If you want to get the most out of travelling, you need to be prepared to be spontaneous. You need to be open to every possibility that presents itself and be able to capitalize on every opportunity that presents itself. It’s from those unexpected changes of plan that the real magic stems, and results in you making those unforgettable memories that only happy coincidences and being open to change can create.
How to travel spontaneously
Travel, like most other things in life, is about being prepared to make the most of the opportunities that are presented to you. You might find yourself making an unscheduled delay in Bangkok, taking a surprise trip to Las Vegas, or getting talking to a fellow passenger on a flight and being told about an awesome hostel in Sydney. The point is you’ve got to be able to respond to things as they happen in order to get the most out of travelling.
Don’t get me wrong, being able to plan meticulously and stick to those carefully-made plans is also a massive, massive asset. If time is tight on your journey, being able to manage your time well is essential. But what I’m saying is that you need to be able to switch between these different modes of being depending on which is likely to yield the most favorable outcomes in a given situation, and there are ample situations which require flexibility in planning and thinking in order to reap maximum rewards when you’re off seeing the world.
For example, it’s a good idea to schedule days when you have nothing scheduled: This way you won’t be rushing around trying to cram stuff in while the reality of the place you find yourself in passes you by. Instead, you can be more aware of your surroundings and doing so will allow you to discover a whole new side to the place away from the throngs of tourists and sightseers. This kind of purposeful drifting really does form the foundation on which a deeper and more intimate connection with foreign locales can be built.
This ability to leave things unplanned and just go with the flow, however, really stems from a higher-level outlook in which you recognize the value of the journey itself, rather than becoming too overly fixated on outcomes. Having too many pre-determined outcomes will close you off to the wonderful possibilities that may be going on around you to discover new places and build new friendships. You have to be prepared to stop, slow down, and learn to become comfortable in uncertainty for that to be able to happen.
At this point, it is necessary to mention safety. While being spontaneous on vacation will result in you having a richer and fuller experience, you have to take measures to ensure you’re not exposing yourself in any situations of danger or making yourself vulnerable. Don’t just go off with any random stranger you meet, keep a close eye on all your valuables and make sure to stay in close contact with your travelling buddies, perhaps even arrange some sort of check-in system if you get separated. It may sound romantic to throw caution to the wind and to just abandon all your inhibitions but, without wanting to sound like a kill-joy, safety always comes first when travelling.
Planning can actually help!
Another seemingly paradoxical aspect to all of this is that careful planning may actually allow you to be more spontaneous when travelling. Doing research in advance regarding what visa and entry requirements you’ll need to contend with, how to get a good roaming data plan, and how easy it is to exchange currency and perform financial transactions in your planned destination will actually save you lots of time and energy when you arrive, allowing you to go off and get into adventures! As the old adage goes, luck is what happens when planning meets opportunity.
Travelling without a detailed itinerary can seem like a daunting prospect. But if you learn to navigate that uncertainty, you may well find yourself having travel stories to last a lifetime.