Monday, August 15, 2011

Tips for travel planning: My Tasmania workings

Ann from Likes to Write asked me a very good question recently: have I ever written a post about planning a trip? She was looking for tips as she plans a European holiday and since I'm just in the process of planning my (smaller!) trip to Tasmania, I realised I did have some tips to share - so here they are, Ann!

First up, for me the most important thing is that planning a trip should be fun. It shouldn't feel like hard work, because what's the point of doing hard work related to a holiday? This means I always put aside some special time to do trip planning when I know I can enjoy it - mostly with a glass of wine in front of my computer when I don't have any other pressures.

Once I get there, I make drawings like this. (Warning: I am not an artist).

My first scribbles on our Tasmanian trip
I like to start with a really rough idea of an itinerary and then get more detailed. This depends, of course, on how much I'm booking in advance - in my old pre-child backpacking days I would plan a lot less and really just take things a day or a week at a time, but with the small boy in tow things are a little different, and I'm booking all our Tasmanian accommodation in advance.

So after assembling some ideas on where to visit (via Google and tips from readers) I scribbled some of my destination ideas into my very rough map and used Google Maps (how did I plan trips without it?!) to get the driving distances. This was important this time round since the boy is of an age where sitting in the car for too long is not on his list of favourite activities. So this step got me figuring out what was possible and of course, then I started prioritising what we might like to do - taking into account my husband's preference for "lots of nature and no cities", along with nap times (probably of the small boy but perhaps of the husband too!).

Doesn't look like Tasmania any more? But it is!
With an itinerary thus planned (and eliminating several ideas using the "less is more" travel principle I ascribe to!) I looked into options for booking accommodation. Usually I like to book directly with the accommodation provider but I'd also got a quote from a local agent and when I compared the costs they came out very favourably (the same, in fact), and with a lot less hassle, so I got them to do the dirty work. And thank goodness for Google because it sure beats trying to figure it out from a guide book which is probably way out of date by the time you land in your destination.

As for the day-to-day activities of my trip, I prefer to use an "informed spontaneous" approach. In other words, I read a lot ahead of time about the kinds of activities available - hikes, museums, wineries, beaches, and so on - and then once we arrive, see what takes our fancy. Long gone are the days when I tried to see everything in a place in fear that I might miss the best thing and never be able to come back. I've noticed I enjoy travelling no matter what I decide to do or see. And I also enjoying planning my travels.

What are your travel planning trips? Please add them below to help me, and to help Ann!


  1. Hi Amanda.

    Thanks for this - some great ideas. I must get a better handle on Google maps, as others have also mentioned them. Happy planning!


  2. You're welcome, Ann! Yes, Google maps is terrific for travel planning - even if you're not driving it is so easy to check distances between cities to help you decide on a suitable itinerary. And if you *are* driving then it's fantastic.

  3. A travel plan is a package of actions designed by a workplace, school or other organization to encourage safe, healthy and sustainable travel options. For ant trip planning is the key factor to make your trip memorable.


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