How to Travel Without an Itinerary


Tips to Travel Without an Itinerary

Traveling without an itinerary may seem like a bit of an oxymoron, but many find this freeform style of travel more fun and fulfilling than a heavily-scheduled vacation. This contrarian method of seeing the world provides a more organic experience. You'll likely get to know a place far better than if you planned your days down to the hour.

What is it like to travel without an itinerary? 

Long. You won't really know what a place will be like until you get there, so why decide how long to stay before you even arrive? It's a lot more fun and practical to make these decisions in the moment. When you avoid locking in your schedule, you can leave a place on a whim, or hang out a week longer than you thought you would. You can change plans at a moment's notice based on a hot tip from a fellow traveler. You can wake up in the morning and decide what you feel like doing and then do it!

Is bad weather ruining your hiking plans?

No worries! Hop on a train for a few hours for a change of scene. Since you never placed a deposit on your hotel or tours, there's absolutely no loss. Traveling without an itinerary provides the ultimate freedom.

Who should travel without an itinerary?

It's important to get one thing straight: traveling without an itinerary isn't for everyone. It's not for people who are on a brief vacation from work. Thorough planning and pre-booking is still the best way to squeeze the most out of a short visit. It's also not for people who don't handle uncertainty well-and it's certainly not for people who aren't good at making decisions on the fly.

Traveling without itinerary takes a character of grit, calmness, and self-determination. It's a great idea if you are flexible, open to adventure, and can block out at least several weeks to wander, amble, and explore. Remember, this style of travel is not a vacation but rather, a journey. When you travel without an itinerary, you are a true adventurer, and adventure takes time.

What do you actually need to plan?

Nothing! The whole point of this style of travel is that you don't plan anything. Well, you probably will need to book a ticket. Many travelers choose to book a round-trip ticket. This is the most cost-effective method if you need to be home by a certain date. Say you book a round-trip ticket giving you a month. Then you have a month of freeform travel! Don't plan anything for that month. Follow your whims.

Just be back at the airport in time for your flight home. Some choose to book a one-way ticket and only book a flight home when they know their journey is coming to an end. This is the best method if you suspect to be flying back from a different destination. Use sites like Kayak and Skyscanner to scout out the best deals for flights on short notice.

How much should you research in advance?

It's a good idea to acquaint yourself with the country, city, or region where you intend to travel. Look at maps. Read guidebooks. Check online resources. You're not doing this to build an itinerary, but rather to get an idea.

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