Currently I am planning my itinerary for Chicago and I want to share my tips and advice on how to plan for a trip and make the perfect itinerary before you leave so that you can maximize your time in the city. Since I am going to Chicago, I will be using it as an example here, So Here’s what I do:
- Google The Images : So first and foremost I like to google the place that I am going to. I would type the name of the city in google and then click on the images option on top and see the photos of the city and if I like a photo I click on it and see where is the picture taken in the description box and make a side note of it . So that way I know what I like visually and want to visit.Google Images
- Make a list of things to do in Chicago: The simplest and easiest thing is to google the list of Things to do in the city and also Top things to see in the city. Now after noting down the top things on the list, I google each thing separately and read about it in detail or see the photos and determine weather it is of my interest. You can read the reviews of any place on Trip Advisor or any other blogs, there is so much content to read on the internet. After the research, I shortlist the places I want to see and things I want to do.Source: google
- Book your hotel : Once I have established the places I want to visit, I research about the hotels in the proximity of these areas/ closer to the centre so that I am closer to the desired spots/areas and don’t have to travel for long to get there. I like to use Expedia, Kayak, Priceline, Trivago, Booking.com, Hotels.com for my bookings. You can select the exact area you want to stay in and find numerous options in your price range on these websites.Source: Expedia
- Look at other visitors Itineraries: Since I am visiting Chicago for only 2 Days, I too a look at the Itineraries of other visitors and read about what they did on their 2 day trip so that I can establish what are the must sees on my list. By now I have a clear idea of the must sees in Chicago and so I make my own list of things to see in chicago. Source: Google
- Watch Vlogs : Watching Chicago Travel Vlogs and videos on youtube gave me tons of advice on how to travel in Chicago, what places to eat at and which areas to walk in. Watching Vlogs can help you with your itinerary more clearly.
- Mapping it all out : This is the most crucial step for me, once I have determined and established which places I want to visit in a city, I open google maps and type the name of my hotel first and then I use the add location button to add my points of interest. For example, If I am staying at the Fairmont Millennium Park, chicago, I will write that in the google maps and then I will add Cloud Gate as my second item on the map, John Hancock Tower as the third and so on and so forth. I will keep adding all my points of interest and you will notice that in the maps the directions keep adding to these points. Now as my final step I will start moving the order of these interests so that I know what will I begin and end with and which areas to visit first and last . This way I will know all the points of interest are in which area so that when I go there I can cover them all in one shot and don’t have to come back for the rest. This is the most important step in my planning because this helps you save a lot of time. Once you have it all planned, go ahead and take a screen shot of this page. Click command+shift+3 on your Mac to take the screenshot and it will be saved on your desktop. Go ahead and print this or send it your email and save it on your phone for reference.
- Word Document : Write down the desired Itinerary based on this map and the timing of your arrival and departure in a word document and print it! You’re all set to go on your Trip!