It's that time of year when the nights are getting longer and you need to dig your "big coat" out of the closet, so you're probably starting to look forward to some winter sun, or dreaming of a holiday in the new year.
Whether you're planning a solo trip or a weekend away with friends, keep reading to discover useful tips and tools to help you plan your trip better, make the most of your travel experience, and preserve and share all those great memories.
Build a travel itinerary in advance and make the most of your holidays
Having a well-researched travel itinerary means that while you're away, you don't have to spend time thinking about planning your day, or searching for interesting sights in the area.
Emma Sparks in her article for Lonely Planet explains the benefits of planning a trip in advance. She argues that with a travel itinerary, you can save money and book ahead, so you never miss out. Emma also points out that learning more about your destination enhances your travel experience.
“Understanding the history, geography, and culture of a place you’ll soon be immersed in is never a bad thing. Being aware of local customs, taboos, and current affairs can only make you a more engaged, respectful, and responsible traveler,” she explains.
But there are even more benefits to having an itinerary for your holidays. It frees up your time to relax, while still making sure you do as much sightseeing as you want to. It lets you decide how intense or relaxing your holidays should be, giving you total control over your travel experience. And with a travel plan, you'll never go home regretting that you missed out on some of the important sights.
You can also enjoy a culinary experience by planning your food itinerary and making sure you have a booking for every cafe, bar, or restaurant you want to try.
This travel itinerary template helps you cover all the bases and create a great plan for your winter holidays. It has sections for your flights and hotels, a pre-travel checklist, and a day-by-day itinerary — so all you need to do is fill in your trip's details. It's also fully customizable so you can add or remove sections to create an itinerary that matches your travel plans.
Preserve your memories and enjoy a complete travel experience with a travel journal
Once you're back from your holidays, the memories can fade fast, and it might almost feel like your amazing trip never happened. While you probably have a lot of photos on Instagram or in your camera roll, a great way to preserve your memories is to write a travel journal while you're still away.
Anna Lee Beyer makes a great case for writing a journal instead of relying on social media for your travel memories in her National Geographic piece. “Posting on Instagram barely scratches the surface of the sensations of real travel: How being somewhere new makes you feel, the scent in the air, the taste of food, the laughter in the café, the echo in the canyon,“ she explains.
Keeping a travel journal lets you reflect on the things that happened to you, how you felt about them, and what you learned. It helps you think about the details that make your memories complete — the taste of the food or how it felt to stand on top of the volcano. A journal helps you experience the journey in a whole other way, and build a chronicle of the culture, the food, and the amazing times with your family and friends. This way, when you look back at your travel memories in a few months' time, you can relive the amazing experiences all over again.
This travel journal template has all you need to get started. It's got cards for different days, and plenty of useful examples — so all you need to do is add your own details and memories to existing sections. You can also customize it any way you want to make it your own.
Create a travel wish list and plan your future trips
When making travel plans you'll no doubt stumble upon plenty of new and exciting destinations you'd like to add to your travel list. A great way to bring those plans to life is to build itineraries for those future trips, helping you better understand the time and budget you'll need to make them happen.
With this travel wish list template, you can build an itinerary for each one of your dream trips, keeping them organized in one space. This will bring clarity and structure to your holiday dreams, and help you turn your bucket list into concrete travel plans.
Share a virtual travel postcard while you're away
While writing postcards may seem like a thing of the past, from before digital cameras, smartphones, and social media, the Washington Post's Jen A. Miller believes there are still some good reasons to share your memories this way.
For Miller, postcards are a way to make someone’s day with a message much more personal than a Facebook post. They also help her reflect and learn from looking back at her travel experiences, and challenges she’s overcome.
“I had time to think about what I wanted to say […] something that would capture both the frustration of how many times I’d tried to get there and the elation of that journey being almost complete; I settled on a short and pithy: ‘I made it!’, “ she writes.
Postcards are a great record of your trip, highlighting the most important moments, and leading you down a memory lane. You can easily create your own with this virtual postcard template. This way you can get the experience without having to wait two weeks for your card to arrive by post.
A bonus is that it's easy to make your postcard beautiful and customize it any way you want. By creating cards and pages, you can add as much content as you'd like, and you won't run out of space like you do with a regular postcard!
As new things happen and you take more great photos, you can keep adding content to your postcard after you've shared it, and the receivers will see updates in real time.
Share travel information and collaborate on the planning with a trip planner
If you’re that one friend or family member who always puts the travel plan together and gets the group excited and organized, then this template is for you.
This trip planner is all you need to build a complete travel guide for your next group holiday. You can create a day-by-day itinerary, plan the budget, and add travel information. You can also assign responsibilities with a checklist. This way you can involve others in the planning, and see how they're getting on.
Share this trip planner with the group, so that everyone can find important information about the trip without the need to scroll through a long chat. And if you need to make changes to your plans, everyone with a share link will see updates in real time.
If you have a WhatsApp group, you can pin this message to the top of the chat, making it easy to find so you can spend your time creating a great travel plan, instead of answering questions.
Try these travel templates and get started on planning a perfect winter holiday. Build an itinerary, share travel details with your group, preserve memories in a travel journal, and send a beautiful virtual postcard. Turn your winter holidays into a complete travel experience and make great memories to look back on.
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