One of the hardest things about adulthood is the inability to be spontaneous. We have errands to run and family commitments and social events and work piles up. So generally planning to take a trip has to be a deliberate and very well-thought out process. We lose the spontaneity of jumping into the car and driving 3 hours just to spend the day at the lake or taking a train to another country just because we can. Using these handy tips, you can plan ahead for spontaneous trips without actually planning anything at all.
Work on your to-do list
The biggest inhibitor to spontaneity is having a lot of pending things to do. Procrastination often works against you when it comes to groceries, doing laundry, going to the bank, pumping gas, or buying last minute gifts. Because we tend to put off these menial tasks, we leave ourselves with no choice but to do them when we have a day or two off to get them all done at once. The problem with this is that it prevents us from using our free time to do something we actually enjoy.
If you think you might want to take a spontaneous day trip soon, work on your to-do list. So you might actually wake up one Saturday and realize that you have nothing to do. So maybe you can take that drive to the mountains you had been thinking about.
If you’re thinking about taking a day trip in any given stretch of time, don’t commit to anything else. If you get invited to dinner, to a party, to volunteer, just say that you’re not sure if you’re available that day. This doesn’t completely eliminate the possibility that you’ll make it to whatever you’re invited to, but it doesn’t tie you down to anything. This allows you to decide to take a trip at the last minute if you feel like it. And if you don’t, you can pretend you did so you don’t have to go to anybody’s baptism.
Let the weather guide you
One of the things I hate about booking travel in advance is that you can’t really be sure the weather will cooperate. So you might have booked a weekend at the beach months in advance only for it to get rained out. Taking a spontaneous trip is a perfect way to ensure you have the right weather conditions for whatever you want to do. Using the weather to determine when to do something is particularly necessary for things like boating or skiing, where inclement weather might be dangerous or at the very least, unpleasant.
Get in the habit of keeping things ready to go
You know how some people keep a gym bag in their car so that if they ever feel inspired to go to the gym after work, they don’t have to go back home to change? If you’re interested in taking more spontaneous trips, you should get into the habit of doing something similar for travel necessities. Keep your camera charged, so you can just grab it and go. Don’t put off laundry. Finding out your bathing suit is in the dirty clothes bin is one of the quickest ways to deflate inspiration for spontaneous travel. Keep things like passports and portable batteries handy so you don’t have to waste time looking for things you need.
Don’t be afraid to go alone
As hard as it is to find a day or two to go away yourself, it’s even harder to find someone who will be available to go with you. Think about how hard it is to simply get together for dinner. But don’t let that deter you. If you’re free and have no commitments or errands, you shouldn’t let other people’s schedules deter you. Take whatever you happen to be reading or take a portable music player and unwind by getting away for a bit.
Take a last minute day off
When it comes to taking time off, we tend to reserve last minute days off for sickness. Probably because we’re taught to value working over living. But there’s nothing wrong with waking up one day and saying “Fuck it, I’m not going into the office today because I’m leaving town.” Alternatively, you can ask to work from home and take your work with you on a long train ride or to a reclining chair on the beach. Find a boss that understands or get a new boss. Just remember that if you’re going to lie about it, you should keep your spontaneous travels off social media. Caveat: I obviously don’t mean springing a week-long excursion on your employer at the last minute. But nothing is going to fall apart if you give yourself a long weekend once a year.
Set up travel alerts
Sometimes you need a little push to get yourself to take a short trip. And nothing gives us a better push than finding out there’s an amazing deal right around the corner. A travel deal alert can bring instant inspiration right to your inbox. Whether it’s slashed prices on last minute hotels or an attraction you want to see, knowing you can go right now for less than it normally costs is a great reason to go right now. Consider signing up for email blasts from travel companies you use and trust.
Follow events you might be interested in
A good reason to take a last minute day trip is to attend a special festival, sporting event, or concert. Don’t have tickets? No problem! Look for last minute deals on the secondary market and take off. An event is a great way to inspire you to go somewhere since they won’t always be there, even though the city will. So if you’ve been wanting to go somewhere but you needed a good reason, your favorite band or football team having a game nearby is a great one.
Need other reasons to take a spontaneous trip? Here are a few!
You don’t have to go if you don’t want to
The best thing about spontaneous trips is that you don’t have to take them. Unlike all other commitments that demand your attendance whether you feel like it or not at that particular moment, a completely unbooked trip is risk-free. If you didn’t sleep well or you woke up and the idea of a spontaneous trip no longer sounds appealing, you simply don’t have to go.