The other day I was sitting in a café, enjoying breakfast, when a small group of people came in, sat down, took out their guidebooks, maps, laptops and notebooks and started to discuss their upcoming trip to New York. I’m not too much into eavesdropping, but this time I couldn’t resist as it was really interesting. They seemed to have planned every single minute of their trip, from where to go for breakfast each day to all daily trips.
As much as I think planning is important, I have one very important message: Allow for spontaneity! Let the unexpected happen!
What’s awesome about travelling? Isn’t it the exploring, curiosity, discovering new things, serendipity…? By planning out each moment of your trip, all these little explorations and new discoveries will be curbed significantly!
[Tweet “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. – Lao Tzu”]
How to do travel planning right
Planning ahead is still advisable, just do it more loosely. Book your flights and accommodations, read about the destinations, know what places you absolutely cannot miss and then allow time to walk around and explore new paths.
Avoid the blind, sheep-like following of Lonely Planet walking tours. Sometimes it’s hard because they cover the sights well, but leave room to take a sudden turn here and there. In poor countries, they have even adjusted to all the tourists walking exactly the same path and they have established vending stands to sell you things or to simply to beg you for money outright.
When planning a trip, many also schedule too many sights and activities per day and then end up running wildly from one place to another so as to catch up with their ambitious itinerary. Unless you’re on a business trip, you should stay far from stress! Vacation means relaxation and if you can relax your mind enough without a fully fixed schedule, you’ll have a high chance of full rejuvenation during your travels.
Don’t get upset if your perfect plan is falling apart like a house of cards. Those are the moments when we have to act flexibly and that in the end bring the best experiences and memories.
How about you? Do you plan a lot? Or have you managed to make the transition from a travel planning freak to zen-like traveler?
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