A Travel Itinerary vs. a Meaningful Experience

Last updated October 3, 2022

A travel itinerary can be helpful when planning an upcoming trip. Itineraries provide tourists guidance, structure and activities. The rigid day-to-day schedule of an itinerary provides the anxious traveler with a sense of control.

There are many more benefits to a travel itinerary. Don’t believe us? We’ve got a fellow travel-lover to back us up. Travel Blogger Erin Keene lists eight more benefits in her article “8 Incredibly Helpful Advantages to Having a Travel Itinerary.”

Choices, Options, “Types” and “Styles”

Oftentimes people become overwhelmed by the amount of choices out there. Travel options these days are limitless. From personalized safaris to all-inclusive resorts, it is no wonder that it takes so long to plan a trip.

Here’s something you should keep in mind. Not only are there “types” of travel to consider, but there are travel “styles” as well.

Types of Travel and Styles of Travel

Travel has many categories. There’s adventure travel, wellness travel, fitness travel, spiritual travel and more. On top of these categories are the types and styles of travel. It’s important to understand the difference between the two so that you can enjoy your trip.

Travel Type(s): the person who is traveling. (e.g. budget traveler; beachcomber; active traveler; fitness traveler; cruise traveler; itinerary traveler; long-term traveler; staycation traveler; weekend getaway traveler).

Travel Style(s): the way that a person travels. (e.g. backpacking, camping, cruising, resort or hotel, AirBnB, road-tripping, group traveling, solo traveling, etc.)

Think about which type and style of travel resonates with you. Is your lifestyle luxurious? If so, an all-inclusive resort with beach access may sound appealing to you. Do you trust your secretary with your life? A travel itinerary may be best. Especially if your answer is yes.

Here are the differences between a travel itinerary and a meaningful experience. We have also included tips on how to choose the right one.

What Is a Travel Itinerary?

Man holding boarding pass at airport

A travel itinerary is best described as a preset or pre-planned vacation. These pre-planned vacations are normally structured. Some travel itineraries are organized hour-to-hour. If it helps, think of a travel itinerary as a schedule. Each day of the trip will have pre-organized experiences and/or activities. 

Here’s an example of a travel itinerary:

So You Want to Use a Travel Itinerary…

We don’t blame you. Travel itineraries do the hard work for you. An itinerary saves you the time and effort of finding tourist-friendly activities. However, they do involve a lot of pre-planning.

Whether you are creating the itinerary yourself or hiring a third party to design it for you, there is a lot of effort involved. This effort is typically put in before your departure. It is necessary that you start your travel itinerary well before your vacation. This is because travel itineraries require research, planning and organizing ahead of time.

What Makes a Good Travel Itinerary?

A travel itinerary is full of activities in various locations. Yes. It is true that a travel itinerary offers a variety of experiences. It’s also true that you may not need to participate in every activity listed on the itinerary.

The idea of a travel itinerary is to give you a taste of everything. 

Depending on the pace of the travel itinerary, it can be slightly exhausting, especially when you cram too much into the time available. 

Tips for Planning Your Vacation

A well-planned travel itinerary can be a wonderful tool for experiencing a new destination.

Are you going to plan your own travel itinerary? Great! We advise that you make sure to allow plenty of time to relax. Take it easy. Don’t wear yourself out. Vacations are supposed to be fun and active but they are also supposed to be rejuvenating. The last thing we want for you is fatigue and homesickness.

What Is a Meaningful Experience?

yoga retreat is an example of a meaningful experience when traveling

A meaningful experience is a vacation based around one or potentially two experiences. They can also be planned with a travel itinerary. The difference between the two is that a travel itinerary is not limited to a single experience.

Types of Meaningful Experiences

There are many different types of meaningful experiences. Especially when it comes to travel.

Whether your meaningful experience is spiritual, educational or restorative, you will find enjoyment within your vacation. Taking a vacation that is focused on providing you with a meaningful experience (such as a yoga retreat) can help you get more out of the destination.

Travel for a meaningful experience usually entails completely absorbing yourself in said experience.

However, traveling for a meaningful experience can leave little time to explore the destination itself. For example: you are headed to Mexico for a yoga retreat.

In many cases, your time is spent on retreat inclusions, so unless you factor in additional travel days you won’t have the opportunity to experience much of your destination outside of the retreat. 

What Is the Difference Between a Travel Itinerary and a Meaningful Experience?

Bus tour is an example of a travel itinerary

The main difference between a travel itinerary and a meaningful experience is where the focus lies. More often than not, a travel itinerary encompasses an array of activities and places. Whereas a meaningful experience zeroes in on the one experience.

This does not mean that if you choose a travel itinerary there isn’t a meaningful experience. A travel itinerary does provide experiences with meaning and value. What’s more is that the focus is broader.

Classic examples of a travel itinerary include organized tours around a country or city or a cruise sailing from port to port.

Another difference is that a travel itinerary generally means you bebop to multiple destinations; while a meaningful experience focuses more on the actual experience and related elements.

If you sign up for a meditation retreat at an Ashram in India, your focal point is meditation. It’s likely that you won’t travel around India or even the surrounding area. That is unless you do so before or after the meditation retreat.

Which One is Right for You?

Choosing a travel itinerary or meaningful experience

The right choice really depends on what you want to get out of your time away.

If you want to learn a new skill or do a deep dive into a facet of wellness then a meaningful experience is right for you. If you’d like to experience a new country or destination, choose that travel itinerary.

Having said that, you’ll probably find that both are right for you at different moments.

Travel isn’t limited like that. You don’t ever have to choose one type of travel over another. In fact, combining both at different times is one of the best ways to get the most out of your destination and wellness-focused experiences.

So. Which style will you choose for your next trip? Vacayou’s travel concierge team can help you discover, book and plan your next travel itinerary or meaningful experience.

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About Vacayou

We believe that travel has the power to change lives. The power to revive, rejuvenate and redirect the inner self. That’s why we’re here. Take an online staycation with us. Change how you think about travel and let us make it easier for you to search, discover, and book wellness and active vacations. But we don’t stop there. We are with you every step of the way—before, during and after your journey—to make sure you enjoy the most meaningful vacation ever. It’s Travel That Moves You.

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