Hello everyone! It's me Nicholas, one of the co-founders of Atalanta. I'm writing this extra long note as a memo for itinerary publishers on the site and potential ones as well. As our goal here is to ensure that all itineraries are up to standard, I'll be discussing the main pointers to guide you all on how to write one fit for Atalanta.
I'd like to use this chance to re-emphasize the definition of the word Itinerary - 'A planned route or journey' - Google search. And this plan should consist of a timed schedule, detailing where you need to be at what time, doing whatever is on the plan. It is not a plan if you have parts that leave it up to the reader to find out for themselves - having options are fine but telling the reader to go find out what to do is just wrong. Although it is up to the reader whether they follow through the plan or not but that is not your concern. Your concern is to present a complete plan that one can follow through without thinking much, without guessing what to do. We are bringing this definition to Atalanta's travel itineraries.
First up is the mentality to have when writing an itinerary. You'd have to think that this plan you're writing is all that the reader has to find his way around. This mentality is of the utmost importance, from the beginning to the end of your itinerary. When I land in the airport, don't just tell me 'hop on a taxi to the hotel' - Is there nothing I should do in this airport first, like getting a SIM card?; Where is this taxi?; Is there a particular taxi company I should take or avoid?
Next is the importance of details and accuracy. Since you are publishing information to sell, the details you have should make it worth every cent. When writing an Activity, don't stop at saying 'Visit the monument', describe it, explain it, tell a story about it. 'The Raksha monument, built in 707 was for the sole purpose of worshipping the rural gods. Local legends say that if you pray to it, anything you sell will be sold, anything that you say will be listened! One interesting secret is that at the bottom left corner of the monument, there is a small hole rumored to whisper to you. Only those that went would know what was being whispered.' - something like that, you get it? But of course what I said was made up, and what you write must be true in some sense.
Coming to Directions, it is one of the most important parts of your itinerary. You add a Directions block when Activity 'A' is at a different area from Activity 'B'. Even if they are 500m apart, just add one Directions block telling the reader how to get there. Show the reader landmarks to lookout for, tell them every turn, every bend, to ensure that they are on the right track to your next activity. Remember, being detailed is everything here. Some Don't's to list out - Never just say 'take the train from AAA station to BBB station' and end there. How are we supposed to know where to take the train from and where to go after alighting?; The next big no no is simply writing 'walk 500m north', is this some jungle survival guide? You got landmarks, buildings, street names, shop names, and pathways to guide the reader every step of the way. Never leave a reader feeling lost unless that's the unique point of your itinerary.
The one thing you should take away from this section is that in the flow of your Activities and Directions, you should always make sure that you start the reader off from where you left them. Make sure they know what to do when they arrive and how to make the best of their trip.
Though cliche, the phrase 'A picture speaks a thousand words' has to be brought up here. Even if you are be an excellent storyteller, just one clear picture and you get your point across effortlessly. We highly encourage everyone to include uniformly-proper-sized images along the entire itinerary, to guide the reader on what to see and what to look out for. The images will no doubt be a great help in guiding your reader along the itinerary.
In every trip (exclude day trips), there is always a need for accommodations, a place to sleep for the night. Make sure you include it in your itinerary. It plays a big role as most itineraries should start off from the accommodation and end the day back at the accommodation. You should also write out the total estimated cost of the accommodation for the rest of the stay there in the 'Budget per pax' field when 'check-in accommodation' Activity is written. This method will be the most accurate way to portray the accommodation costs in the total budget per pax estimations.
Stay awhile more, and listen
We are aiming to have detailed and accurate itineraries that anyone can just follow and not have to worry about things like 'where do we go now?', 'how do we get there?', 'what to eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner?', and 'What are the bests this place has got to offer?'. The itinerary should really just leave the reader going through the trip without the need to ask any questions.
Lastly, all the points that are mentioned in this post are just basic guidelines. You yourself need to inject some form of uniqueness and individuality to be able to stand out from the rest. To add a touch more details, a pinch more character, and a dash more effort into what your itineraries.
So with all these in mind, go forth now in creating your very own travel itineraries and sell them to the rest of the world through Atalanta!