Although I have been dreaming about travelling 'The World' and seeing as much of 'The World' as possible...The World is a pretty big place. The first step towards making a dream come true is creating a plan of how to make it happen, but, the question is - how much should you plan when it comes to travelling?
Depending on who you talk to, you will get different opinions on the matter. Some have advised me to plan as much as possible, others have told me to plan as little as I can get away with. In my opinion there are pros and cons with both approaches.
A well thought out plan will reduce the risk of missing out on anything that is a MUST on your bucket list. If there are particular things you want to do, see or experience then having a plan will allow you to organise your time and resources accordingly.
Another bonus of planning ahead is that it will allow you to book things such as accommodation, transportation and activities in advance. This is advantageous as you will have time to do research, read reviews and compare prices. You may also be able to pay in advance thus covering the cost before leaving for your trip. This will make it easier to clearly identify how much spending money you have once you are on the road.
On the other hand, a plan can be quite restrictive. One of the most exciting aspects of going travelling is discovery, both from an external and internal point of view. Being able to follow your instincts and let life unfold is a luxury that we don’t often get in every day life. On a daily basis there are obligations and responsibilities which often set out exactly where we need to be and what we need to do- be it work, school, personal commitments etc. Subsequently, one of the things I am looking forward to the most, is not being on a schedule.
Additionally, travellers often talk about how great it is to make friends along the way who often invite you to join them on impromptu trips. In these instances, being tied down to a specific itinerary could stop you from saying ‘yes’ to amazing opportunities. I think this would be particularly unfortunate if you are a solo traveller like myself.
Having considered the above, I have come to the conclusion that being a ‘spontaneous traveller with a plan’ will be the best compromise for me. By this I mean that I will set off with a lose outline of my route and sufficient information to make educated choices, whilst not being restricted by a schedule.
My plan will include:
- My starting point
- A list of places I want to see
- A list of recommended accommodations in each destination
- A list of recommended things to do in each destination
- A list of activities I want to take part in each destination
- Practical information for each destination i.e. required visas, location of embassy, currency, important laws and customs etc.
- A calculation of my budget per destination.
This style of planning would probably not be suitable if I had limited time to travel or if i wanted/needed to be in certain locations at specific times. At present however, I have no time restrictions and the only constraint I can foresee is running out of money - in which case I would have to revisit my approach.
One of the reasons I have chosen to go travelling instead of going on a two week holiday is because I want an adventure. I want to improve my ability to be spontaneous and to be present in the moment instead of always focusing on what to do ‘next’. Not over planning is the first step I am taking towards that goal.
I will let you know how that works out!