When planning a trip, I'm a huge fan of having a healthy balance of having a schedule and deciding on a whim. I like to have a list of things I want to do and see, and restaurants/bars I want to try. I plan those with the help of Pinterest. After I'm done researching what I want to do, I like to find the geographic location of each place to get a sense of where I'm going. I'm really good with geography and maps, so seeing a destination in the context of a map helps me tremendously whenever I go to a new city. Once I see the map, I can almost memorize where in relation I am to places on the map at all time.
Just a reminder, this is what works well for me. Each person travels completely different, so definitely do what works best for you.
The first thing I do, is locate my hotel on Google Maps. This is a great place to anchor yourself, as you're going to have to leave there every morning, and come back there every night. Once this is done, zoom out a bit, then screenshot the map. Print it out, and you're ready to start!
One place at a time, go through your new Pinterest pins on your new travel board, and find where each place is on the map. To make things easier, I put attractions in black ink, and restaurants in blue ink. I numbered where approximately they were on the map, and then wrote the name at the bottom of the map, like a map legend. The pink dot in the middle is my hotel.
Once I can see where every attraction and restaurant is physically on the map, it's easier for me to group things together based on their geography. It's also helpful to see how far away things are either by walking or mass transport. If you search up Directions on Google Maps, you can figure out how long it will take you to travel to each destination. For example, my hotel is about a 30-45 minute walk to #1. Based on this, I could maybe do #4 and #1 in the morning, and then #3 on my way back home. I could then do #2 on a separate day.
I try not to over plan each day, as I want to leave room for anything spontaneous that may come up.
For trips that are 3 days or less, I find this approach super helpful. You can totally mix and match what activities you want to do, but seeing it physically laid out helps. It allows me to see and do everything I wanted, and make the most out my trip as possible.
How do you plan for your trips? Share in the comments!