Most of us work hard to get the time to go on our treasured vacations, so we plan every detail to be sure they go off without a hitch. However, the unexpected turns of spontaneous travel can reward you with marvelous experiences and lifelong memories that you might have missed following a strict itinerary.
If you want to travel on a whim, but aren’t sure how to go about it, try out these six time-tested travel tips!
1. Fund a travel account
Money is one of the biggest hurdles of spontaneous travel. So set up a travel account and fund it faithfully to ensure you have cash on hand for spontaneous international travel or an impromptu weekend escape. Then use an app like Kayak to find bargain flights to virtually anywhere around the globe. Kayak’s Explore tool offers a map of the world with the cost of flights to various locations; it’s perfect if you’re not sure where you want to go, or you’re working with a limited budget.
Travel Tip: You’ll typically get the best priced flights and accommodations in the off-season. Travelling during non-peak times also allows you to absorb the true flavor of a city and get to know its residents.
2. Make a packing list
Last minute travel is fun, but in all the hustle and bustle it’s easy to forget to pack must-have items like your phone charger, medication, or passport. A master packing list can help you keep organized and focused, ensuring nothing essential gets left behind.
Travel Tip: Pen and paper will do, but for the ultimate packing list try Packing Pro. The app offers a robust list-making tool that helps you gather your supplies by category, customize categories, and more.
3. Create a bucket list
Don’t waste time you could be vacationing hemming and hawing over where to go. Make a bucket list of all the places you want to visit. Then organize it by estimated cost, regions of the world, or how long you plan to stay.
Travel Tip: Need inspiration? A great way to discover off the beaten path locales is by subscribing to a travel blog.
4. Avoid nonrefundable rooms and chain hotels
If you’ve sunk a few hundred dollars in to a nonrefundable hotel room, you’re probably not going to change your plans for a last minute excursion, no matter how tantalizing it seems. Instead, book just your first night or two of lodging, and then play it by ear.
Travel Tip: Chain hotels are convenient, but they don’t offer the flavor or flexibility of locally owned lodging or alternative lodging, like hostels, camp sites, or renting a room off Airbnb.
5. Talk to the locals
Guide books are helpful resources, but nothing beats chatting with the locals. From tipping you off to a can’t-miss boutique to telling you the location of an amazing trail, locals offer a wealth of information to fuel your spontaneous vacation.
Travel Tip: Head to a restaurant locals frequent and, instead of sitting at a table, grab a seat at the bar. Before long, you’ll not only know all the best things the city has to offer, you will have also made a new friend or two.
6. Always be prepared for international travel
You never know when the opportunity for spontaneous International travel will present itself. So keep your passport, visa, or any other necessary travel documents up to date and stored in a safe location.
Travel Tip: A good currency conversion app like XE Currency can be a lifesaver when you travel internationally. Download it now, so you have an idea of how far your dollar will stretch before your feet hit the ground overseas.
Traveling on a whim may take a bit of getting used to, especially if you’re a planner. But use these tips and once you start enjoying the experiences typical tourists miss, there’s a good chance you’ll be addicted to spontaneous travel.