One of the most common mistakes people make when traveling is being overly ambitious with their sightseeing schedules. It is not uncommon to see tourists with lists of 10+ attractions scheduled foreach day of their holiday, when realistically they should probably schedule far fewer.

As travellers, we are inherently excited about being in different places and often try to squeeze as much into travel itineraries in attempt to maximise travel experience. Unfortunately, this is a bit of a trap that can actually end up costing travellers in terms of fatigue, finance and travel quality. This is why it actually pays to simply slowdown when traveling and sightseeing.

So what are these costs of over-planning sightseeing activities?


Travel Fatigue

Trying to see too many attractions is similar to running endless errands back at home. It is very tiring! If you do this too many days in a row, it can become exhausting, not much different than being back at work! Once you hit your exhaustion point, travel fatigue can set in and greatly reduce the value of travellers' overall holiday experience. This is a common travel ailment that many end up suffering from during their holidays.

Financial Costs

Sightseeing cost money! Each time you visit an attraction, you are likely to encounter entry fees and transportation costs.You may also encounter food & drink, souvenir and other costs associated with visiting each attraction. These costs really start to add up after a few days, especially if you are trying to include mostly top attractions, which are often the most expensive to visit. Families, in particular, will feel the financial burden of aggressive sightseeing even more.

Travel Quality

In addition to feeling tired and spending more money, travellers actually run risk of reduced quality experiences when attempting to see too many attractions and visiting in hurried fashion. Again, sightseeing becomes similar to running errands back home where the objective is simply to finish, checking off all the boxes, instead of enjoying what you are doing or seeing.

The Supermarket Analogy

For a simple analogy, consider making a quick visit to the local supermarket. Sure, you can rush past the aisles, quickly looking down each before moving on and say that you saw everything in the store, and that you managed to do so in probably no more than 15 minutes. But did you really see much of what was there? Did you leave having a better understanding of the ingredients of any particular products, did you take note that there were actually 6 different types of apples available and did you notice that there was a nice boutique bakery in back, which might be a better option than simply grabbing the loaf of pre-packaged bread? This example demonstrates, how sightseeing quality can be improved when we slow down and avoid racing through places too quickly.

So how to avoid over-planning travel schedules?

Recognising the costs and problems with trying to squeeze too many attractions and activities into travel plans, travellers can take a few simple steps towards creating more realistic and meaningful sightseeing itineraries.

First, diligent travel planning and research can help one identify their top priorities when it comes to sightseeing. This means building itineraries based on preferred attractions, not just total number of attractions. For example, you won’t be able to see all the museums inParis, try to pick out the very top ones you want to see first and make sure you understand why you want to see them so that you can prioritise them.

Second, studying preferred attractions helps one identify how much time they should realistically allocate in order to have the most meaningful experience when visiting. Using the Paris example, if you know what is available in Musée du Louvre and what you want to see there, you will be more likely to allow for adequate time to visit and not fall into the common trap of only allowing 1 hour to visit one of the largest and most important museums in the world.

Third, take your time when experiencing your high priority attractions. These are the important places, so absorb as much as you can, pay attention to what you are seeing and don’t be afraid to stick around longer than originally planned if you are enjoying yourself. This is what travel is about in the first place,quality experiences! If you are having one, just enjoy it and forget about having to race along to the next place on your list.

In the end, if you follow these three steps,you should be able to create a tailored and more meaningful sightseeing itinerary,one that is more manageable to accomplish and provides you more time in places that will likely provide you with higher quality experiences. You won’t be able to check as many boxes but you will likely appreciate, enjoy and develop better lasting memories of your travels.