Ima Wideman

Ima Wideman

How Not Having An Itinerary Can Mean A Better Quality Vacation

Everyone wants to travel. Okay, maybe not everyone. But the vast majority of people claim that traveling is one of the main things that they want to do more of in life. People get caught up in the redundancy of their day to day lives. Their jobs consume them. Responsibility is overwhelming. The romanticism and freedom of travel beckon like nothing else.

Not only does traveling create the ability to live freely, but it also provides opportunities that aren’t available in most people’s daily lives. Things such as trying foods they would never have at home, experiencing adventures and activities that aren’t possible where they live, and seeing places that they’ve only read or heard about.

Traveling is hands-down, one of the best ways to experience life and all that the world has to offer. But it is also something that many people refrain from for the simple fact that they become incredibly discouraged by the thought of all that planning they have to do. Traveling costs money. Traveling requires a great deal of time focused on locations, events, sites, hotels, food, and transportation. Doesn’t it?

Actually, more and more people are discovering the fun, excitement, and thrill of traveling without a plan. When you first decide that you’re going to be traveling somewhere, you’ll need to determine a basic destination, figure out how you’re getting there (are you flying, taking a train, or hopping in an RV?), and have some ideas about your lodging. But everything else is free game.

You don’t need to determine what you’re going to do each day or what you’re going to see. You don’t need to pick your restaurants or what tourist attractions you’re going to visit. You don’t need to figure out events to experience or places to go.

It’s definitely a good idea to do a little research about the area you’ll be visiting and to have a basic understanding of what’s around and what is available to do. But leave it at that.

The whole idea of “living in the moment” is right on. This incredibly popular philosophy has taken off because people realized that they were throwing their lives away by living in a much too regimented and planned out manner. They weren’t leaving anything to chance. There was no room for excitement, adventure, or veering off the straight path.

Then suddenly, people began to wake up. They realized that they weren’t really bound by any rules. It dawned on them that to truly experience life, you need to live in each moment instead of living by a checklist, focused solely on the future.

Traveling is no different. When you are in a new place with a planned out checklist of what to do, where to go, who to see, what to eat, and what to experience, you’re not really experiencing much of anything. You’re just going from one thing to the next, checking each off along the way. Not to mention, you’re missing out on all those amazing things that come your way that just can’t fit into your carefully crafted agenda.

Not only does traveling without a plan ensure that you are able to truly live in the moment and enjoy your travels, but it also makes your build-up to the trip much more simple and enjoyable. Planning for a trip is stressful and time-consuming, and often by the time people are off and experiencing all of the things they researched and planned, they’re burnt out and incapable of truly enjoying it.

Instead of spending the time before your trip being strategic and wracking your brain to plan the seemingly perfect use of your time traveling, you get to relax and day dream. Imagine what your trip will be like. Dream about the different things you could do and the incredible adventures ahead of you. Hold them loosely, knowing that different things will come your way, but whatever adventures you have will be amazing.

Once you finally arrive at your travel destination, the fun really begins. Without a set plan, you get to do whatever sparks your interest and sets your heart on fire. Chat with the locals. Ask around. Learn from the people who live in the area. Let them send you to the best little hidden gems around. Eat at the best restaurant that you can’t find in any travel guide. Check out the nightlife that only the locals know about. Take the back roads and short cuts. Visit the tourist destinations that spark your interest at the moment, instead of the one you planned to go to months ago that sounds just plain awful now.

Traveling this way not only allows you to have the most fun you could possibly have, but it also provides the opportunity for you to truly get to know the place you’re visiting. Travel guides and destination websites can only offer so much. Local information and recommendations provide a much more realistic and enjoyable experience. Your trip will become more authentic and you will get a taste for what the location really holds.

In the end, your unscripted trip will provide you the opportunity to slow down, enjoy yourself, and truly live in the moment. You will get to experience true freedom knowing that, for just this moment, you get to do whatever sounds good.

So, the next time you’re getting ready to go on a trip put the pen and paper down. Stop researching. Stop planning. Just get yourself ready and go. You’ll have the trip of a lifetime.

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