Planning a travel itinerary can be helpful for people who like having a schedule and some sort of outline of what each day of their vacation will bring. Itineraries aren’t a bad thing. But have you ever considered traveling without one?
If the thought alone scares you to death, just hear me out. Leaving your trip open to interpretation can make for some pretty incredible experiences that you may not have had if you planned a set itinerary. Sometimes, the best things happen when you least expect – or plan for – them to.
Here are a few reasons to consider ditching the travel itinerary on your next big vacation:
You’ll Spend Less Time Planning
Whether you’re heading on a family-friendly vacation filled with activities or you’re backpacking through the wilderness of the Grand Canyon, there’s going to be some level of planning you’ll need to do to tie up all your loose ends.
However, if you want to planning every detail from the moment you arrive to the day you leave, you may want to rethink your strategy. Often, planning a vacation can be one of the most stressful parts because you find out how much you want to squeeze in your short timeframe. If you can’t fit something in, you’ll probably have loads of “what-ifs” and “should I have gone there instead?”.
Why stress yourself out over a vacation that’s supposed to be inspirational and entertaining? Ditch the itinerary and spend less time planning and more time getting excited over your upcoming travels.
It Leaves Less Room for Disappointment
It’s tough to imagine that your vacation could disappoint you, especially after you’ve had the idea of it in your head for months now. But it can – especially if you overplan for it.
The more you plan an itinerary before you leave, the more open you leave yourself to becoming disappointed if one of your planned activities goes awry. You might miss the bus to an activity, which can throw off your plan. Or, an outdoor activity might get rained out, leaving you stressing about how to fill in the gap.
A surefire way to reduce the risk of disappointment is to not overschedule yourself in the first place. Without an itinerary, you’ll have less commitments and more freedom to find things you want to do as you go. There’s no need to be a slave to an itinerary.
People In Your Group Can Do Their Own Thing
When you’re traveling with others, especially in a large group of people with very different interests, an itinerary can be one of the worst things for your trip. It’s not likely that everyone in your group will be in complete agreement with every activity on an itinerary, so this is a clear case where you may want to rethink your vacation planning.
The same holds true if you’re traveling with your partner. One-third of Millennials say that traveling with their partner can potentially end a relationship because it puts you within each other’s reach 24/7 throughout the vacation. You start to learn a lot more about each other than you would otherwise, and you might realize your interests don’t align as much as you think they do.
Your vacation shouldn’t be stressful. You decided to travel with the others in your group because you’re close with them and wanted more bonding time. Instead of relying on an itinerary, communicate daily with your group to suggest activities that everyone can enjoy. You might even end up loving something you never thought you would.
It’s Freeing and Flexible
Vacations should be relaxing in that they let you clear your head and stop thinking so much. An itinerary does the exact opposite – it forces you to think constantly about:
- What you need to do to prepare for the next day’s activities
- What time you need to wake up to get ready
- When and where you have to meet to get started
- How much money you need to bring with you
- How long you have to stay there before you have to be somewhere else
Itineraries can create a constant cycle of thoughts in your mind that you may not even realize is stressing you out.
Ditching the plan helps you stay flexible throughout your vacation, which can actually be quite freeing. Keep these tips in mind to have the most amazing and stress-free vacation.
You Can Be Spontaneous
Your vacation should be a time to try something new and explore new interests. One of the best ways to do that is by planning less and living in the moment throughout your vacation.
An itinerary doesn’t afford you the time to do something that you found while you were traveling. You’ll be forced to stick to your plan and may miss out on doing something else you could enjoy better.
Imagine rolling out of bed in the morning, opening up the curtains to let the sun in, and sitting down with your cup of coffee as you decide what you want to do that day. It can be exciting to have that level of spontaneity at your fingertips.