Why I Don’t Plan My Solo Trips…

Besides accommodation, I’m the type of person to never really plan my solo trips. It all started about seven years ago when I took my first solo-trip to Italy. You’d think, as I was only 18 at the time and new to travelling, I would put some thought into what I would do abroad but I just booked a flight for later in the week and went. Was I spontaneous or was I naïve? I guess it depends who you ask! However since that first solo-trip, I’ve followed a similar approach to travelling. Now, when I travel with a group my approach is different as I feel responsible for making sure others have a good time, but when I travel alone that’s a different story….

You may have seen in my other posts that I frequently mention how much I rely on walking. I rarely catch public transport when I’m out and about. Yup, even a location 60 minutes away I’ll almost always just walk. I feel completely at peace walking in my hometown, but when I’m abroad there is the advantage of seeing things you’d never normally see. I’m talking about random little restaurants or photo-worthy streets even a Google search wouldn’t pick up. No expectations I guess! Sure, sometimes I end up walking 30 mins for somewhere to eat without much luck but I usually become distracted by something else. It goes without saying, I’m street-savvy and cautious but just following random pavements and signs gives me experiences I wouldn’t have ever imagined. Some of my favourite memories include walking to a hidden beach or stumbling across the BEST local food in a small rural zone.

Another reason why I prefer not planning a solo-trip is because I never really know how I’ll feel that day. I’d describe myself as a sociable and confident human but I struggle with anxiety. It just seems to creep up on me unexpectedly. The type of anxiety which makes even leaving your accommodation to buy a bottle of water impossible. With age, I’ve learnt what works best for me when I get anxious abroad but it made me realise how basing my activities on how I feel that day gives me more control. That’s why I won’t promise myself things like ‘On Tuesday I’ll go here and on Wednesday I’ll go there’. My anxiety has improved over the years from a mixture of medication and self-awareness, but even to this day, when I arrive somewhere new I’ll always have a chilled one to gage how I feel. Then I just take things from there without set plans. Don’t get me wrong – I like to do a quick search of a restaurant online the moment I see the building, or I’ll search up a location’s hashtag for picturesque views when I want to unwind. However, I tend to do that all on the spot. If you’re interested in some apps I use for backpacking then I’ll link you to a previous post: My Favourite Apps for Solo-Travel, Backpacking and Exploring

Whether lack of planning is my way of re-living the memories from my first solo trip I don’t know, but it made me realise how much I enjoy being spontaneous. Unpredictable experiences definitely keep me excited.

What’s your approach to the topic? Are you an avid planner? Do you prefer to go with the flow? Or, perhaps you mix the two together? That’s never a bad thing! Let me know in the comments, I’m curious!

Until then, see you in the next post

24 Comments Add yours

  1. Sunayna Prasad says:

    It’s amazing how you don’t plan to take solo trips. I am the complete opposite. I also admire how you can walk an hour to a place last minute. That is not an option to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much 🙂 what’s your favourite way to plan trips ??

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Traveling is my joy but I won’t travel Solo.

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    1. Thank you for reading – who do you like to travel with ?

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      1. Usually with my hubby.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Rebecca says:

    I’m by no means a spontaneous traveler; I plan EVERYTHING before I go on my trip, down to the hour of what I’ll do, see, eat, etc. I think geography has something to do with it, as I’m from the US and going on any trip that’s out of town requires at least a general itinerary to maximize the time to get there and enjoy ourselves. That mindset affected my trips in Europe, as I would plan even weekend getaways down to the T. Everyone has their own way of travel, so whatever works for you is the best!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You must be the perfect person to travel with because this sounds so useful! 🙌

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kyle Cash says:

    I’ve found that doing a little planning is alright, but allowing yourself to arrive in the place and just go with the flow almost always leads to better experiences. This is just my experience.

    I can relate to the anxiety you feel on even minor things like going into a small shop for a bottle of water. I’ve found that just getting myself out the front door, even if I don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going, helps a lot. The minute that sun touches my skin, my entire attitude towards it changes.

    Keep on working at it, though, it’s tough to deal with.

    Kyle, The Travel Runner

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Totally agree, going with the flow leads to such unique opportunities 🤝

      Ohhh I’ll definitely keep this in mind about the anxiety point, thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Vansh Tiwari says:

    I used to plan and search a lot about the destination before leaving. The local transport are always by preferred choice of moving even if it’s a completely new place. It feels absolutely amazing to travel locally and mostly importantly a kind of a slow traveling.

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    1. Great point! It does seem like some aspects of traveling require a little more planning than other elements

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Vansh Tiwari says:

        Yeah, correct!

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  6. What inspired you to take your first solo trip? I am the type of person who plans every detail but sometimes I think that can take away the enjoyment and ability to be spontaneous so I’m working on letting go a bit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In all honesty, receiving a student loan when I was 18 and not knowing what to spend it on! 😂 I always knew Italy was a place I wanted to see so made a last minute booking! How do you usually plan? Do you use specific apps ?

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  7. Haha I love that a great way to start! Usually just by doing a lot of research and writing an itinerary. I haven’t really got into any apps though are there any you find particularly useful?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I recently tried out cool cousin and really liked it! It’s locals who put out their best spots in the city so it’s really good for finding places that are hidden gems !

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh no I think they deleted the app from App Store!

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      2. Amazing thanks for the tip 🥰

        Like

  8. Stuart Fahy says:

    I do less and less planning the more I travel. On my first trip (a month doing Interrail around Europe) I planned everything! Then there was a French train strike and I had to reevaluate my route. Since then I plan where I’m going to be in advance less. I enjoy the freedom and the option to travel with other I might meet on the way. Now, before I go, I usually book my flight (obviously) and my first accommodation and see what happens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this! Going with the flow >>>>
      How was Interrail? Do you recommend? It’s always something I’ve wanted to try!

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      1. Stuart Fahy says:

        It’s definitely worth doing. Although for me it was my first trip, so it was a while ago. My inexperience travelling definitely showed too. I took full advantage of the train journeys, but I moved around a lot! If you don’t want to move around so much then it might not be worth the price of the Interrail ticket.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This is great to know! Thanks so much for this insight! 😇

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Nic says:

    I used to plan every single detail of my solo trips, but now I am more of a mix. Like yourself, I also suffer from anxiety (at times, depression), and one of the reasons I like solo travelling is because I don’t have to fulfil anyone’s expectations but my own. So if I feel like going on 1 hour walk, I will, but equally, if I feel like just staying in a park sitting for 2 hours, I will as well.

    Right now, I still like to plan a few things – like you said, the accommodation is always booked in advance, but I also like to have a list of things I’d like to see and do. There may be certain museums closed on certain days or even other stuff you need to book in advance… but other than that, I allow myself to have about 60% of my trip “unplanned”. Thanks for the post, great post and topic!

    Like

    1. Thanks so much! I’m really glad you enjoyed reading this post 🙌

      Ohhh I totally agree! It’s so nice having the chance to just get up and go explore whenever you feel like it, rather than waiting for others! Very true about some activities needing booking too, like certain events ☺️

      Like

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