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Planning Travel Itineraries in the Right Order

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Going to see a show on Broadway is one of my favorite things, and my experience of seeing some shows in fall of 2019 inspires this week’s article on seeing things in the right order…

Planning Travel Itineraries in the Right Order

One of the important parts of planning a travel itinerary is making sure that you see things in the order that will provide the most impact and best experience.

I was reminded of this as I thought about a weekend my husband and I spent in New York City for our anniversary a few years ago, seeing some Broadway shows. Prior to our departure, I had purchased tickets for Sunday afternoon to see the totally irreverent and yet hilarious show, “The Book of Mormon.” Having seen it myself before, I thought my husband would enjoy it.

I saw the show in its opening season and loved it, but this time it seemed a little less funny. I think this was because we were still feeling the effects from the show we saw the day before. I was able to book a last-minute reservation at the Saturday matinee for “Come From Away.” It was a fabulous Broadway musical – based on a true story – about all the planes that landed in Gander Newfoundland on 9/11. The show was remarkable – joyous and sad and profound and uplifting – creating laughter and tears through this story of the human spirit. Anyway, there ended up being a sort of disconnect seeing the irreverent “Book of Mormons” just the day after appreciating the heartfelt nature of “Come From Away.” Even though it’s a blockbuster, it took my husband until after intermission to really enjoy “The Book of Mormon”, and I think that if he had seen it first, he would thoroughly loved it, and then “Come From Away” would have still been just as impactful.

It was all about the order.

In travel planning there is a certain flow that should be incorporated, and all the various parts and pieces – the sightseeing components and local experiences – should build on each other in a complementary way. Sometimes there is the story of the history of a country and seeing sites in a certain order will create the chronology of the story in a logical fashion, so it all makes sense. Sometimes there are activities that can be planned at the beginning of a trip to set the stage for what will follow.

If I’m including a food tour in a trip, I always plan for that at the very beginning. Beyond tasting delicious bites and samples, folks learn about the traditional foods and specialty items of the region, and how the geography and factors like trade routes, soil conditions, and nearby countries may have influenced the cuisine. Then, for the rest of their trip, they see those same foods served in various ways throughout the country and have an appreciation of not only the taste of the food, but how the food ties to the tradition and history.

Beyond the towns and sights and activities that are selected for a trip, putting them all in the right order can have a definite effect on maximum enjoyment of the overall travel experience.

When I’m planning itineraries for trips to Greece, I always make sure that they spend time in Athens at the beginning of their Greek travels.  Athens, of course, is an amazing city with the historically significant Acropolis and a busy and crowded metropolis filled with energy; it offers your first experience of the Greek culture and exploring the cuisine through delicious food tours.

Undoubtedly Athens is a fabulous city to explore, but it is perhaps most appreciated when visited first, or prior to the ‘picture of Greece’ that is recalled in everyone’s mind when we envision Greece – which is typically Santorini.  Santorini is immortalized by photographers with picture-perfect white buildings topped with blue domes overlooking the sea. It is so incredibly beautiful, and it’s tranquil and serene charm will be the highlight of your time in Greece.

It’s best to go to Athens first so that it can stand alone, and you can appreciate it for all that it offers, before you go to the iconic Santorini. To see them in reverse means that, quite frankly, Athens is a bit of a letdown if you see it after Santorini.

When I plan a trip in Ireland for someone who wants to spend the night in a real Irish castle, it’s important to plan that for the end of the trip so that the castle experience can be the fabulous finale.

A lovely 4-star hotel that provides a wonderful service experience will be viewed a little differently if it happens after luxuriating in that 5-star castle atmosphere. There is a need to plan the itinerary so that the sights you visit and the accommodations you stay in flow in a manner so that they can each be appreciated on their own. We want to avoid creating a plan in which the order of the visits makes the experiences compete, rather than enhancing and building on each one as you move through your trip.

So, as you are looking at different adventures in travel, whether it’s the cities you’ll visit, the places you’ll stay, or the activities you’ll participate in, it’s important to put things in the proper order to enhance each of the individual experiences as well as your overall travel experience.