I often have a problem when I plan trips that are more than just a weekend break. There is simply such a wide variety and number of activities to fit in and I’m stumped with regards to how close these attractions are to each other, when they are open, how much they cost and so on. I’m sure you’ve been similarly hassled, wondering whether you should simply hire a trip planner or find an app that will take care of your trip plan. But why should you pay for something that’s so easily done with a simple travel grid?
That’s right. Recently, I have discovered travel grids as an efficient and quick way to plan my trips. All it requires is some preliminary research and then you simply let the travel grid do the structuring for you. Here is a sample grid for my upcoming trip to Singapore:
|Morning||Arrival||Botanical Gardens||Little India||Southern Ridges Walk||Gardens by the Bay|
|Afternoon||Nearby exploration||China Town||Jurong Bird Park||TreeTop Walk||Shopping at Orchard Road|
|Evening||Marina Bay||Singapore Night Festival||Singapore Night Festival||Sentosa Island||Departure|
Simple, right? The second I divide my trip into different days as well as chunks of time, I can figure out exactly how many activities I can fit into my trip and where I should slot them. This is a grid for a four nights and five days trip. If I had asked you offhand, how much one could accomplish in that much time, what would your answer be? I would be stumped for sure. I would have reckoned – maybe 10. I would’ve never been able to able to pinpoint an exact figure, which in this case is 13.
I find that we often under or overestimate the time we have at hand. When I visited Manali earlier this year, I prepared a list that turned out to be way too long – I didn’t even cover half of it in a three day trip. I found that I had mentally forgotten about the time it takes to arrive and depart from a destination. But with a travel grid, that will never happen. You will know exactly how much time you have on hand.
Here is a step by step guide to planning your trip with a travel grid:
1. How many days is your trip for? Count the number and insert a table with columns that number one more than that. So if it’s a five day trip, add six columns to your table.
2. Add four rows to your table.
3. Leave the first row empty. Fill in ‘morning’, ‘afternoon’ and ‘evening’ in the remaining three rows.
4. Add more rows with more time slots if you like.
5. Do your research. Shortlist all the different activities that you’d like to do.
6. Fill in the time slots that will be spent in arrival and departure.
7. In the remaining slots, begin to fill in the activities depending on what time of the day they are best suited for. For instance, you’d go hiking in the morning and see urban delights in the night.
8. Start filling your top priority activities first and work your way to the ones that aren’t so attractive.
9. In the slots close to your arrival and departure slots, fill in activities that are close to your hotel or airport and easily accomplished.
10. In the travel grid, you can also jot down details about address, entry fee and opening and closing times next to each activity. Take a printout or keep it handy on your phone and you’ve turned into your very own trip planner!
And if you need more assistance, leave me a comment. But with this method, one thing’s for sure. You’ll never have to knock on anyone’s door saying, ‘Please plan my trip!’