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Planning vs. Spontaneity

Are you the type of traveler that plans a detailed itinerary for each trip, or do you prefer to fly — or drive — by the seat of your pants? We recently posed this question on our Facebook page and discovered that when it comes to our readers, there’s no one travel style that fits all.

Writes Crystal-Grace S., “Spontaneity is key for me. Pick a place, do loads of research (travel articles, history, talk with folks who have been there), buy a travel ticket and then — take each day as it comes!”

Lori N.B. prefers a little more structure, but finds herself intrigued by the lure of the other side: “I’m a planner but one day I’d like to do a spontaneous trip just to break out of my box.”

Ken T.M. keeps it simple: “Either one as long as I’m traveling somewhere.” Amen to that!

There are pitfalls to either approach. Over-plan your trip and you could miss out on opportunities that come up at the last minute … or spend so much time dashing from one activity to another that you don’t get to fully appreciate any of them. (In fact, trying to cram too much into a single vacation is one of our Five Worst Trip Planning Mistakes.) But if you show up in a new place without doing your homework, you could find yourself standing in disappointment outside a museum you didn’t realize was closed on Mondays, or overlooking a fantastic restaurant you would have loved if only you’d read about it in your guidebook.

Discover useful tips for both planners and improvisers in Five Simple Ways to Make the Most of Your Vacation.

Are you a planner or a more spontaneous traveler?

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