An itinerary is a form of travel document in which records what you plan to do during a journey in detail. It may include the time of scheduled events and possible places and landmarks that you may want to visit. I make my own form of an itinerary for each holiday that I go on, which is made months in advance, which lists all of the places I want to visit as well as information regarding my accommodation, flights, plan for each day, information regarding the transfers to and from the airport while abroad as well as information on how I’ll get to the airport from my house. This is essential in making sure that I see everything I’ve planned and making sure that I’ve gotten the most out of my holiday. A lot of time and research goes into making an itinerary such as researching a place, looking at the cost of it as well as the time it would take for me to get there from my accommodation and the time it would take to explore it. These itineraries are printed out and given to each member of the party travelling with me. Additional copies are made which are left inside of my accommodation as well as a copy given to my parents. An itinerary may also help if I went missing since I would’ve left information regarding my whereabouts and a rough time as to when I should be returning.
Making an Itinerary
On my itinerary the departing time and date of the flights I’ll be taking is noted down and the terminal and airport it’ll be departing from. Extra information I add onto my itinerary is the time that we’ll be landing, so I can plan my transfers to my hotel around it as well as seeing what I can do that day as it all depends on when I’m able to get to my hotel to drop my bags off so I can then go out. This information can all be found on the booking confirmation sent to your email when you book your flights, with the time check in closes and your seat numbers (if you have pre-booked them). I also include the flight number on my itinerary so if needed I could easily state what flight I’m on as well as easily recognizing where my flight is on the departure board. Through my chosen airlines website I’m able to put in my flight number and be sent an email when the gate number is released, leaving me time to relax and wander around the airport.
An important feature of an itinerary, which many people forget to list, is the hotel they’re staying at. I firstly list the full name of the hotel since many hotels go under the same name but in different locations such as Aparthotel in Spain. Then I list the address since I may need to show to a taxi driver if they cannot understand what I’m trying to say as well as making sure that we don’t get lost (thus saving me from being heavily overcharged). The phone number of the hotel is included on my itinerary since it’s useful to have if I need to notify them that I may be checking in late or if there is any problems. When writing down the phone number make sure to include the country code, for Spain it’s +34 whereas for Portugal it’s +351. Additional information I include is the check in and check out time of the hotel I’m staying at, which can be found on sites such as Booking.com as well as the website of the hotel. In some instances some hotels are very particular about the times guests can check out of the hotel, with a late check out being chargeable, something every traveler wants to avoid just before they leave to come back home. This information allows me to plan any activities around these times, for instance my check out time for my hotel in Amsterdam is 11am which allows me a few hours to do any activities beforehand. I researched museums and landmarks close to my hotel and booked up the Van Gogh Museum for 9am. I’ve planned out that I’ll be able to get breakfast, walk to the museum and then at 9am have two hours to walk around and explore it. Then I’ve allowed myself an hour to walk back to my hotel to then get everything together and check out, with time to spare.
The plan for a holiday is essential: what you’ll be doing and what you’ll be seeing. For each day I listed the landmarks, museums I wanted to visit and anything else that I had wanted to do for that day. I would then write down the time I wanted to visit, either an estimate or a definitive time through booking an allocated time slot (such as visiting the Van Gogh Museum at 9am on the dot). I will then go even further to list if this attraction is free, if it’s been booked and fully paid or whether I need to book it in person. This gives me an idea of how much money I would need to take with me since if all my attractions have been booked then I would only need spending money whereas if nothing has been booked then I would need money for entrance fees plus spending money on top of that. My itinerary includes printed out versions of confirmations for both the attractions I’ve booked, most of which include my ticket. As much as I praise technology, knowing my luck my phone would probably end up dying the moment I need to show my ticket at the entrance, so it’s better to be safe than sorry by having a digital and a physical version of your ticket. Another bonus to printing out the tickets is that most of them feature a map which guides you towards the attraction, so if your phone does die and you can’t use a digital form of maps then you always have the good old fashioned way of navigating around.
If I do decide to get a private transfer from my airport to the hotel, then I’ll list the information regarding the time I’ll be picked up as well as the place I’m being picked up from. This being easy to read when I get to my destination rather than searching frantically through my emails to try and find the confirmation. Then I’ll do the same for my return journey by marking down the time that I’m being picked up from my hotel. When booking I already have a rough idea of the time I wanted to fly, by taking into consideration what time my flight would land, the time it would take to get from the airport to my hotel and the hotel check in time. For example if my flight landed at 12:45pm and it took me around 30 minutes to get through customs and immigration as well as then taking me another 30-45 minutes to transfer then I’ll be just in time for 2pm (most times that hotels allow you to check in).
The main form of transport in which I use to get to and from the airport is a train that runs through London Bridge to Brighton, which stops at Gatwick Airport (where most of the flights I’ve booked are departing). The journey takes around 30 minutes, making it a convenient way to get to and from the airport cheaply (a return ticket which is anytime of the day costs me around £15-20 as I get additional discount from my 16-25 Railcard). By listing what form of transport I’m going to use, it reminds me to bring my tickets with me as before my holiday I usually look at my itinerary. By doing this I’m able to check that I have any tickets for any attractions that I’ve booked up with me as well as making sure I have supporting documents for my train tickets and transfers.
