It can be tempting to over plan a trip. It can be comforting to hold up your binder full of reservations, schedules, and brochures and think I’ve got this! There’s nothing wrong with booking accommodations ahead of time during peak season or researching some sights you would like to see. That being said, don’t plan your trip down to the very last detail and minute. An over planned trip is like a trip in handcuffs – you need to give yourself the freedom to wander, to discover, and to be spontaneous. Avoid over planning your trip so that you can be more flexible. You’ll discover that some of the best things that happen on your trip are the things you didn’t plan.
“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans” – John Lennon
Why Less Planning is the Best Plan
When planning a trip, your list of things to do can seem endless. I can tell you from years of experience that the more you plan your trip, the more anxiety you will face. You’re going to overwhelm yourself with so much information that you’re going to do nothing but stress over it. Trips should be fun and exciting not stressful and overwhelming!
Have a general idea of what direction you want to go, plan your first few stops, and then just go with the flow. It can be difficult and stressful to stick to a lengthy plan and detailed plan. Before leaving on your trip you can get yourself organised and prepared by following a travel checklist of what you need to do before travelling abroad.
Timing is Hard to Get Right
One reason to avoid over planning a trip is that timing is hard to get right. You do the best you can to schedule your day and to stick to that plan. The thing is, life doesn’t care about your plans. There’s always a chance that something will happen that can interfere with keeping to a schedule. You sleep in by accident. You miss the bus. The bus breaks down. It’s hard to plan with so many unknowns. Being off schedule can cause you stress and anxiety. Avoid this by having a loose schedule and being more flexible.
You scheduled one hour for this or that only to discover, once you arrive, that it’s awesome and you want to stay for three hours. You can’t stay because the rest of your day is already booked and planned.
Unexpected Advice From a Local
Locals know best. They could offer you some great suggestions about something to see or do. If your schedule is too tightly booked, then you might have to turn down the chance to do something the locals recommend.
You Meet Someone You Want to Travel With
You might meet another fellow traveller that you get along with, especially when travelling alone. When you find out what their travel plans are you might want to join them, even for one day. If they have already been in the area for a while they might recommend something they did and liked. With a packed schedule, you might not be able to squeeze in a great suggestion.
The Weather Doesn’t Care About Your Plans
Even if you check the forecast, the weather can often be unpredictable. If your schedule is more flexible, then you can adapt to these changes in weather.
Nooooo this is my beach day!
Too Much to Keep Track Of
The more you have planned, the more you have to keep a track of and remember. This can become overwhelming as you try to make sure you’re here or there at all the right times.
Always Thinking About Your Next Move Instead of Enjoying the Moment
Instead of checking your watch to see how much time till the next planned activity, or thinking about what you have to remember for tomorrow, take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.
If you’re too fixed or set on a certain schedule or idea of what your trip should be like, you’ll be more likely to miss opportunities that arise.
Freedom to be Spontaneous and Flexible
Mistakes to Avoid When Planning A Trip: Avoid Over Planning
In addition to over planning a trip, there are a few other mistakes to avoid when planning a trip that you should know about. Just remember to breathe and relax. Everything will work itself out and when it does, you’ll wonder why you stressed so much in the beginning.