As far as I know, when we use the present simple for future, generally it is used for public future schedules that we have no control over, such as, transportation schedules. So I don't understand why the tense can also be used for itineraries. Here are two samples in "Complete English as a Foreign":

  1. A secretary is telling her boss his itinerary for a business trip next week: you arrive Endinburgh at 11.00. You have a lunch meeting with Mr Jone at 12.30 and then at 3.30 you take the train to Glasgow.

  2. A travel agent's assistant is talking to his customer about his itinerary: you fly to Naples with Alitalia on the 12th of next month. When you get to Naples a coach picks you up form the airport and they drive you to your hotel. Next morning the coach takes you on excursion to...

For two samples above, I don't think they are public events and so unchangeable as ones in public transportation schedules. So I hope native speakers can tell me why the present simple can be used for itineraries and whether the present continuous and the present simple are exchangeable in the samples.

  • Itineraries are one place we use the simple present for future, but not the only one. // Even if the schedule is prepared for just one person, that schedule is still quite similar to an official group itinerary. // Yes, you could substitute the continuous, but it would get tedious if you tried to do that for each and every verb. May 1, 2019 at 6:35
  • Thank you! One more question, here is another sample of itineraries: We arrive in Paris at 13.00. We spend two hours in Paris and leave again at 15.00... Suppose a man wants to tell his friend in Paris that he won't be visiting him after knowing the above interary form his travel agent, I wonder he should choose the present continuous or the present simple with verbs in his explanation, i.e.: 1) We are only spending two hours in Paris. So we can't visit you. 2) We only spend two hour in Paris. So we can't visit you.
    – bob8964
    May 2, 2019 at 3:09
  • Bob, both (1) and (2) work in that context, with (1) preferred. May 2, 2019 at 13:06

1 Answer 1


Your information is incomplete. The present simple is often used for intended actions in the future, as long as the time is made clear in some other way. It is used in this way particularly as part of a list of intentions or engagements.

So in conversation, on its own,

I'm going to Manchester next week.

is more common, but

I go to Manchester next week.

is perfectly good, especially as part of an itinerary. (eg "... and then to Liverpool at the weekend")

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