Spontaneous or Planned Travel?

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For as long as traveling has been alive, people have been arguing whether it’s better to travel spontaneously or with a preplanned agenda. There are studies, forum arguments, and magazine articles all attempting to prove the benefits of each style of travel and why they are better, but what should we believe?

This is not so much a question I know, as it is a question I am currently trying to figure out. In the past, I have planned out the main places I would like to visit, and then planned out the rest of my days around those locations. I have always felt like this helped me gain the most out of a trip because I was able to visit all the “must see” places in a certain area. My trip to Brazil was the first time where I truly experienced a lack of itinerary. I was able to do what I wanted, and I didn’t try and stress myself out by trying to squeeze in every tourist attraction in the area. What I found out is that by doing this, I was able to better experience the local culture in a more relaxed and fulfilling manner.

So you might be asking yourself, “If you enjoyed spontaneous travel in Brazil so much, why don’t you do it everywhere you go?” The answer is time restraints. For most people, the average vacation ranges between one to three weeks, sometimes making it difficult to leisurely experience everything a new country or location has to offer. In these scenarios, where time is limited, I believe it’s important to list the general path and fill in the gaps as you go.

For example, when my girlfriend and I were in Hawaii last summer, we planned out a few of the beaches and locations that we wanted to see, but that was all. We left the time in-between relatively open so we could meander and explore. Now we could have tried to see every tourist attraction on the island if we wanted to, but by doing so we probably would have created a rushed and stressful environment.

So in recap, don’t feel obligated to see every “must see” tourist attraction in the area. Most of the time they are crowded and slightly disappointing. Try your hardest to choose a few places you want to see and be spontaneous in-between. To answer the question, “should I be spontaneous or planned out?” I believe the answer lies somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.

Have any advice on spontaneous travel? Comment below!

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