If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.Jim Rohn
FOMO is the fear of missing out and I am definitely guilty of this when I travel. I try to pack in as much as I possibly can with the time I have. HOWEVER…. I try not to exhaust myself or go completely planning crazy and make sure that not every second of my day is scheduled.
Are you guilty of this over planning? Read on to learn more about traveling spontaneously and how it can truly improve your travel experiences, even if you love nothing more than to plan your trips to the smallest of details.
Don’t Plan Your Trip to Death
Every plan has its benefits and helps to create a safety net when “disastercations” start to form. Knowing exactly where you are staying each night, your flight times, the addresses of nearby emergency services, and the locations of your must-see sites are fantastic things to plan.
Planning every meal ahead of time, having zero space in your itinerary for anything other than what you planned before arriving at your destination, and/or rigidly sticking to said itinerary despite discovering incredible new experiences that everyone would love to do/see is not so fantastic.
Leave gaps in your travel plans to account for the unknown that is one of the most magical parts about travel. If you explore any area you’ve never been to, you will discover something you honestly had no idea existed and those are some of the things that make trips memorable. No one will remember the itineraries, but they will remember whether it was a hassle instead of a useful tool.
Embrace the Unknown
I love having a top 5 must-see list. It isn’t overwhelming and it helps everyone in your group see everything they’ve been drooling over on Instagram. Are there more than 5 places per location I would love to explore? Duh, but I purposefully leave room for the unknown.
Walking/biking/busing around a new place really gives you a feel for what truly makes a place “that place”. I can’t think of a trip where I wasn’t given advice on a restaurant or attraction by a local that I had never heard of. Yes, I ALWAYS follow the locals’ advice and I can honestly say that those have been my favorite parts of each trip.
Why spend all of your time at places everyone goes every single time they visit? Yes, those places have value, but it’s not usually unique. Take the time to go off the beaten path and discover something you never thought you’d experience or something you never knew was there.
Chuck the Itinerary Out the Window
Not literally because littering is bad.
Keep a bare bones itinerary and have an uber detailed list of your flights, hotels, and must-see information. Other than that? Explore as much as possible. Keep windows of time completely free of planned activities. Give yourself and others the freedom to discover new places, new restaurants, and new things to do. It will mean so much more.
What Type of Planner Are You?
Let me know! Got any tips for helping super planners let go of their death grip on their itinerary? What about stories about how you let yourself have some free time? Comment below! I’d love to hear your stories and advice!
2 thoughts on “Traveling Spontaneously”
Great advice for everyone. I certainly make travel planning mistakes, but as far as finding a middle ground between over-planning and under-planning, I think I get that right most of the time. One thing I can’t be bothered with most of the time is researching where to eat. We just like to be spontaneous with that. The only exception that comes to mind is that I researched a pizza place in Rome. Great post.
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Thanks so much! I usually ask some locals where to eat and take their advice. Everyone is different in how they travel plan, but I wanted to make sure everyone knew just how much more rewarding a little spontaneity could be!
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