Are you an impulsive traveler or a planned traveler?

There are travelers who plan months ahead of time, draw up long lists of packing, scheduling, itineraries, do their research, make the bookings, and carry the right phone numbers. Then there are the impulsive travelers who do pick up a backpack and just get out there figuring out things on their way. Well, while it is usually smooth sailing for the planned travelers, the latter rough it out, end up sleeping in a barn, or spend exorbitant amounts. But the impulsive travelers usually have a story to tell for eternity.

Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Not packing right and improper planning led us into a soup several times. I went dressed and packed for summer to Switzerland one April and spent a pretty penny buying woolens. I spent exorbitant amounts on flimsy raincoats from a souvenir shop in Disneyland when it poured heavily all the time. We got stuck out on the streets of Cusco, Peru at midnight because our travel agent did not confirm our hotel booking; and more recently almost being caught for driving without a license in Mauritius (I had very conveniently forgotten to carry my driving license)!

But when things have to go wrong, they will. Like when I visited Oman. Despite all the planning, we nearly missed our flight because of a miscommunication and the cab driver went to the airport to pick us up instead of picking us from home and dropping to the airport! The dash to the airport, making sad faces to the boarding pass authorities to let us in, and the final dash towards boarding certainly made for an exciting start to the holiday!

While bungling up is quite awful during the journey itself, in hindsight, there are several positives to it after you come out of unscathed. One, you learn to plan for that eventuality. Two, you may end up seeing something more splendid when you lost your way than you had set out to see. Three, you have an interesting experience and memory <and in hind sight, things always look rosier>. Four, you feel stronger, having survived what you did. Five, Distress brings people closer, so if you are in that arduous trek in a group, you might just make those friends of a lifetime. Six, and the best part, you have a story to tell everyone around you and have people hanging on to your every word!

I hope things never go wrong at all on your trips!  But if they do, when you come out of them, you are a wiser and a stronger person. A teeny bit of planning always goes a long way in smooth sailing on the most impulsive journey! A few tips for the impulsive travelers –

  1. I know you hate to book early, but during the peak tourist season, it is advisable to book your hotel and travel ahead of time.
  2. Check the weather and pack right. You don’t want to spend unnecessarily on what you have and be saddled with it forever.
  3. Carry dry high energy food and water if you are venturing on long drives/treks to places where you may not get any.
  4. Always check with the local tourist office for information (There usually is always one at every airport or point where you check into the place).
  5. If you are planning to drive down to the place, make sure you have enough gas, check the tire pressure, ensure the spare tire is in good condition, carry a toolbox and note down the emergency contact numbers of your car maker’s towing services
  6. Make sure you carry proper documentation and identification proofs with you
  7. And yes.. don’t forget to drop an out of office message on your office mail.. so that the boss/other office colleagues do not bother you

Plan ahead or just go at the spur of the moment, be happy with the tales you bring back. Safe and Happy Roaming!

Categories: Other Travel Blah | Tags: , | 21 Comments

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21 thoughts on “Are you an impulsive traveler or a planned traveler?

  1. I am both an impulsive traveller and a planned traveller —it depends on the situation entirely. And I have interesting stories to share from planned travell. My recent trip to Chennai was planned to the last detail and yet, I did not anticipate the level of heat or the humidity which led to terrible dehydration and migraine. So planned or impulsive one has to be prepared for all kinds 🙂

    • As much as one plans, there is always that 1% eventuality that is unaccounted for! It is how we still manage to make the best of the situation and come out with that story! I hope you are well now. We missed you sorely at the blogger meet.

  2. Impulsive all the way 🙂

  3. I read whatever i can get before going to a place. But that doesn’t mean i’ll pack my bags with heap lodsa stuff. I suppose i’m slightly more planned than impulsive. That said, there has been a lot of adventures which had never been planned.

    • Some research always helps before the trip. You might discover new places which you might have entirely missed otherwise. Happy travelling!

  4. Have done both! As you said both have their pros and cons! Travel is a mind opener all right! You coming for the Mumbai Travel Massive right?

  5. Started out as a planned traveler but these days just stuff in a few clothes, sleeping bag and some other junk and hit the road!

  6. jaishvats

    Nice tips 🙂 And cab drivers can goof up like that! ha ha 🙂

  7. Dear Richa,

    Drop in here to be surprised with a gift for you 🙂

  8. Very Well documented, Richa! I am not a very good planner but i dont like to keep things for the last moment too. I am a bit of both I guess. As you say, every way has its shares of pros and cons and its important to experience both for the real fun of travel.

    • Thanks Arti. I like to plan, but I do it all at the last moment. So in a way, it turns out to be partly planned partly impulsive!

  9. Impulsive sojourns double up the thrill at times but they better be sweet short and sweet. That is a great post you have put up exemplifying the hazards of lack of planning. I have often forgotten my favourite lens and filters and once the battery charger of my camera!

    • Haha. I know the angst of forgetting the camera battery charger. Phones alleviate the pain of doing that, but just a little bit. I did then when I went to Oman and was miserable!

  10. Well I am a bit of both.I must say that travelling for long distances it has to be planned and for short distances it can be impulsive. Man but the angst of forgetting something important is a bit of an issue under both the circumstances. Interesting post indeed.

  11. I am always an impulsive traveller…I never planned my travel except some necessary things..I only know about my departure date and arrival date (Of course, do not want to bother about arrivals, but my office forces me)..My Backpack and Camera gears are always ready to go with me..sometimes I never planned for the destinations also..Once, I planned for Shimla, but landed in Jammu, planned for Jaipur, but landed in Dharamshala (Thanks to general coaches of Indian Railways), I planned for Thailand and Cambodia, but visited Hong Kong and Macau also (Thanks to credit cards)..for me, road is only a celebration, wherever it is..

    • Wow! Loved hearing about your impromptu travels! I wish I could travel like that – without a destination in mind, but I guess, I am the sort who usually likes a mostly planned out itinerary.

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