions/activities/restaurants into sub-categories that are all in the same general area or walking distance. 
  4. If you have certain days that have more or less - that's okay! We would pack a day full and the next would be lighter giving us more time to wander and take our time. I prefer a mix of both as by day three I'm solely running on café au lait and baguettes. If you prefer jam-packed days then search for what else there is to do in that particular area. 
  5. Map out from where you are staying what are the best means of transportation or metro stops that you will use (this will honestly just save you time when you are there as it will just make more sense when you are there too). 
  6. Purchase tickets ahead of time for what you can. I cannot stress this enough. Any major attraction like monuments or museums or shows, we would purchase tickets in the US. I printed them all out and downloaded to my phone (save in your Google Drive) and organized by day. We were able to skip every single line with pre-purchased tickets, it's such a time saver!
Example: I love visiting the Arc de Triomphe right away in the morning when it opens. BUY TICKETS AHEAD OF TIME. You will skip the entire line - it's seriously a saving grace. We arrive at the Arc around 8/9am and take about an hour -1.5 hours visiting the monument. 
After the Arc De Triomphe, we wonder down Avenue des champs-élysées, our next "planned" activity is not until after lunch so we walk around until we are hungry. I also search for food places in the area we are and we decide on what we are hungry for (typically in Paris, it's always a baguette sandwich 😂).  
Here is an example of my "rough" itinerary:
This day was not as packed, we only had one attraction that we purchased tickets for and could just explore the rest fo the day once we got to the Montmartre area. The day before however, we had the Eiffel Tower, multiple museums, etc. so we enjoyed a day of "wandering." 

One thing to remember, no itinerary is the right itinerary. You have the option to customize however you'd like. I research and read blogs before I go and save all that I can in my google drive app on my phone. This will help you immensely when you are there! 

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