You’re ready to travel. Maybe your flight is not quite booked. Maybe your bag is not quite packed. But in your heart, you’re ready to go.
So now that you have the want, how do you make it a reality? Do you call ahead to book your hotel for the week? Do you research things to see and do in your locale of choice? Do you reserve a tour to take you around? Or do you book a one-way ticket, grab a few pairs of underwear and just wing it? In other words, how much travel planning is really necessary?
The answer: not much.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s ok to travel without a set plan. Travel blogs are loaded with tips on how to source the best deals in advance, what you should pack for any given situation and what you should see in every country in the world. It’s true that these tips might, in fact, save you a bit of money and a bit of hassle later on down the road. But all too often the planning process is a turn off for would-be travelers. Suddenly your trip has become a point of stress instead of a point of excitement.
If this happens, here’s what you do: just go. The truth is you can adapt better than you expect. In fact, you will adapt when the situation arises. Whether you’re met at the airport by a chauffeur, or simply by the Great Unknown, you will manage to make a plan.
Traveling is all about the adventure it brings. There’s no greater adventure than heading off to foreign place without an itinerary in place. You can’t help but explore when you need a room for the night. You can’t help but meet new people when you are looking for the cool bar in a new town. Traveling without (much) planning forces you out of your comfort zone, and into the arms of the new place where you’ve landed.
Of course, it’s always smart to act smart. Before embarking on your unplanned excursion, make sure you have enough money to cover a night at an expensive hotel if you can’t manage to find a cheap hostel. Know how to get a hold of the information center and police if you need them. Let friends at home know where you’re headed before you go. If your flight arrives really late at night, maybe book a room for your first night and let the unplanned adventure begin the next day.
Once the basics are in place, buy that bus/train/plane ticket and GO! The rest always manages to fall into place.