How to plan your vacation using a mind-map

Making a vacation plan can be a time-consuming and challenging task. However, by using a mind map, you can easily keep track of all the details and have a more enjoyable planning experience.

How to plan your vacation using a mind-map
Photo by S O C I A L . C U T / Unsplash

Spring is in the air, the birds are singing, and it's time to plan your getaway! Whether you're looking to relax on the beach or explore a new city, now is a great time to start planning your vacation.

Why use a mind-map to plan your vacation?

A mind map can help you plan your vacation by providing a visual representation of all the possibilities for your trip, allowing you to see the bigger picture. This helps you to brainstorm the potential activities and attractions that you may want to include.

You can also use the map to alleviate anxiety when packing by mapping out the stuff you are supposed to bring, or use it as a lookup when you are in the moment and wondering what cafe or attraction to visit.

Mapping out the history, local food, and customs is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of the people living at your destination. By doing this, you will get a far better understanding of the area you are visiting.

Plus, mind-maps are just plain fun to make, and it's a great bonding exercise for your family to collaborate on planning a vacation this way!

Building the map

A great way to get started is to build the core branches first, such as "Packing List," "Destinations," and "Travel."

One strategy for building is to not create too many topics at once but instead consider each topic a bucket that you fill with resources and notes. When a bucket becomes unruly, split it out into a new branch.

Destination

I prefer to create a separate branch for every destination I visit and then create sub-topics related to that destination on each branch. So, if I stay one week in Las Palmas and then one week in Puerto Rico, I would create one branch for each of these destinations.

What is great about this strategy is that when I click on the attractions topic listed under Puerto Rico, I know that I will find the attractions I want to visit when staying in Puerto Rico. Likewise for Las Palmas.

The topics I generally use per destination are:

  1. Hotel - Everything related to the hotel we are staying at.
  2. Attractions - Things we want to experience near the destination.
  3. Restaurants - Places we want to eat near the destination.
  4. Beaches - The beaches we want to visit. For a non-beach-type holiday, this could be other location types, for example, city districts when visiting Tokyo.

Generally, I try to limit this list strictly to topics that require at least some research. Having a list of lovely places to eat is generally useful on a holiday, while a list of supermarkets might not be necessary as you tend to find one on every street corner.

Travel

I tend to have two distinct categories in the travel branch: travel documents and the travel plan itself.

It is handy to have a place to gather all of your resources for your trip. Having an entirely written plan makes the travel days much more relaxing, especially if you share it with others to get everyone on the same page.

Packing list

When packing for a holiday, it is important to consider the climate of your destination, the activities you will be doing, and how long you will be gone.

For example, if you are going to a warm destination, you will need to pack lighter clothing that can be easily layered. If you are going to be doing a lot of hiking or other outdoor activities, you will need to pack sturdy shoes and clothing that can stand up to being dirty.

And finally, if you are going on an extended holiday, you will need to pack enough clothing and supplies to last you the entire trip.

A packing list branch, often dubbed "Stuff to Remember," can be useful because it helps you visualize what you need to bring and where you will be packing it.

And if you are collaborating with your family, this helps you prioritize what to bring!

One way to structure this branch:

  • Clothing - For all the clothes you are bringing with you, I typically try to keep this to a single topic, but if you are packing a lot, it can be quite helpful to split it into sub-topics.
  • Toiletries - All your medicines, sunscreen, and other toiletries. There are items in this category that would be terrible to forget for many of us, such as allergy pills or contact lenses. Having it mapped out makes me less anxious when traveling.
  • Electronics - Phone, charger, laptop, camera, and headphones.
  • Carry-On - Everything you want to bring on the plane and is required for the trip.
  • Misc - For everything that does not fit in the main categories.

Culture

No matter where you go, there is always an opportunity to learn about a new culture. By doing some research before your trip, you can learn about the customs and traditions of the people in the area. This will help you understand their way of life and act respectfully.

Some great topics to put into this branch include language, food, history, and customs.

Have fun!

There's no need to worry about getting it right the first time - experiment and let your map grow organically. You can always rearrange it later.

For more inspiration, have a look at the example below!