Should You Plan Your Road Trip or Be Spontaneous?

Plan vs Spontaneous

Are you debating whether to plan a road trip vs. going on a spontaneous trip wherever the highway takes you? Life isn’t complete until you go on a spontaneous road trip, but that’s not to say your next road trip should be spontaneous. Both planned and unplanned road trips have so much to offer.

So should I plan my road trip or wing it? The best option for you depends on where you’re headed, whom you’re going with and the kind of trip you are envisioning in your head. Here are some pros, cons and considerations worth making to help you decide!

Top Related Article – Best National Park To Visit

Plan a Road Trip: Pros

You get to see everything you want to see. Planning ahead of time gives you the opportunity to research areas you are driving through or even tailor your route around destinations you want to see.

You are less likely to end up in a jam. A well-planned trip can still be full of the unexpected, but it’s less likely you’ll end up stranded in complete darkness with no gas because you took a random road to nowhere. Planning ahead also helps you steer clear of unsafe areas or places you might otherwise avoid.

You are prepared for all activities. When you plan your road trip down to every last detail you know exactly what to pack in regards to weather, activities and so forth.

planned vs spontaneous

Plan a Road Trip: Cons

Planning sucks. It can take a long time to plan a road trip even with help from apps like Roadtrippers. You have to research all of the places you want to go, the best route to get there, the hotels or campsites you will stay at along the way, and so forth.

Following schedules is stressful. Day to day life is filled with schedules and deadlines putting us at constant war with time. This war should cease on vacation, but a road trip planned down to every last detail can cause unnecessary stress. 

You have less freedom to be spontaneous or take on unexpected invitations. You never know who will meet or what you will see when you’re out on the road. If you’re always racing to your next hotel reservation you’ll miss out on the spontaneity of road trips, plus you’ll miss the opportunity to just say yes to an odd invitation or opportunity that comes your way.

Spontaneous Road Trip: Pros

You are less likely to get trapped at a campsite or hotel you hate. If you book a campsite or hotel ahead of time and put down a deposit, you might be stuck staying there regardless if you like it or not. By booking your accommodations as you go, you have the opportunity to see a place in person before making a decision to stay there.

You have the chance to discover things you otherwise never would. When you wander this beautiful Earth without purpose you’ll discover all kinds of unexpectedly wonderful things. Without an itinerary to follow you can be more in the moment to fully experience it all.

You can say yes to anything that comes your way. The best part of an unplanned road trip is where you end up when it’s all said and done, and it’s never where you expected. You never know who you will meet or where you will go when time is no longer holding you back.

planned vs spontaneous

Spontaneous Road Trip: Cons

No reservations may result in limited options. If you travel without reservations during peak season, on the weekend or to busier parts of the country you might find your options for accommodations and other services are limited. There’s also the chance you’ll drive past the only available accommodations for hours at 5 pm, leaving you driving through the night or sleeping in the back of your car on a desolate highway.

There is a possibility for anxiety. Depending on your personality a spontaneous road trip can cause anxiety.

You might miss out on cool landmarks, museums and so forth. No matter if you are driving through urban cities or camping in National Parks, you take the risk that you miss seeing something you’d really enjoy simply because you don’t know it exists.

planned vs spontaneous

Plan My Road Trip: More Things To Think About

Who are you going with? Are they a fun go-with-the-flow person? Or are they easily upset if things don’t go exactly how they wanted? As mentioned above, some people get very anxious on unplanned road trips so pick your companions wisely.

Do you have any time to plan a road trip? Perhaps you could plan some aspects of your road trip and leave the rest to spontaneity.

In what general direction are you driving? If you’re going to a popular area or traveling during peak season, you might want to consider making some reservations ahead of time to prevent having limited or no options.

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planned vs spontaneous

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