5 Ways to Get the Most from Your Unplanned Trip

Updated: Sep 1, 2020

I am currently on my very first unplanned solo-trip. And I have to say, it is not all rainbows as so many articles and fellow travelers had led me to think.

For one thing, I hadn’t done any research (since when does a travel planner have time to plan her own trip?) and came to find out that lodging in the areas I had in mind was way out of my budget. I’m spending a lot of time just trying to figure out where I’ll sleep next and how to get there instead of enjoying where I am. Frustrating is an understatement but I also feel guilt for not enjoying the journey and that’s not cool!

To avoid future mishaps, I made a list of a few strategies to get the most out of an unplanned trip. I wish I had known these sooner but we learn from experience, right?

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1. Have a general outline in mind but be open to it changing. I had that part down. What I didn’t do is put each destination into Airbnb or another favorite booking platform so I’d have an idea of what kind of pricing I’m looking at to avoid any surprises.

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2. Know the cultural basics. Do NOT be like me and not even know how to say “Sorry, I don’t speak German.” Not proud of that one.. Print or email yourself a page of basic phrases so it’s ready to grab and study on the train ride over. Also include info on cultural etiquette like tipping (restaurants, taxis, bartenders).

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3. Pack light. If you’re traveling with no plan, you’re probably moving around a lot! Rather than pulling everything out of your closet that you might want to bring and trying to narrow it down, start with writing a list of items you need then fill in each category. For example, 2 casual tops, 2 nice tops, 1 pair of pants, 1 dress, etc. Check out this article on organizing your suitcase for stress-free travel.

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