Importance of Travel Itinerary

If you arrange your own travel plans, a Travel Itinerary is a key component of staying organized and being able to maximize your vacation time.  Below is my itinerary for an upcoming trip to the Pacific Northwest.  I like to research most details ahead of time, so I don’t use valuable vacation time.

You can determine how many sights and/or activities you can squeeze in comfortably.

I use Bing or Google Maps and plan out my driving route.  My driving time is minimized because I plan my order of activities based on the driving route.  Sometimes I use it to plan my walking route if I need to see a lot in one day.

For ideas, I usually look at Frommer’s suggested itineraries and Trip Advisor, and talk to the owner of the VRBO or friends that have been there.   I also Google “itinerary” for the area and look at other people’s blogs for inspiration.  Sometimes it’s difficult to decide which places to visit because they’re all wonderful!

Spontaneity is nice, that’s why I always leave 1 or 2 days open.  Some people might prefer to plan a lot less and take it day by day, but I feel when you’re spending a lot of money, you should get to see and do as much as you can.

You’ll notice on my itinerary that we take the light rail from the airport to a car rental place downtown.  You can save hundreds of dollars by not renting the car from the airport…just another tip!


6:30 am – Leave house

9:20am  – Delta Flight leaves Cincinnati

11:10am – Arrive Seattle

(Take light rail 10 stops (36 mins) to University St. Station

BAY A then walk to 6th street to the Hilton & p/u rental car)

Stop at grocery – arrive to VRBO unit approx. 2:00pm

5:00pm – Dinner at Palisade – 1st seating $29pp


7:00am – Drive to AMGEN Co.

Walk 40 min. to Pike Place Market

Walk to Olympic Sculpture Park

Walk to Space Needle – take monorail to Seattle Center – take Monorail back to Space Needle

Walk to Edgewater Hotel for Happy Hr.        


Walk to Discovery Park


7:00am – Drive loop around Mt. Rainier

Hike Rampart Ridge trail (4.6 miles)




6:00am –    Drive 1 ½  hrs. to Anacortes

9:00am –   Board ferry

10:00am – Arrive San Juan Islands

Drop luggage at hotel – explore Friday Harbor /  eat lunch / bicycle

Have lunch at Market Chef   or  Duck Soup Inn

3:00pm – Whale watching tour with Western Prince (3 hrs.)


(They have indoor pool/sauna/hot tub/free bikes)


9:00am –   Take ferry  from San Juan

10:00am – Arrive Anacortes

Drive 2  hrs. to Vancouver – arrive 1pm (with customs wait) – Eat lunch

Keep driving to Squamish towards Whistler…then drive back



8:00am – HAVE breakfast with Mahara & Ken (friends)

Explore Granville Island – go to the sandbar restaurant under

the Granville bridge (go to The Lobster Man booth also)

1:00pm – Take 15 mile (4 1/2 hr.) bicycle tour with CycleVancouver



Cont’l Brft Included

10:00am – Drive 2.75 hrs. to Seattle (go thru Customs)

2:00pm  –  Arrive back at condo


9:00am – Leave rental

12:45pm – Flight leaves

8:05pm –  Arrives Cincinnati

Grocery list:   juice; bananas (6); fruit; muffins, eggs; butter & jam; coffee; cream; chips; beer; wine;

water; trail mix; lunchmeat/bread/cheese/mayo

$1225      –  $1150 for 9 nights – $75 cleaning fee (tax included)

$320       –  Vancouver lodging (includes parking 2 nights) =

$216       –   San Juan Island lodging

$200      –  Whale Watching tour

$23        –   Ferry Fee to San Juan Islands for 2 pp round trip

$15         –   Nat’l Park Entrance Fee

$423       –  Rental Car

$100       –  Gas (approx.)

$ 12        –  Light Rail round trip for 2

$170       –  Guided Bicycle tour Vancouver for 2

$  20       – Parking Lot fee at Anacortes for 2 days

$300      –  Restaurants (approx.)

$100      –  Grocery (approx.)

$3133    –  TOTAL

10 thoughts on “Importance of Travel Itinerary

  1. OK, I too am pretty well traveled and always leave an itinerary behind, but only because if I turn up missing authorities will then know where to look for my body. Hey, I am a thoughtful guy that way.

    I couldn’t help but notice on your itinerary for your upcoming trip to the Pacific Northwest, (which is where I am by the way), that you planned everything down to the cost of your bananas and parking lot fees. I am going to go out on a limb and say you are a list maker? Just a hunch.

    OK, well I cheated, I knew you were a list maker because I noticed you also had a bucket list on your profile, which was the longest most intensive BL ever created I might add. Now with your impending trip to the Northwest you can happily draw a line through Washington, Oregon.

    I have had many of the similar experiences you have crossed on your list and even a few you are seeking to do, for example: Spend a week at a silent retreat. I did that, but I guess I am suppose to remain silent about it. Weird-just sayin’

    Great post today –

    Have a great day!



  2. It’s going to take you about an hour and a half from Tacoma to the park if you don’t stop to see anything in Elbe (and you will be tempted to stop). I really envy you… I couldn’t make the trip this year.


  3. I think you definitely need more time at Mt. Rainier, and not just because it’s my favorite place in the entire world. I’m assuming here that you’re not real familiar with the park. If you are, forgive and ignore me.
    That Comet Falls hike is a tough one (maybe you are in better shape than I am, though) it’s all uphill, of course. You won’t even see the mountain on that hike because it’s in deep forest. And I’m not sure you can drive a “loop” around Mt. Rainier in a one day visit, it would take a long time. Far better plan for a one day visit is to drive in at the Nisqually entrance and go on up to Paradise and take one of the trails that leads up the’ve got great views of the mountain and wild flowers that way and can relax at Paradise Inn when you’re done hiking. If you can start out early in the morning you can make Panorama Point your goal if you have good boots. But any of those trails, especially the one leading up from the visitor’s center, are great with wonderful mountain views. It doesn’t take too long to be able to see right over the Tatoosh Range with a view of Adams and Hood to the south. Depending on the weather. Make sure you get a trail map at the center.
    Mt. Rainier is HUGE. Paradise Inn itself shouldn’t be missed! The road to Paradise will provide you with many lovely stopping places (Christine Falls, Narada Falls, and take the road that shoots off to the viewpoint on the way up).


    • Thank you so much for this info…I’ve never been to Washington or Vancouver and my Bing Map must have given me the wrong driving time. I’m going to try the google map and compare for all of my driving times now. I checked your blog out briefly…looks like you live in New Mexico. It also sounds like you’re very familiar with Washington. I’m coming to New Mexico and Durango, Colorado in August. I’ve never been to Santa Fe or Durango. I’ve been snow skiing in both States but have never visited in the summer.


      • I’m actually helping run the blog for Old Jules, who has NM and TX background (although I lived in NM for a while). I live in KS now but my folks were from OR and WA and we went there almost every summer. The thing about those roads in the park is that they are all twisty and winding, you’ll never really get much beyond 35 mph if you’re driving safely and watching for wildlife and scenic views! You will love Washington.


  4. Good tips. Well stated. I too like to get the big parameters planned out so I know I will have a place to stay and time to enjoy the sights that are most important to me on the trip. But I also plan those days of free time to just wander and explore–knowing a room is waiting no matter what time you get there can give you the freedom to stay a bit longer over dinner when you discover a great little spot worthy of some time and attention. Planned flexibility works for me!


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