5 reasons to travel without a plan

It’s about finding your own way to enjoy the journey no matter what happens


I am a backpacking junky.

In my last trip, I thought I should just skip planning and go with the flow since I’d always diverged from plans in my past experience.

Knowing only the hostel I would be heading and nothing beyond that, I was a bit nervous when I embarked on the journey. However, it was quickly overpowered by burning excitement deep inside that couldn’t wait to unfold upcoming adventures.

In a hind sight, having no plan is actually a pretty awesome plan.

1. You make friends easily

When you have no plan, your priority is to gather information so that you are able to make informed decision for your next move. What’s better way than asking people with first hand information?

Ditch ‘Lonely Planet’ and talk to people.

The first friend I make is usually cab driver from airport transfer or hotel receptionist. I would get tips from them about best local foods, hang out spot and also how to get around without getting conned.

The other good source is fellow travellers who would share with you their travel itinerary. A simple act of asking often leads to sharing of personal stories or even meeting travel partners for part of your journey.

It was amazing how no plan had lead to fun experience with people I met at different places.

2. Live in the moment

When you travel to a new place, all you want to do is to explore and hope that you see the most authentic DNA of the city.

Some days, you just walk out and let your guts navigate you around. You experience the smell in the air, the sound, the surrounding, the language, the interaction between people with all your senses.

The excitement in discovering new things around you makes you feel alive and present.

It’s refreshing to break free from your usual routine and be in the state where you would ask yourself,’ what do I feel like doing right now?’ And then you do just that.

3. Create your own footprint

A travel guide is created by someone who has explored a place. We could choose to repeat what people have done, or we could create our own footprint in a new place.

What if you choose to take the longer route to reach a place? Purposely make a wrong turn? Or go into a shop just because it looks interesting?

You will come to realise that you have full mastery of your life when you are in charge of every single decision throughout the journey. Studies have shown that making decision increase happiness level.

Sometimes you might end up in a dead end or tried some really horrible food but you know what? You learn and you move on.

Travelling without a plan enables you to craft your own unique story when you travel.

4. Pivot, pivot, pivot

Without any preplanning and pre booking, it is almost impossible to be stuck in a bad plan.

I love how I can literally make decision based on random factors such as mood and weather.

If the accommodation sucked, you can always switch to a new one on second night. If you came across an exciting exhibition or concert that wasn’t mentioned in your guidebook, you can choose to extend your stay and check it out.

Without a fixed schedule, your journey can be fluid and dynamic. You are constantly absorbing new information and adjusting your to-do or to-go list.

You can always pivot until you get the best experience out of it.

5. Self discovery

When there is no plan, you could observe how you reach a decision and the pattern of your thought process.

It is common for travellers to face difficulties while in a place where you have no contact or resources. But it is not the plan that matters; it’s about finding your own way to enjoy the journey no matter what happens.

Whatever the outcome is, you know you make your own choice and you embrace it with gratefulness. In the end, you are going to learn as much about yourself as the new place you were in.

The essence of travelling is not about perfect experience.

It is a breakaway from old environment where we could learn to appreciate abundance in life and broaden our perspective. It is about turning things around when shit happens.

The bigger the world we see, the bigger our heart is, the more we can give.