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How to Take an Unplanned Vacation


It may feel extremely daunting, but getting out of town unexpectedly is not only possible, it’s good for you! In this article, I want to take you through the most important things to keep in mind when you decide to go somewhere unexpectedly. 

Photo from Pxhere

Prepare to be Spontaneous 

When you’re considering taking an unplanned vacation, it’s easy to make one simple mistake: overplanning it! If you lock yourself into too much of a schedule while you’re abroad, you’re defeating the purpose of getting away from your routine in the first place. 

That’s why right now your task is to find the balance between preparation and spontaneity. Keep things simple! Choose a destination, find a simple way to book tickets, find an accommodation and then leave it at that. 

In the weeks and days leading up to your trip, resist the urge to plan your days. Instead, put that effort into learning more about where you’re going. You’re bound to find things that interest you that you couldn’t have predicted! By the time you arrive, you’ll have a whole list of sights and experiences to discover at your leisure. 

Where Should You Go? 

With the whole world at your doorstep, the only thing holding you back may simply be analysis paralysis. Where can you go, when you can go anywhere? What would you see, when everything seems interesting? 

Start by giving yourself some perspective: an unplanned vacation, by definition, shouldn’t require a tremendous amount of preparation and logistics. You can strike your idea to traverse the Great Wall of China off of the list. Instead, think about places where interesting things to do are centralized: cities. 

By traveling to a big city and staying there, you remove the need to coordinate your movements overseas. You can be more spontaneous when you don’t need to constantly stay on the move across a foreign country. Save travel plans that involve road trips or train journeys, like exploring Norway’s Fjords, for your planned vacations. For now, simply put aside some time to explore cities that you’ve always wanted to see! 

Choosing a city also makes sense on a financial level. After all, it’s hard to save money for an unplanned vacation due to it being, obviously, unplanned. Picking one accommodation and staying there can cut down on your costs significantly. For some more advice about the financial side of this adventure, check out our article on money-saving tips for unplanned holidays

Photo from pxhere

Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things 

Ultimately, an unplanned vacation is a mental reset. It’s not just about traveling, it’s about your mental health: getting away from a toxic work environment, a boring routine, or even resetting your mind after a major life event. However, for this to work, you’re going to need to experience new things. 

While traveling, reject what’s familiar! Don’t go to restaurant chains you know you like, or stay in the hotel spa all day. Instead, make an effort to engage with where you are. Try new things, and remember that you may not like all of them, but you’ll certainly love some of them. 

If you’re bringing a friend or a family member with you, make sure it’s someone who’ll push you to gain new experiences. If your potential travel partner would be happiest staying in the hotel all day, only leaving to find the nearest McDonalds, then you may want to find someone else. 

Stay Safe 

Being spontaneous doesn’t mean being unsafe. Make sure you read about where you’re going ahead of time, and be sure that it’s safe to go there. When in doubt, you can always check the United States State Department’s travel advisory website for more information. 

You may need to make sure that your vaccinations against diseases like malaria, measles, and COVID-19 are up to date. In addition, read the news to find out about any political unrest that may affect your travel plans. This doesn’t have to be a revolution: something as simple as a city’s transportation workers going on strike can derail your trip! 

However, keep in mind that the purpose of travel warnings isn’t to dissuade you from travel! They’re simply meant to prepare you for any kind of unexpected obstacle you may face abroad. For example, you may hear warnings about pickpockets operating in Paris, but that hasn’t stopped millions of people from traveling there and having a wonderful time. 

Just Go For It!  

At the end of the day, don’t forget what this is all about – you! You deserve to step away from your burdens and responsibilities, and you’ll find them so much easier to bear once you return. By taking a brave step into the unexpected and unknown, you’re living life the way it’s meant to be lived. 

It’s natural to feel nervous and apprehensive before you make this decision. You may even talk yourself out of it. However, simply remember that being nervous before anything positive is natural! If anything, it’s a great sign that you’ve picked an exciting destination, and that you’ve done it at just the right time. 

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