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6 Steps To Build The Best Travel Itinerary For Your Holiday

6 Steps To Build The Best Travel Itinerary For Your Holiday

Building an itinerary for your holiday can be an intimidating experience. Do you set up a budget and work backwards on the places you can afford to see? Or do you prepare a comprehensive list of things to do and try doing them all during your holiday? The right answer to these questions depends on what you want your holiday to be. Some travelers prefer a relaxed holiday and are okay with compromising on the list of things to do, while others want to soak up everything on offer during their holiday.

Prepare a Comprehensive Attractions List

Forget your budget or duration of stay. The first thing to do is to prepare a comprehensive list of things to see and do at your holiday destination. This should include everything right from the local attractions to the restaurants you want to try. Do not try to filter out anything at this point. The objective is to prepare a master list of things you want to do at your destination. If you are planning to visit more than one city for your holiday, prepare multiple lists of attractions.

Pin These Attractions On A Map

Once you have a comprehensive list of things to do and see in a city, put these attractions on a map. This way, you will be able to identify the geographic proximity of these various attractions and create a cluster of items that you could enjoy in a day’s outing. For instance, from the map below, it is evident that a visitor to Sydney could explore the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge together before traveling to Bondi beach.

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Pin attractions on a map

    Google MyMaps is the most popular way to locate the various attractions on a map. There are other tools like MapCustomizer that provide bulk-entry options to input all your places to see all at once.

    Group Attractions Into Clusters

    Now that you have a good idea of where the various attractions are located, the next step is to prepare a spreadsheet where you can list down these various attractions in groups. The objective of this step is to see how you can reorder the various attractions in order to fit them within a day or two of your itinerary. In the Sydney itinerary above, you may find that the Sea Aquarium is open in the afternoon but the Harbour Bridge Climb does not happen until evening. Knowing this, you may reorder the listings within a group to chart the things to do from morning until evening on a given day.

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    There are some things to consider here. There may be instances where you may not be able to fit all the attractions in a group within a day. You may now decide whether to spend an extra day at the same place in order to see everything or if you could skip some attractions. Other times, you may also find that all the attractions in a group can be covered in just half a day. In this case, you can merge this group with another that may be covered within a single day.

    Estimate Costs Of Each Item In The List

    You may skip this step if you are not a budget-conscious traveler. However, if you do not want to overspend, the next step is to estimate how much you could be spending at each place. Add a new column in your spreadsheet and enter an estimated expense against each of these attractions. This could include entry fee, transport fares, as well as food, if you want to be really precise with your budget estimation. Your spreadsheet now looks something like this.

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    spreadsheet1

      Carry out this process for all the planned destinations on your holiday. This way, you will be able to get a gross estimate of how much you could be spending in all. If this gross estimate is higher than your planned budget, you might look at removing or replacing items in your itinerary with alternate attractions from the same geographical cluster. One rule of thumb is to remember that your actual expenses are always likely to be higher than your estimate.

      Prepare a Draft Itinerary

      You now have a complete list of places to visit and the number of days you will spend in each city on your holiday list. The next step is to prepare a draft itinerary to capture all your activities from the date of departure till you come back home. You could make use of Google Sheets or cloud-based apps like GrowRadius to flush out all the necessary details regarding your travel plans in one document. The benefit of using dedicated itinerary planner tools is that it is easy to share your itinerary with friends and family, collaborate with the people you are traveling with, as well as get anonymous feedback from strangers on the internet. Make sure that you take into account everything while deciding on the number of things to do in a day. This includes flight travel time, layovers, time for lunch/dinners, commuting to and from the hotel, etc.

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      Prepare draft itinerary

        Collaborate & Finalize

        Once your draft itinerary is ready, you need to do two things before finalizing your plans. The first is to share it with the people you are traveling with to get their opinions. You may also share it with traveler communities online to get feedback on your itinerary as well as to make sure that you haven’t missed out on any must-dos at your holiday destination. The second thing to do is to estimate your expenses for various alternatives. For instance, if your itinerary includes a week each in Sydney and Melbourne, you could decide the landing destination and where you will depart from based on your flight ticket prices.

        Once you have aggregated feedback from everyone and have double-checked the budget estimates, you may draw up the final itinerary. Following the steps above should ensure that you not only explore all the must-see places in your holiday destination, but that you are also able to do it within your planned budget.

        Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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        Anand Srinivasan

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        Last Updated on October 23, 2018

        Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

        Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

        My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

        Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

        The Neural Knitwork Project

        In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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        While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

        The knitting and neural connection

        The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

        More mental health benefits from knitting

        Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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        “You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

        Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

        Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

        She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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        “People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

        The dopamine effect on our happiness

        Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

        There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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        “Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

        If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

        Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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