Sometimes the best experiences in life are unplanned. Because traveling is expensive, the urge to plan every moment of your vacation is very appealing. But if you’re looking to try something new, consider taking a spontaneous vacation, where you plan the trip on the fly.
For those willing to try a spontaneous trip, here’s how to do it:
By Train: Pack for a weekend or a four-day trip and go the station and take the next available train. Stop on the third, fifth or 10 stop and there you go.
By Car: Take a friend and play roll the dice. Decide whether you are going East, West, North or South and then once you hit the highway ask your friend to roll the dice every 10 minutes for a total of 10 (or however many you decide) rolls. If you roll:
1: Stay Straight;
2: Take the next exit or turn, and go left;
3: Take the next exit or turn, and go right;
4: Roll again and count it as a roll;
5: Drive to the next city, and go left;
6: Drive to the next city, and go right.
Who knows where you’ll end up.
By Plane: This option is for advanced travelers only! Go to the airport and get on the next available flight to anywhere. Have your luggage packed. You can go alone or with friends. The destination is not important, so you can aim for the cheapest or the most exotic – whatever tickles your fancy. Spend the weekend there and see what fate has to offer!
For planners, this will be difficult to pull off, but here are some tips on how you take some of the stress out of travel by not scheduling every move.
Start with a Weekend Getaway
If you’ve never traveled on a spontaneous vacation, start with a weekend getaway. These micro-vacations will boost your mental and emotional health. Pick a location where you’ve never been within a 100-mile radius of where you live. Make sure the location has access to at least two attractions that you’re interested in, such as state park, a museum, shopping, and/or historical sites. Have fun exploring.
Plan one day and make the other an “unplanned” day
Instead of turning your weekend into a rush of activity after activity, plan one event or one day’s of events and then make the next day, an unplanned day where you explore places on the fly.
Stay at a B&Bs or homestays
For your “unplanned day,” ask the owners the best places to visit and then do it. You can ask cab drivers, local store owners, or ask visitors where they’ve visited. These are all good ways to find things to do.
You may find a trip without a schedule and a reservation actually refreshing. Wandering the city, you will likely see things you would never have experienced if you were booked solid. Most importantly, be OK when a plan isn’t perfect.
From the John Lennon song: Beautiful Boy, from the album “Double Fantasy:”
“Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”