To plan or not to plan?
This is a question that is constantly on my mind when I am planning a trip and am in the midst of my detailed itinerary fixing. For the kind of person I am, I EVEN LIKE TO PLAN, WHAT I WILL NOT PLAN.
The part of non- planning in my case is usually is for questions like “Where will I move to next, where will I stay and for how long?”.
I remember my first solo backpacking trip of 5 weeks to Central America, where I had practically planned and pre-booked everything in advance. I had gone through so many details that in case any one needed to find me without actually contacting me, all they had to do was go through my itinerary. Don’t believe me? Check out my earlier blog – 7 Steps to follow when planning your backpack trip
Do I regret that now?
No, I don’t.
After all, it was my first time stepping out into the big bad world and I had no clue of what to expect. And above that, I was going to countries like Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru etc which were suppose to be ‘crime infected'(wasn’t the case at all in actuality). And hence, planning and booking well in advance was a brilliant decision on my part.
However, now that I have become somewhat of a pro at travelling on my own, I feel the opposite. My current idea of travelling involves just booking my return flights so that I am aware where I am flying to and from where I have to return and the dates for the same.
This way I know which date I have to be in which country so as to be able to head back home. Other than that, all other days I am free to be where I wanted, stay for as long as I desired and be ‘flexible’ to the measure I wanted. Now my friends, this is my idea of the perfect backpacking experience.
This time, I am making my plans for my 2 week trip to Central Europe where I plan to cover Germany, Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary.
My flight from New Delhi, India lands in Berlin and on the 15th day, I know I needed to be in Budapest to catch my flight back to Delhi.
What I do in between will 100% be dependent on what I felt like doing at that moment. I have a rough route of what I would follow, but the number of days and the hostels I stay in are going to be flexible.
But when I say all this there is a point of caution that ‘newbies’ need to keep in mind. Ask yourself the question on whether you would be able to deal with the anxiety and uncertainty of where you will head to once you land in a new city, where you do not speak the same language, cannot pronounce half of the streets, have no relatives, friends or family to support you and might end up facing some unexpected and unpleasant surprises like being mugged, loss of baggage, getting hurt etc.
If the answer is YES, then go ahead with option 2 but however if there is even a slight hesitation in any of the above points, I suggest do your homework well and book in advance so as to not start the trip on a bad note.
What could be a mid path, is that you can book your stay for the first few days of your travel and let the other days open. You would have gotten in the flow in the first few days and thus can find your way comfortably by the time you reach the flexi-part of your trip.
I usually maintain an excel where I pre-research and note down 3-4 hostel options which have good reviews and are well in budget. That way, I can always book one of those options even a day in advance if I have made my mind to go to that particular city.
It is my personal opinion that the fun of travelling, lies in the part where you can do as you wish at any point without any restrictions.
The more you backpack/travel, the more you will find it easy to just pick up your luggage, choose a city and just leave.
I live by the below words and my advice is that you do too 🙂
“The words- I DON’T KNOW,
Have a lot of freedom in them.”
Keep reading my blogs as am next going to update you on the much awaited Euro Trip I am about to embark on.