To Plan Or Not To Plan?

I’ll be the first person to admit that when it comes to planning, I’m probably not the person you want.

It’s not that I’m bad at it. If anything, I think I’m pretty good. I’m regularly the one out of my group of friends who books tickets for gigs and arranges holidays or nights out. I’ve recently just organised a trip to Blackpool for the darts and a night out for eight lads – a task I feel like putting on my CV!

The problem is this; I rarely bother planning anything.

My next destination!

Photo courtesy of Lancashire County Council.

Over the last few months, I’ve been asked by a few friends who are going backpacking if I have any advice to give them and my answer is always the same: don’t make too many rigid plans.

I’m not one of these people who needs to know where I’m going on a night out, what I’m having for my tea that night or what time I’m having it. I genuinely dislike having too much of a plan, I just feel like if I do plan too much and it doesn’t come off I’ll be really disappointed.

It makes sense that I carry this attitude over to travel. I never plan more than a couple of days in advance if I can help it. The large majority of plans I made in Australia were made a couple of days before they happened and I feel it added to the excitement. How else do you explain sleeping in a car after driving half way up a country?

Take my next trip as an example. The only plan I have made so far is that I’ll be flying out of Manchester to Bangkok on the 22nd February. I’ve not made any plans for accommodation yet and have no idea how long I’ll be staying there. Granted, the riots in Bangkok have forced my hand on this matter, but I must admit I love the uncertainty.

This isn’t to say that planning is a bad thing and there are a few differences between this trip and my Australia trip. Firstly, visas play a key role. In Australia, I was granted a 12 month working visa on the same day I applied for it online. Once I’d landed in Sydney I was legally free to get on with things and not really have to worry about my visa.

This battered old thing has served me well…

With my trip to Asia however, things are a little more complicated. I only booked my flight four weeks in advance and to be granted a 60 day tourist visa for Thailand, you need to send your passport off to the embassy in London with application forms, photographs and a few other things. I seem to remember my Indian visa taking a while, and I don’t really fancy 22nd February coming around and me being passport-less.

It seems “visa runs” are the done thing in these situations and from what I understand it involves you crossing the border into a neighbouring country, getting your passport stamped and crossing the border again. What could possibly go wrong?!

Another thing I need to think about is my travel vaccinations. I’ve been down to the doctor’s surgery and filled in a form to sort some jabs out. The form said to get in touch at least six weeks before travel. Yep, my bad…

What’s the worst that could happen? Typhoid schmyphoid.

Do you have the same attitude towards planning as me? Or do you like to have everything down to a tee?

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6 responses to “To Plan Or Not To Plan?

  1. Wow! I’m always intrigued when I meet travelers who just go with the flow. It certainly sounds free and adventurous! I admire this.

    For me, however, I’m constantly busy planning my trips and doing research about countries, landmarks, hotels and even national laws. As a young female solo traveler, I always encourage young travelers to do the same – mostly for safety reasons, but also to use money wisely, and to have a better understanding/appreciation for the things one might encounter.

    But, as I’ve said, I do admire your sense of adventure.

    Happy travels,

    Liz

    • Thanks Liz!

      I can see where you’re coming from and to an extent I also do that. I do like to have a basic idea of where I’d like to go and what I’d like to see, but I just try not to make too many solid plans as I feel they restrict me a little.

      I do completely agree with you on the safety front though, you can never be too safe!

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