Why you should take more spontaneous trips

You can only plan a few things in life.

And when it comes to traveling, planning becomes a practice of filling in the blanks. You know on Tuesday you’ll be climbing a mountain, but you certainly cannot plan all the circumstances associated with doing so.

When your planning is limited to purchasing a plane ticket, the possibilities are endless. Complete randomness becomes the blueprint for your trip.

In the next few weeks, I challenge you to take at least one spontaneous trip. It doesn’t have to be a complicated, long-distance vacation. Even something within a few hours of home is perfect.

I did just that this weekend. My buddy in Salt Lake City planted the seed when he pointed out a huge storm bearing down on the mountains above town.

After about an hour of discussion, we said to hell with it, let’s do this. So one buddy flew in from Denver, and another drove from Montrose, Colo. We were rewarded with feet of fresh powder for 10 hours straight. It was some of the most amazing snow I’ve ever shredded.

Look, I understand there are considerable drawbacks to taking such a lackadaisical approach to planning.

One of these days you will get screwed out of doing something because you didn’t make reservations or secure accommodations. Spontaneous travel might not be the most practical full-time approach to traveling.

Anything is probably better than sitting on the couch, though. Give it a shot. Go with the flow.

What is something spontaneous you have done recently?

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45 comments

    1. A planner personality, eh? Sounds just like my wife. Which is probably the reason why we’ve been on so many great trips. You have me saying “let’s just go” and you have her saying “yeah, that’s great and all, but you need tickets to this, and reservations to that.”

      Hey, like I said, there are drawbacks to this spontaneous approach. But I think everyone should give it a shot from time to time.

    1. I just read your post on Fort Stevens. Looks like a cool trip! I’ll have to get up there and check it out sometime.

  1. Sounds like a great weekend get-together and trip! I agree too, a bit of spontaneity can really increase the endorphins of life! Haven’t done anything too spontaneous lately – I admit I’m much more of a planner when it comes to most of my longer trips, although I do regularly do more local spontaneous trips. Actually I did make a spontaneous trip to Gettysburg in October. Was faced with a Monday holiday, and thus a 3 day weekend, & literally decided on the Thursday evening driving home that I’d do something fun. Decided on Gettysburg & was heading out there by late Friday. I guess that counts!

    1. Longer trips definitely do require significantly more planning. Shorter trips, such as the one you took to Gettysburg, are a little more feasible when it comes to being spontaneous. What you pulled off is exactly what I’m talking about. If it’s a choice between sitting at home watching TV or taking a spontaneous trip, I would go with the latter any day. Unless I’m feeling like a lazy slob. In which case a couch isn’t such a bad thing.

  2. We did that a lot when I was single. With family of two kids, every trip has to be planned in advance. Eat out is the closest to spontaneous we have done. Reading itself seems adventurous I am sure going for it must be equally thrilling!

  3. Hi,
    Hubby and I were just having tea the other night, when we were discussing his (short) break that is coming up in just over a weeks time, and I told him he should ring his mate up and see if their is any possibility of going deep sea fishing, he did just that, and he is flying up to his mates place to do some deep sea fishing. 🙂

    1. Funny you should mention deep sea fishing. I was just thinking about going out myself. Do you have any plans while your husband is pulling in a few sea monsters?

      I get the feeling you two have a lot of fun.

      1. No, no plans at the moment, we have had some really bad weather, so I may be helping out some friends if they get flooded, will just have to see.

  4. Wow, I suck. I haven’t hopped in the car with my gal to go to a new town in a while.
    In our defense, we’ve been taking care of a sick relative.

    So, unless agreeing to hop on a plane to see a concert counts, I’ve got nothing.
    Sigh…

    1. Life can easily complicate spontaneity. In your case, it’s probably better you hold off on spontaneously hitting the road. What concert did you go to? Must have been a good one if you were willing to fly to get there.

      1. Flying out to Indiana end of feb for Van Halen. Flew to Miami for U2 this past summer.
        Though really, it was to see Florence and the Machine, who opened.

  5. Haven’t done this recently, but a couple of years ago we decided on a whim to go to Spain. We found cheap airfare and purchased the tickets a couple of week before we left. It was one of the best vacations we had.

    1. Flying to Spain on a whim puts my random snowboarding trip to Utah to shame. Where did you go in Spain? And how much of the trip did you end up planning?

      1. Oh I don’t think it puts your trip to shame. All travels are worthwhile. We went to Barcelona. I had a chance to choose some things to do, but mostly we wandered around and explored the city. Most of my trips are planned way in advance. This was a rare example. And when we were there luckily we found out that the Tour de France was actually going through Barcelona one of the days we were there. It was an amazing thing to see.

    1. I don’t think it’s fair that Europeans are able to spontaneously explore a few countries over the weekend. Your Germany/France is my Nevada/Arizona.

  6. I completely suck at planning, so I’ve decided to give it up completely. : ) I recently took a 3 day road trip with a physicist from NASA to Del Rio…on the Texas/Mexico border. There may have been some planning on his part….but all I did was ask that he take me somewhere and prove that, in Texas, the stars at night ARE big and bright!

      1. ‘Made’ him do the planning? No….he was more than willing. He wouldn’t even tell me our destination…which was very cool! The stars were awesome….but the moon stole the show!

    1. I think us non-planning types need to stick with planning types. It creates an ideal balance between “let’s see where the wind takes us” and “dude, you have to buy tickets to ride the wind.”

      1. I completely agree Eric, and well said! (I’m picturing a panel cartoon of some guy trying to buy tickets to ride the wind…..I just can’t come up with a witty caption for it!)

    1. Not yet. We hope to go soon, though. My buddies and I were actually just talking about snowboarding in Europe, which I am 100% supportive of.

      1. Apparently, I have too many friends with birthdays this month and that’s been cutting into my free weekends for travel.

        However, I have nothing President’s Day weekend. Does it still count as spontaneous if I plan the date but not the location?

  7. For the first 5 honeymoons, we kept finding really cheap tix to Europe. We hadn’t even planned on going, but walked by the travel office right in front of UT and saw the crazy price. So the first trip was planned, but the later ones were because we couldn’t NOT go. $150 to London. I KNOW. So once we were there, we knew where we were starting and where we needed to end up, but we kind of went by which train was coming the soonest.

    Now I couldn’t imagine doing that because we have a toddler. And the amount of crap that we have to bring even on a road trip is ridonk. But I can do a couple of days ahead and be cool with hopping in the car to see a friend a couple hours away. I relished the freedom when it was there!

  8. MONTROSE!

    Well played sir. And GREAT ADVICE TO ALL. Throw a dart at a map and make it happen.

    I’m currently (for familial reasons in Denver again) but Durango, Telluride, Ouray, (I’ll keep heading north… along the Western slope) G.J. and best of all, my favorite weekend hiding/writing spot when I’m in Colorado and don’t have someone else’s house, and want a cheap room with a groovy HOT SPRINGS, Glenwood Springs, is VERY well known to me.

    Thanks for your “like.” Always appreciated.

    1. Yes! I’m very familiar with each spot you mentioned! While I love all of Colorado mostly, I especially love SW Colorado.

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