Why you should travel at least once at the last minute
This article is in the process of being updated.
Many people plan their vacations and travel months in advance. After all, plane tickets are often cheaper, accommodation is cheaper – and a pre-planned trip offers the ability to plot routes, design timetables, and organize every detail.
And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with this type of travel – in fact, it is often necessary – last-minute travel can actually be less stressful, offer different experiences, and can change the way you see people. trips for good.
Less stress with last minute trips
For starters, deciding to book a flight or jump in a car on a little more than a whim is not only exciting, but also involves a lot less stress. Over-planning and scheduling every moment of a trip can cause a lot of stress before and during your trip. And if there’s anything that can ruin a vacation, it’s stress.
On the flip side, deciding to buy an impromptu plane, train or ferry ticket offers all the excitement and adrenaline of a trip planned weeks or months in advance – but without the anxiety about where to go, what to do, when to get there and what to bring.
Personally, I am typically an overplanner. When I travel I want to know the best season to visit, what kind of clothes to pack, what the best attractions are, the best ways to save money, and how to get to where I’m going once I get there. And while I always knew it created unnecessary stress levels on my travels, the fear of overspending or missing “must-see” attractions seemed worse.
Then, for a trip to Guatemala, I decided to leave only 24 hours before having to leave for the airport. I realized there was another way to travel. With the friends I was traveling with I found cheap flights … and the only other plan we made before take off was to book a hostel for the first night and figure out how to get there from there ‘airport. Everything else we organized on the fly after arriving and were able to look around to consider our options. As a result, it was the most stress-free trip I have ever experienced.
Live more with last minute travel
Another reason to consider spontaneous travel is that you will likely have more experience if you don’t fill your full-time schedule with events and attractions. When you don’t have plans, it’s much easier to walk around a tourist office or guide company, or even ask a local what activities are recommended. You will be able to fill your days and nights with all the distractions that interest you at that time.
When my husband and I decided to drive to Alaska from Texas instead of flying, it meant we had less than two weeks to prepare. Because we didn’t have time to plan – we just knew we wanted to take our time – we were able to travel up the mainland and back, stopping to see anything that caught our eye along the way.
We were able to spend a day in a natural hot spring recommended by a travel companion, hike in several national parks, and camp in places we would never have considered if we had planned every minute of our trip. We actually experienced more along the way because we had the time and very few separate projects.
We also came across street fairs in small towns, religious festivals, and outdoor concerts when we weren’t looking for anything in particular but were open to whatever experiences came our way.
It could change the way you travel
Maybe the # 1 reason for traveling last minute at least once is that it can just change the way you travel for good (especially if you’re used to traveling in a more structured way). New experiences, less stress, and unique challenges may very well await you – and you may never be able to revert to overly-planned and crowded travel schedules once you discover the freedom of spontaneous adventures.
When to Avoid Last Minute Travel
Naturally, there are times when impromptu travel is less exciting than a burden. In many parts of Europe, for example, accommodation must be booked well in advance, especially during peak periods when popular destinations tend to fill up quickly. If you don’t book in advance, you will likely pay a much higher overnight charge or have a hard time finding available accommodation.
On a trip to London my husband and I postponed booking a hostel on a Friday night. By the time we were ready to check in, every hostel within a mile was full and we ended up spending the night in a dilapidated, dirty, overpriced hotel room.
Also be aware of major events happening in your destination. Festivals and vacations can make it more difficult to book hotels and transport at the last minute.
The bottom line
Don’t be afraid to mix up your travel plans. Letting go of strict schedules and over-planning can open up a whole new world of experiences, and you never know what you might discover. That’s why you should travel at the last minute at least once in your life. Who knows? You might even take advantage of it.
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