When planning a project, there are three dimensions you need to consider: scope, time, and budget. The previous article was about the scope and this one is about time.
Duration of the trip
If you are planning a holiday trip, obviously you already know the duration of the trip: the time of your holidays. Therefore, you need to find an organised trip (agency) or plan your own trip taking that period of time into consideration. However, if you don’t have any restrictions, you can choose the best travel regardless the time it would last. For example, if you live in Europe and you plan on travelling through Australia and New Zealand, you might consider one or two months. Or if you are planning a trip around the world, you might consider a whole year, or more. So, it depends of the time you have available and your purpose.
Departure and arrival
When choosing the best way to travel in terms of transportation (check the previous article), take time into account. For example, if you are flying, you need to be at the airport 2-3 hours before the flight. Plus, you need to calculate how long will you take from your house to the airport and then from the airport to the hotel, when you arrive at your destination (and calculate exactly the same thing when returning). In addition, once you land, you need to wait for the airplane to park and to depressurise and then you need to claim your luggage, which can take a long time. This means that a 3-hour flight can actually be a 9-hour journey. Will train be a good alternative in terms of time? Well, you only need to be at the train station a few minutes before departure and, once you arrive at your destination, you just need to stand up, grab you luggage at your side and leave immediately (the same for buses, of course). However, the duration of the journey takes much longer, but it will depend on the type of train. For example, TGV is much quicker. Yet, if you take the train or the bus, you can also take the opportunity to stop along the way instead of going directly to your destination by airplane. You can also go by train (and stop along the way) when going to your destination and then return by airplane (you are tired and you want to arrive as soon as possible). If you decide to go by train and stop along the way, consider an inter-rail ticket. Road trips, which means travelling by car, can also be a great alternative (and much more flexible).
Moving around at the destination
As stated in the previous article, when programming your activities, you need to prioritise, and for that you need to calculate the duration of each activity and the time it will take to get there. Plus, you need to consider opening hours. For example, you want to visit a museum. How long will you take to go from the hotel to the museum and at what time does it open? It’s useless to arrive at the museum at 9 o’clock if the museum only opens at 10 o’clock. Is it possible to do something else before 10 o’clock?
Be realistic. Imagine that you are flying to your destination and the landing time is 11:00. And you think: “great, I’ll have lunch at the city centre and then I’ll visit the Zoo”. And then, the flight gets delayed and you only arrive at the hotel at 14:00, hungry and tired. You decide to forget the city centre and have lunch at the hotel. Then, you finally arrive at the Zoo only to find out that it is already closed. Yes, you need to take time for moments of rest and relaxation and meals. You are human, after all.
How will you calculate travel time between activities? Well, public transportation usually have estimation times on their websites. It’s just estimation, so you should consider extra time due to possible delays. However, it will give you an idea on how long will it take from one place to another. If you decide to walk, consider an average speed of 5 km per hour (or less, if you want to walk slowly). For cycling, if you are not used to it and considering traffic, calculations can be based on 10 km per hour, for example. Of course, apps like google maps automatically calculate the routes and time estimations, so you don’t need to do the math.
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