I’m going to order my meal in another language; I’m going to eat something I’ve never eaten before; I’m going to pick something from the menu that I can’t read or translate; I’m going to point to something someone else is eating and say I want that! Or here’s a game someone told me about recently, one person picks an area in a city, the other picks a street, when you arrive you have to find somewhere to eat on that street. Less decisions to make and a little spontaneity added to lunch. Following yesterdays post on How To Travel Last Minute are some little tricks for being spontaneous while you travel. More after the cut.
Set challenges for yourself and you’ll find spontaneity comes naturally as a reaction to the task. Maybe they’re food related like above or maybe they’re to help you meet people and make friends, something like, today I’ll buy a random person a drink or today I’ll ask a person what they’re reading/what the story behind their tattoo is/if they know a good local bar. Before you know it you could be on an adventure with that person with no planning and no idea where you’re headed. Food challenges are a little easier though, we all love food and they don’t require as much confidence as striking up random conversation can. Time Out and Booking.com set us a series of food related challenges to tackle while in Paris and you’ll be able to read about those very soon.
So how else can you be a more spontaneous traveller?
Abandon your map, be it an app on your phone or a large, pain in the neck, fold up thing. Let it go and just walk for a little while, follow the crowd or go somewhere quiet, this is how you’ll find hidden gems. Taking an unexpected turn down a quiet street is all it takes to be a little more spontaneous.
Do something you wouldn’t at home; visit a museum, ride a bike in the park, jump on a boat down the river, skinny dip, bungee jump, the possibilities are endless. Try not to think about it too much, that defeats the objective. You may never in this place again so why not make the most of it and push yourself, you might discover that you love rock climbing or scuba diving and be a professional instructor six months later. Who know, that’s the beauty of spontaneity, it can lead anywhere and because there’s no planned ending.
Splash out on something a little luxurious, I’ve discovered that you can travel near enough anywhere on a budget if you’re smart enough. However sometimes you deserve a treat, especially if you’re only away for a weekend. Again, don’t overthink it, just say yes to dining on the top floor of a city skyscraper or even buying a one of kind piece of jewellery you’ve fallen in love with. Live a little!
Don’t book a return journey! This might be the ultimate way to guarantee an adventure, your stay could last anywhere from a few days to the rest of your life. Maybe you’ll move from city to city for the next few months, maybe you’ll get a job and live somewhere new for a while, maybe you’ll get married and settle down. While plans require an eventual ending, not having any leaves you open to a never ending journey. If this sounds scary, you can always just book an open return, then the opportunity to go home is always there as a fall back.
Just be open minded in everything you do. If a friendly local offers you food, don’t say no, try it. If a stranger shares an opinion you don’t like, don’t be rude or offensive, either walk away or remain open to discussion. If you have a bad day, get some sleep and don’t allow the thought to still be on your mind when you wake up. Once you have an open mind, you become open to spontaneity and it will find you at the most unlikely of moments.
For help with all of these tips, once you’ve booked somewhere to stay with Booking.com, you can download their city guides directly onto the app. You’ll get loads of suggests on things to do, places to eat and places to splash out!