3 Essential Route Planning Tips to Prevent Travel Exhaustion

Travel Route Planning

Have you planned rest days into your next trip itinerary?  If not then you may be setting yourself up to become exhausted while on holiday.

Most people are caught in the eternal compromise of having both limited time and money.  If you are spending a lot of money on an airfare then you are probably planning to get the best value for money out of that airfare.  As a result you plan to take the longest amount of leave possible, and visit as many places as possible while you are there.

A common result of taking the value for money approach is that you plan to do too much while you are away.  As a result you may become exhausted and will not feel refreshed after your holiday.

Travel Expectations

The first critical step is for your travelling party to meet and talk about your expectations for your trip.  If you are a solo traveller you also need to consider what your real interests are on your planned trip.

Does one person plan to maximise their shopping, while someone else plans to hit every cathedral and museum along the way?  If there is disparate intent between members of the travelling party then you need to recognise that you may need to regularly split up as you travel.  If you can’t agree on a route then you may also need to consider whether some members of the group should go their own way for all or part of the trip rather than trying to stay together.

Holiday Pacing Strategy

A critical component of your holiday is to work out what is a reasonable pace of activity for you to have fun, but also feel refreshed.  The amount of activity definitely varies depending on your age and whether you are travelling with children or other dependents.

Putting together a rough itinerary before you make any bookings is a worthwhile planning activity so you can see how your travel plan hangs together.

Here are some key principles when planning your route:

  • If you are travelling on long haul flights and changing time zones then you need to allow some recovery time on arrival at your initial destination.  You should plan to stay in your first accommodation for at least two nights, and preferably 3-4 nights if you have children or the elderly with you.  The stable location will give you an opportunity to adjust before your launch into the next phase of your trip.
  • For every week on your holiday you should plan to have one rest day where you are not doing any tourist activities.  If you have children or the elderly with you then you should plan to have two days off in every week.
  • For longer holidays you should plan to take at least half to one week off travel every 3-4 weeks.
  • In my experience you should plan to stay at least 6 days at a major destination (eg. London, Paris, Sydney, New York), and at least 3-4 days in more rural areas.  Any less time results in a ‘Tick the Box’ tour with not enough time to relax and feel the vibe of the location.
  • You should plan your itinerary to combine both urban and rural experiences.  There are many places to stop between the capital cities, and the change of environment provides a good contrast as you travel.

In my experience I start by making a list of the number one places and attractions that I want to visit.  I then conduct further research on transportation options between those sites and as a result a logical itinerary will emerge which includes places to stop along the way.


Compromise is a horrible word for any traveller but it is an essential component of travel planning.  A rough itinerary will enable you to determine whether your trip is realistic.

Route planning is a balance between time and money, and often your first itinerary will clearly show that you are trying to do too much or that some parts of your trip are significantly ‘off route’.  You need to have another look and remove trip components early.  It is better to plan to do less up front and then add other things in as you travel, rather than to lock yourself into an overzealous itinerary in advance.

Final Itinerary

It may take you several attempts to come up with an itinerary for your trip which is optimised between activities, rest and number of destinations.   By taking a conscious approach to planning your trip you set yourself up to have both a refreshing and energetic holiday.


.Have you planned your trips so they have good balance?  Or are you like me and even though you know you should plan to do less that you still can’t help planning to do too much?  Please share your story in the comments below.

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