A Jet Set Lifestyle: How to plan an in city itinerary

In my previous post I discussed how when planning to visit a new city 3 days on average were best. Now to go into more depth with that Friday preview (because who really wants to jump right back into work on Monday morning?):

1. Choose your destination city.
2. Make a list of everything you want to see in that city.
3. Go online and research the city. Find more things you want to see. (At this point I’ll add in particular restaurants etc.)
4. Bring up an online map such a google maps and start typing in all of these places. (I believe you can do up to 10 at a time.) If you have more than 10, plot the first 10 on your list hit that print screen button on your keyboard and paste that in a Microsoft paint or comparable program. Save that (you never know when computer glitches may happen), and minimize it.
5. Delete those locations off of your google maps and continue with your next 10. If you have more than will fit again do the print screen – the save once again.
6. Continue these steps until all points are plotted. Remember to put the place you are staying on the map!
7. From there check out all of your saved maps and you can begin to see what is near each other.

London ResearchMap1 London ResearchMap2

Now you can start planning your days.

1. Go back to a clean fresh google maps and enter your accommodations in point one.
2. Find the next closest (or further) place from all of your destinations. And begin planning a route. This is where things may get a bit confusing to explain, show I’ll share you my sample from London back in May 2015.

There were some must dos on my list in London:
1. I needed to get Sunday roast with my friend Ben who lives right outside of London.
2. I wanted to go on the London Eye around sunset.
3. I had to see Les Miserables (my all time favorite musical) on the West End.
4. I needed to see a show at Shakespeare’s Globe (If you haven’t guessed, I’m a bit of a theatre geek.)

So, since I had these specifics that had time and date restrictions, I first researched those. Theatre shows have certain dates and times they have performances. So, I checked and saw I could see Les Miserables on Monday evening and a show at the Globe on Tuesday evening.

This meant I had to try to get tickets for Sunday for the London Eye. I Googled what time the sun would be setting in London on that particular day then went to find a London eye ticket for that time frame. I found one, I choose to do the champagne experience. (Yay drinks! I am on holiday afterall) I’d hoped that it wouldn’t be filled with screaming children that may make me want to find a way out of my bubble and into the river below.

And Sunday Roast according to Ben traditionally happens around 1500 hours, obviously on Sunday. So everything else I wanted to do, I had to work around these items.

My To Do List:
1. Westminster Abbey
2. Buckingham Palace
3. Kensington Palace and Gardens
4. Afternoon Tea
5. St. Paul’s Cathedral
6. London Bridge
7. Tower Bridge
8. Covent Garden
9. Big Ben

With looking at my list I noticed I had time restrictions with afternoon tea as well. So the next thing I researched was afternoon tea. Initially I was going to go to The Ritz Carlton, but a friend of mine from the states who has spent a fair amount of time in England said for me to look at The Wolseley. Upon looking into both I noticed The Wolseley was across the street from the Ritz, had a comparable menu, but a better price tag attached. Traditional jetsetters wouldn’t care. But as you’re all beginning to see I’m a smart girl, like my travels to last as long as they can, I like living the high life on a dime rather than a dollar. So I mapped The Wolsely (The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB, United Kingdom) in comparison to the other definite things I had to do and noticed it was a 10 minutes walk from The Queen’s Theatre where Les Miserables would play.


I made a reservation for the 15:30 on Monday. Tea time usually is about 1.5 hours. And thus I expected to be done 17:00. Les Miserables would begin at 19:30. So I had about 2 hours (I like to get in about 30 minutes early to get myself situation) for a 10 minute walk. So I referred to my to do list to see if anything was close.

To Do List (still unplanned):
My To Do List:
1. Westminster Abbey
2. Buckingham Palace
3. Kensington Palace and Gardens
4. St. Paul’s Cathedral
5. London Bridge
6. Tower Bridge
7. Covent Garden
8. Big Ben

I came to realize that Covent Garden was an 18 minute walk from where I’d be having tea and then a 10 minute walk on to the theatre. I decided this is how I would spend my two hours and get another point crossed off my list. My To Do list was now down to 7 items.

My To Do List:
1. Westminster Abbey
2. Buckingham Palace
3. Kensington Palace and Gardens
4. St. Paul’s Cathedral
5. London Bridge
6. Tower Bridge
7. Big Ben

I noticed from plotting these 6 locations on my map I could walk from Big Ben, to Westminster Abbey through St James Park onto Buckingham Palace, then end in Kensington Gardens, and finally the palace. Looking further I noticed St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge, and Tower Bridge where close enough to each other.

I’m personally more of a walker than take public transportation kind of girl whenever possible (provided weather conditions allow). So I knew that I would most likely want to walk as any of my routes as possible. But the question was would time allow?

It was time to really take this planning to the next level and begin checking walk (or transportation times) in comparison to the time I had in a day. Since I had things scheduled on each evening I felt it was best to work backward.

So let’s start with Sunday. Bring up your map (you should be a pro by now) and plot your final point. Mine for Sunday would be The London Eye. Make sure that you have it in the destination slot. Now plot your point before that. In my case it was where I was having Sunday roast which was Hawksmoor Knightbridge. It appears to be a 51 minute walk. I also checked the public transit route. Make sure once you hit that you actually hit the little arrow next to where it says leave now and put in your times to get your exact times. Remember the map will give you the best directions for the time you are searching right now. But if you are planning in advance, the days, holidays, and times of your actual travel could make a difference. I knew that I had to check into the London Eye by 19:45 so I wanted to be in the area by 19:30.

Arrive by

So I knew I had to be on my way by 19:00 if I wanted to catch the tube to get me by to The London Eye in time. I had planned on Sunday roast at 15:30 and even if I allowed myself 2 hours I’d still have an hour and a half to spare. This was fine, as I hadn’t seen my friend in over 2 years, so we’d need time to catch up.

I also checked using my maps how long it would take to get to Hawksmoor so I knew what time to leave there and also how long it would take to get from the airport to my accommodations so I knew how much time I had to freshen up before I had to leave to make sure the time we had agreed upon would work.

Sunday was am easy one on the day I travel in or out I try to keep it kind of light. My first full day in a city is usually my packed one, and my final day is a bit more mellow so I have time to re-pack and rest (in case I have to leave early the next morning)

Monday is the day where you can really see how to make this planning work.

Above we’ve already done the planning from tea to Covent Garden, and my final destination of the Queen’s Theatre. Now if you look above we decided Kensington Palace was our last stop before afternoon tea. So plot Kensington Palace to The Wosley. (Here’s the address again: The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB, United Kingdom). On foot 43 minutes. Again, I said I’m a walker, so I choose to take that stroll.

So If I needed to be at afternoon tea for 15:30 I’d need to leave Kensington Palace at 14:47 the latest. Which for me, as I never like to be late meant leave by 14:40. I didn’t want to take a tour of the whole palace, so I didn’t need as long in there as some would. I thought 45 minutes would be sufficient for me. If you want to take a tour, see how long you should give yourself. For me which the 45 minutes that puts me at a 13:55 arrival.

The walk from Buckingham Palace to Kensington Palace is 42 minutes. This requires me to leave Buckingham Palace at 13:13

Are you starting to see how this works? Again, it takes time and effort. But, for me, it’s worth it. I’m a bit Type A where I like to know what I want to see and know I’ll have the time to do it. I don’t want to stress or worry on my holiday, so I like to take the guess work out of it by planning it all out ahead of time.


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