Booking in advance contradicts some of the biggest pearls of traveling. Typically, we like to travel to escape our day-to-day routine, break the mold for a while and leave the ever-so-cozy comfort zone. When we book in advance, we’re still playing safe and not opening ourselves to the boundless opportunities that travel allows us. There is no need to stress about being unorganized, in fact, it could be one of the best tactical plays for your travels if you book things a bit later than you first intended. Let’s get things rolling, here are 5 reasons why an unplanned trip will be the most memorable time of your life!
1. OPEN YOURSELF TO SPONTANEITY WITH AN UNPLANNED TRIP
Some countries will require you to list a residence or place to stay on arrival, and that’s all you need. This allows you to arrive in a city, put your bags down, freshen-up and come to terms with your new environment. Only booking for a few nights at the beginning of your trip is a sure catalyst to kickstart your adventure, there is no time to wait around – experiences await! On your way to find your morning coffee you might find an overnight tour to join or meet fellow travelers that you can tag along with, this is when the fun begins with an unplanned trip. Not booking in advance and having an unplanned trip allows the adventure take control and the wild world of traveling to do its thing. The people you meet will take you far cooler places than any booking you locked into from a faraway land.
2. YOU MIGHT JUST FALL IN LOVE WITH A PLACE
Ever been to a place and thought, “Wow, this is where I’m meant to be?” There are so many magical places out there, and to rush through gorgeous coastal towns, lush mountainsides or crazy cities can be a harsh regret to stomach later down the track. Immersing yourself in the culture is my favorite way to travel. There is nothing better than knowing every back street of an island, the best places alongside locals or the secret lookouts to watch the sunset. It can be quite a blow when you have to leave a place where you only just started to find your groove. If you have an unplanned trip, it’s easy to reconfigure an itinerary and book into an Airbnb for a month and really get accustomed to the place.
3. SCORE LAST MINUTE DEALS AND SAVE BIG
Companies are smart, they know how to play to your emotions and comfort zones. Airlines, in particular, will often have higher prices when you are booking far in advance. They know you want to feel secure by buying flights before they go up. However, usually they don’t go up from the initial price and there’s a bit of sweet spot when it comes to booking. If you’re patient but don’t leave it to the very last minute (For example, the night before) there’s a good chance you’ll score yourself some bargain flights. There is no need to book flights more than 2 months out, I’d say the sweet spot is between 3 weeks – 8 weeks out. Like everything, patience is key and not booking in advance relies on that. Having an unplanned trip doesn’t mean turning up to the airport without tickets. It means keeping things open other than the bare bones of your travel itinerary. I’ll often keep a close look on Kayak for example, for cheap flights; there is nothing better than scoring a flight to a place you’ve been eyeing off for a while and then being able to go there a month later. Similarly, you can save some solid cash if you’re savvy with last minute online accommodation deals like on Last Minute Hotels. It’d be a let down to know you could be saving half your accommodation costs because you booked so far in advance.
4. MAKE THE MOST OF LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
Local knowledge is invaluable. There is nothing that comes close to the suggestions of locals or people that have been based in an area for a prolonged period of time. Sometimes you won’t have the luxury of being able to stay in a place for a long time, so you have to tap into the minds of those around you. More often than not, you’ll be flooded with suggestions to go and see places that you never even heard despite the many days and nights of research you put into the trip before you left.
Secondly, sometimes accommodation, tours, and experiences are presented far better than they actually are. Don’t let yourself get stuck in a place you don’t want to be. Get out to explore the area, speak to those who know best and make your decisions on the go.
5. IT’S ABOUT THE PEOPLE YOU MEET ALONG THE WAY
Solo travel is a great time, but it can be well enhanced if you’re lucky to meet someone who is just as keen to do the same adventures you are. Having someone to share what may be some of your best life experiences with is extremely special. Additionally, it can be very motivating to have someone to get you up early or push you to do things you wouldn’t have done by yourself. I have been lucky to enough to travel with some incredible people thanks to my flexible schedule. And if you’re out searching for romance on your travels, the old traveling fairytale doesn’t lend too well to strict travel itineraries. Either you’ll have to leave behind everything you paid for (which hurts) or leave behind your new love interest – you get burnt either way.
Spontaneity is your friend! Have a loose outline of what you want to do in your head or in your notebook and leave it at that. Get out there and live on the edge a little.