September 22, 2022

When To Plan And When To Be Spontaneous When Travelling

*This is a collaborative post*

There are times during travels when you need to make plans, and there are times when it’s more rewarding to be spontaneous. In order for your travels to go well, you ideally want to get the right balance of both. This post explains how to do that. 

When To Plan And When To Be Spontaneous When Travelling

Some things have to be planned 

When travelling abroad, there are some things that have to be planned in advance. The most obvious include applying for a passport and visas. Without these, you won’t be allowed into the country – and in some cases won’t even be allowed to board the plane. Passports can take several weeks to process and so it’s worth applying for a passport several months in advance. Visas typically need to be applied for a couple days in advance. 

Certain attractions may also require you to buy tickets in advance. Similarly, there may be some restaurants that only take advance bookings. If you don’t want to miss out on these attractions, you’ll need to plan and book ahead. 

You don’t have to plan every minute of your itinerary

Some people like to have every day planned out when travelling abroad – in some cases, planning the exact time of each activity. However, you don’t want your trip to be too regimental. Too much clockwatching and rushing around could make you stressed and take away some of the fun.

Certain attractions may have to be planned at certain times due to opening hours. There could also be busy periods that you want to avoid. However, not everything has to have a strict arrival time and departure time. 

You’ll likely have a budget 

Unless you’ve got lots of money in savings, you’ll likely have a tight budget when travelling. To prevent you overstretching this budget, you’ll need to refrain from being too spontaneous when it comes to spending money. Planning out accommodation in advance and comparing transport options could be necessary for helping you to spend less so that you can get more out of your trip.

That doesn’t mean that you have to look up menus in advance or decide exactly what souvenirs you’re going to buy, however you should try to have some idea as to what you want to be spending each day.

You may have a time schedule

It’s possible that you may not have to be back home by a certain date. However, for many people with commitments such as a job or kids in school, there could be time constraints. 

For things like road trips, it could be essential to plan out your route if you need to be back by a certain date – especially if there are certain places you want to see on your road trip. A visual trip planner could help you to plan out your route and where to stop. Such tools are fun and worth using to help you make the most of your trip. 

Spontaneity can be thrilling, but sometimes dangerous

Being spontaneous can provide many thrills. It can encourage you to take risks and get outside of your comfort zone. For example, you may meet people and end up going on a spontaneous night out or visiting attractions that you wouldn’t have otherwise visited. 

Of course, sometimes spontaneity can result in unpleasant situations. For example, you may fail to plan a hotel for the night on a road trip and end up having to sleep in your car overnight. While such situations are unpleasant, they can add to the adventure. The situations you need to be careful of are dangerous situations such as taking a random route on a mountain and getting lost or picking up a hitchhiker who ends up being a bit of a nutcase. Such situations can be even more dangerous if you’re travelling solo. All in all, you need to keep your wits about you and listen to your gut instincts – if a voice in your head is telling you not to do something, you should probably listen to it. 

Schedule time to be spontaneous

If you’re the type of person that over plans, then it could be worth scheduling time to be spontaneous (as contrary as that may seem). This could involve leaving an afternoon or even a couple days free to take as they come.

You could plan a day to simply go on a walk or drive and see where you end up. This is always fun when visiting cities – it could encourage you to get off the beaten track and see fascinating things you would have otherwise missed. 

Thanks for reading xxx


Hi and welcome to The Willow Tree. I’m Michelle, also known as Shel and I am a mama to three beautiful crazy kids – I have two handsome boys and a wild and wonderful girl.

I really wanted a concrete place to share my love for travel, in particular Disney and offer my readers a chance to gain some knowledge around what we love to do as a family of 5.

I share our family adventures which include days out, travel advice and tips, holiday reviews, restaurant visits and of course, our love for Disney, including Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World.

Life is about creating memories, and here we are sharing them with you




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