Creating a Budget Travel Itinerary is a homework you wish others would do for you. However, the sweetest fruit of labor is harvested when you planted it yourself.
Having full control of the schedule of the activities and not feeling pressured of getting into your service to transfer to the next location when you don’t want to move yet is one of the benefits why you would choose to have a DIY travel itinerary. Most importantly, your precious savings will allow you to travel longer and experience more fun with the activities you have personally selected.
Now arranging your trip schedule is not easy. You need to have knowledge about your destination, transportation means and costs, accommodation, activities you can do there, what and where to eat best and more.
After being asked by a friend to make one for her, which I can’t afford to do so with my hectic schedule, I decided to write this and help more people in the long run.
I built mine on a budget-based, experience-focused and sleeping space-only rules. This is my personal rule. You can create your own depending on your personality and preferences in life.
So, get a pen and paper, your laptop, or your note app to record it. Don’t leave the data you gathered in your short-term memory.
PHASE I : Research
1.Where am I going?
I wanted to go to Malaysia but Kuala Lumpur isn’t my priority. I love the places less traveled more. So, I went from the north, Langkawi Island, to the south, Melaka.
2.What are the fun things to do in Langkawi Island? The cost of each? How much time do I need to enjoy each of the activities?
I used these blogs to gather information.
- 7 Things to Do in Langkawi, Malaysia: Overnight Itinerary by The Poor Traveler
- 10 Fun Things To Do in Langkawi, Malaysia by JustOneWayTicket
From your resources, write all these details down.
3. How do I get from one point to another? How much does each cost?
I found this list of companies online which I used to book my transportations in Backpacking Malaysia.
4.What are the best budget accommodations in Langkawi?
I have browsed and booked from these two sites and searched up for the recommendations I found from several travelers.
At the end of Phase I, gathering data and I even made a map with the details on it. I like seeing the whole picture in one place (except that I didn’t include the time factor here).
Through this, I know where to start my day, where to go next, how far it will be from one point to another, and how long it might take me to get to the next location, etc.
Now, it’s decision-making time!
PHASE II: Create Your DIY Travel Itinerary
I have a total of 14 days to spent in 3 countries. I allocated 3 days in Langkawi Island, including the transfer times. So that’s approximately 2 days of fun times and a day of arrival and departure time. Now, I will break down 2 day-worth of activity, then consider which fits (1) my budget, then (2) my time.
I have an average budget of SR200/day (that is $55/day). However, I did not equally distribute it per location. I concentrated on the top activities I wanted to experience instead.
- I have 3 days. Aug 16 to Aug 18.
- These are the activities that passed my budget!
Langkawi Panorama: 2.5 hours
Langkawi Geoforest Park : 4 hours
Skytrex Adventure: 4.5 hours
Island Hopping : 2.5 hours
Here’s the outcome.
This second phase was not accomplished in one sitting. This was not the first version either. So don’t feel frustrated if you don’t get to finalized it at once.
I must say, I also hustle in my travel. I have a lot of energy reserved in my entire life that the only rest I want to get in between activities is the transit and meal time. I’m dead tired every time I get back to the hostel. That’s the only time the exhaustion creeps in. I work hard and travel hard. But my heart is full.
While plans are good for guidance and structure, it won’t happen without your flight tickets, hotel bookings, and visa for certain destinations.
Make it happen.
PHASE III : Secure Your Visa, Book Your Flights and Accommodation
Secure Your Visa.
I have never traveled to a country that would require me to get a visa. Aileen’s Visa Application Guides and The Poor Traveler’s Schengen Visa and others are your best resources if you’re a Philippine passport holder.
Book Your Flight and Accommodation
I have booked most of my flights in 2017 with AirAsia and twice with Cebu Pacific. It was the season of sales so I got tickets on great deals.
All my accommodations were booked at least 2 days before my arrival.
A little note. Phase III may come before Phase I and II. That’s what happened in my case. But if you have a definite date of vacation that are not subject to change, you may proceed as I have laid out here.
Congratulations! You’ve completed your customized itinerary. I have never felt more satisfied, more confident, and more fulfilled after completing and turning this plan to a reality. I hope that you would too.
Here’s the summary of the steps we took to complete your Budget Travel Itinerary.