This last portion delves into the intricacies of planning trips by location and/or by activity, to maximize time and minimize expenses for you and your travel buddies.
Part 3: Creating Itineraries
I create itineraries based on two main factors: location and activities. Location-based planning involves clustering all your activities together in a small area to save on transport costs. Activity-based planning, on the other hand, is scheduling sightseeing trips so as not to completely exhaust you — a mistake many people make trying to cram in as many things in the shortest possible time.
Location-based plans concentrate on keeping time and money spent on transport to a minimum. One particularly efficient location-based itinerary I created for our travel group involved our day out in the Harajuku-Shibuya area. All the girls wanted to get their shop on in Tokyo hotspot Takeshita Doori, as well as experience the infamous Shibuya Scramble crossing, but since we were already in the area, I threw in a quick side trip to iconic Meiji Shrine.
By following the Shibuya-Harajuku Day Plan I created, we managed to get in a full day of shopping and sight-seeing while keeping expensive train hops to a minimum (at this point we did not want to use our JR Passes yet until we reached the latter half of the trip).
Activity-based plans on the other hand try to stagger time and effort-heavy sightseeing, so that you don’t do all the really tiring stuff in a single day — giving you enough juice to last the rest of the trip.
One activity-based itinerary I came up with was for our Kyoto trip. When you look at our Kyoto Day 1 Plan, you can see that the most tiring activity is the trip to Inari Shrine — we cut out the trip to Kiyomizudera and saved it for the next day so that we wouldn’t be stretched too thin.
One rule of thumb when creating itineraries (and I cannot stress this enough): always have a Plan B. When things don’t pan out the way you originally planned (for example, our trip to the Imperial Gardens was postponed by one day because we ran out of tour slots), there should be something else to fill in the time opened up so as not to ruin the rest of the day and even the trip.
That’s it for our three part guide on planning a trip for otaku — any otaku, whether you are into anime, trains, traditional architecture, geiko (like that guy in the movie Maiko Haaaan!!!), visual-kei, maid cafes, and everything else in between 🙂 Questions and clarifications are welcome in the comments box — looking forward to hearing from you guys soon!