Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Trip Planning Made Easy


One of the most pleasurable, but also the most tedious, aspects of planning a trip is mapping the itinerary. David and I usually have a dozen guidebooks, along with detailed notes, scattered throughout the house which we use to make sure we choose all the sites we're anxious to see along with their addresses, hours of operation, and cost. Then we plot a daily travel plan that can be accomplished by either walking or public transportation.

Our next trip will be much easier to plan, though, with the discovery of the free website plnnr.com This user-friendly site takes you through several steps to arrive at a detailed daily itinerary complete with maps.

The first step is to choose your city. While the site will be adding more, it currently lists only twenty cities (three in the USA, one in Canada, and the rest in Europe) frequented by tourists.

Next, you input the dates of your trip and move on to the Theme. Depending on your circumstances, you can choose Kids, Outdoor, Best Of, or Culture.

The Intensity screen asks you to decide whether you want to get up late for leisurely sightseeing, hit the street in the wee hours of the morning to pack every day full of non-stop sightseeing, or something in-between. Choices are Light, Easygoing, Moderate, Vigorous, and Extreme.

Since the site will also suggest hotels, the next screen asks how luxurious you'd like your trip to be. Tightwad Travelers will, of course, stay in an apartment but go ahead and choose an accommodation, from one to five-stars, to satisfy the program. (You do not have to make a reservation to use this service, but you cannot get to the next page without making a choice.)
Choose sites from the list. 

Then comes the fun of picking and choosing. From the list of sites, you choose what you want to see, clicking on the title for further information about unfamiliar places, and the time of day you'd like to see it. Plnnr does the rest.
A portion of one day in my finished itinerary.

When you've finished choosing, click "Print" (on left side of screen) and see your finished itinerary which you can print, save (Accounts are free.), or tweak a bit more. You will have an overview map tracking your daily route; a schedule of sites complete with a website link, an address, and hours of operation; a few photos, and a detailed map showing the site's exact location.

Plnnr's site will make David's and my next trip much easier to arrange because it removes the tedious part of trip planning and leaves only the pleasure! 
Map overview of the day's route.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks, Dru, this site will save lots of time! Jay and Rob

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  2. I'm always wondering how I can avoid long travel times. I spend so long looking for cheap tickets, but they always are for the longest routes. Does anyone have good suggestions?

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  3. I find it helpful to start the process as far ahead as possible--often six to nine months for a European flight. Set an "alert" on Kayak for daily price updates and then buy only when the price and length of time are right.

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