When you are going on vacation, you understandably want to plan everything. Your departure and return dates are pretty definite and you want to lock down your hotel and rental car reservations. While it’s normal to try to get the most out of your vacation by scheduling every waking hour down to the nanosecond, you might find that you will have a more memorable time if you leave some room for unplanned adventures. To be a more spontaneous traveler, check out the following tips:
Plan Only One Tourist Stop per Day
Yes, you are visiting a city with amazing things to do and see. Yes, you will be there for a limited amount of time and want to get your money’s worth. But remember, this is a vacation, not a contest to see how much you can cram into one day. Schedule one attraction per day, period. If you can, head out early in the morning to avoid long lines and huge crowds and get the most out of the experience. This leaves the rest of the day for whatever unplanned fun comes along.
Bring a Smartphone With a Long Battery Life
When figuring out which local cafe has the best lunch items or which off-the-beaten-path beach is free from tons of tourists, your smartphone is your best travel companion. To help you plan your time on the fly, bring along a drop- and water-resistant smartphone that has a long battery life. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has a battery that lasts for up to 36 hours of talk time and a whopping 14 days of standby time. As a major bonus, the rugged phone will not freak out and die if you accidentally drop it in a fountain or on the sidewalk. It also has a removable SIM card, which is a nice feature for overseas travel.
Talk to the Locals
One of the best ways to have unplanned adventures while on vacation is to reach out to the locals for advice. The simple act of talking to people will lead to fantastic recommendations and suggestions. Start with the hotel staff and ask where they love to go for an authentic meal or what must-see sights they would suggest. You can also get great ideas from fellow tourists. Ask the people next to you in line for the museum what they have enjoyed the most about their stay so far, and then pick one of those activities to do next.
Look for Local Newspapers
Instead of relying on websites for reviews, use local papers for ideas on what to do. Many cities have small community papers that are brimming with concert listings, workshops, festivals, open houses at museums or new stores, and other ideas of things to keep your unscheduled self busy.
Leave One Day Completely Open
This might go against every fiber of your vacation planning being, but allow for one completely unscheduled day. Even if this means doubling up on an attraction for another day, that is OK; the idea is to have time to try new things and maybe even relax. You may find that you will remember the spontaneous cannonball competition in the hotel pool or the last-minute decision to take surfing lessons much more than standing in line for yet another art museum or show.