How to Plan a Holiday Into Your Trip Itinerary

How to Plan a Holiday Into Your Trip Itinerary

What is the measure of a great holiday?  Is it the amazing attractions you have seen, that feeling of enjoyment, of exploring, having a great time and feeling relaxed ?  How often have you been on a trip where the things you remember are how you were tired, the arguments you had and how sore your feet were?

I was recently talking with a work colleague who had just returned from a long planned seven week holiday to Europe.  I felt sad when he commented that by about the 5-6 week point he was exhausted from travelling and ready to come home.

How to Plan a Holiday Into Your Trip Itinerary

Plan Weekly Rest Days into Your Trip Itinerary

The discussion reminded me that a really fundamental principle of planning a trip itinerary is to also plan one to two rest days into every week of the trip.  Rest days are where you have allowed time to just sleep in, read a book, relax at a café or watch TV etc, and don’t feel compelled that you HAVE to be out and about exploring.  And I guess that is where my colleague probably set himself up to enjoy his holiday less than he expected.

When you usually only travel for a short time period (1-2 weeks), you don’t usually factor in rest days because you can usually get through on sheer energy, but how many people have done a short trip and come home exhausted and need another holiday to recover?  Everyone will enjoy both short and long trips if they also plan some rest days into the itinerary.

If you are travelling with children or seniors you should plan to have at least two rest days in each week that you are on holiday.

Plan Regular Rest Weeks into Your Trip Itinerary

If you are going on a longer trip you should also plan to have a full week break after each four weeks of travelling.  Pick somewhere relaxing and just put your feet up, go for some swims and walks that don’t require more than a 30 minute drive or short train or bus trip.  If you are travelling with children or seniors plan for a full week rest after each 2-3 weeks of travelling, of alternatively plan half week rest periods every two weeks.

Why I Am Revising My Itinerary

I have been working on a trip itinerary for a family holiday the USA and Canada we plan to do in a few years and after the discussion with my colleague I had another look at it and realised that I had forgotten the rest days!

After considering the inclusion of rest days I have now revised the original seven week trip plan and turned it into two separate trip itineraries of five weeks each.

We will probably only be able to afford to do one of the trips with our children, but my preference is to set things up correctly when I plan the trip so that we have a decent chance of enjoying our trip together and coming home feeling refreshed and closer as a family.

And you should too…

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4 Comments

  • That’s SUCH good advice, Anne! If the idea of a ‘rest day’ doesn’t appeal, at alternating high energy days with days containing lower energy activities might also help!

    • Red, than you for your comment. I also agree with the alternating days, but you can still get exhausted with that approach so I believe it is better to plan days where you can comfortably take the option to just relax and not feel like you have to rush out the door, or plan half days where you do something in the morning, afternoon or evening and rest is up to you.

  • Yes, an excellent idea. Though it can be hard when hiring a vehicle – if you’re paying for the transport, and time is limited, it’s easy to feel some obligation to be using it all the time. Rest days really do need to be planned in advance, to overcome the natural tendency to squeeze in as much as possible.

    I managed it once on a five week car hire in NZ – had the occasional car-free day so that I could use my legs more and linger somewhere. It took a bit of planning, but the change of pace was very welcome and improved the trip.

    • Graham, I agree that there is a real ‘FOMO’ issue with travel (Fear Of Missing Out) – you pay a lot of money to go somewhere and you feel compelled to wring every possible experience out of the trip and get value for money. But taking that approach leads to a less enjoyable trip so it is better to decide to compromise early and include the rest days, and that provides opportunity to further compromise or realise that your plan was about right for the time you had available.

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