My Itinerary from Barcelona.
Learning a new language is a skill many people try to master for various reasons: they're moving to the country in which this language is spoken, providing an edge when applying for a job as well as improving memory and communication skills. I've been recently trying to learn Spanish, a language that is deemed one of the quickest and easiest to learn, since it's the second most common language spoke after English. I've been trying to learn Spanish for years but lost interest as well as not having any time while studying for exams when in secondary school and college. Since I'm now working I have some days free during the week which I now dedicate a few hours from to learn Spanish. Learning Spanish is so much easier when using apps, textbooks don't appeal to me since they're limited in the sense that they usually only focus on certain words such as verbs, nouns, adjectives, phrases or objects. The apps I downloaded alongside with a note pad allow me to learn the word verbally and then learn them by memory by writing them down. By writing down what words I learn this allows me to go back and improve on certain words and phrases I don't understand. I've only been learning Spanish for around a month but I can confidently say that I've mastered the basics.
Price: Free (There's a subscription service for £8.99 per month which allows the user to have no adverts featured as well as receiving a premium service by downloading lessons for offline use)
Duolingo, being one of the most popular apps to learn a new language, is currently used by 200 million users who have access to 30 languages. This app focuses on basic vocabulary then moving towards sentences as well as improving on grammar. This style of language learning is simple but effective as it uses a colourful style of visual learning by using pictures and colours to help the user remember certain words and phrases from this. Duolingo also expands into different sections within the app which focus on reading, writing and speaking which is done through listening and then having conversations back with the Duolingo bot. These conversations will help in real life situations as they include learning how to hail a taxi as well as learning how to order different meals in a restaurant. This saving the hassle and embarrassment of not feeling confident when actually speaking to someone in the language you're learning. My favourite feature of the app is that it focuses on weak words (words you might have got wrong or not have translated properly) so you can improve singularly on areas that you're not confident in. There are a range of different goal settings which go from 'casual' (which I'm currently using) to 'insane' for people who want to learn a range of different words and phrases in a short amount of time by dedicating more time using Duolingo.
Price: Free (There's a subscription service which is £9.99 per month which gives the user full and unlimited access to all courses for that specific language)
Babbel, which is currently used by just over 1 million people, features 14 languages to learn in the app. Babbel features a simplistic format with it translating a sense of calm to the user since it's not overcrowded with images and too much distraction for the user. There are daily lessons featured which focus on building basic conversational skills by allowing the user to quickly memorize key phrases such as how to greet someone as well as learning how to say thank you. The app goes into further detail by explaining grammar concepts and language rules to the user, for me this is interesting since I'm planning to learn in depth about the language and the rules surrounding it. Rather than using this app as a main form of learning Spanish I prefer to use Babbel as a supplement. Babbel uses a form of repetitive learning by first allowing the user to select the word out of a choice of two and then four. This repetitive style of learning is useful but can get a bit tedious, especially for the smaller and easier phrases.
Price: Free (There's a subscription service for £6.99 per month which allows the user to access videos from native speakers as well as featuring an in depth analysis of your learning - which words you're confident in and what words and could use a little more practice)
Memrise, which is used by 30 million users, offers 25 languages within a more engaging and colourful presentation. This app features a range of games which are used to learn and practice different phrases - meaning this app may be suitable for younger users who want to learn the basics of a language. Memrise features a pronunciation guide which allows the user to record themselves and compare it with a local, a feature most apps ignore but is vital for learning a new language. You may learn words and phrases of a language but if you can't pronounce them then you might not be understood or even make yourself more confused. Memrise features a repetition software in which lets users learn and review the different words that might need a little more practice. The best part about this app is that it can be used offline, which allowed me to spend a few hours when travelling to Barcelona learning different key words and phrases (some of which I was able to use). Memrise is very dedicated and tailored to the user, it's not a generic app that has one daily lesson for everyone, the user can learn as little or as much as they want since the app allows the user to carry on.
Price: Free (There's a subscription service which is £9.99 a month which allows the user to unlock 1000 lessons and conversations, 14 conversational modules and includes 365 daily lessons per year)
Mondly, which is used by 25 million users, features 33 languages within the app. The app features basic lessons that focuses on conversational language and practical knowledge (such as asking how someone is as well as learning verbs - past, present and future). Mondly also features MondlyKids which can be used to teach a child the basics to a different language while they're still young. The layout for the children's version is very engaging through the use of child friendly illustrations and topics such as food, family and sports (something they use and see everyday which will help them learn and remember certain words). The fun and interactive style of Mondly suits a range of ages while following a classroom style of watching, learning and then repeating. My favourite part about Mondly is that it's repetitive in different forms, which goes from individual words to complete phrases and pronouns. Another great feature about Mondly is that after each lesson there's a review of the different words and phrases learnt, which can be reviewed at any time regardless of when the lesson was completed.
Tips and tricks for all aspects of travelling, most of which include saving money.