If you won the lotto tomorrow and suddenly found yourself in the money and preparing for your dream holiday, how long would you spend ironing out the small details?
Would you spend hours on the internet, trawling through blogs and review sites trying to find the best deals and create the perfect itinerary? Or would you drop everything and head out the door?
If you're the "travel first, ask questions later" type, you're not alone. According to a recent study from Expedia, 28 per cent of travellers say they dream of taking a spontaneous vacation.
However, most people admit that taking a You-Only-Live-Once approach to travel is easier dreamed than done. Of the more than 2,000 people surveyed by Expedia, just 7 per cent say they would actually take such an impromptu trip.
So that got us thinking, is it better to plan your trip well in advance, or leave a few things up to fate? Here is a quick breakdown of the benefits of each option.
Planning in advance
Get the best deals – Planning in advance allows you to book your flights nice and early. This means you can significantly reduce the cost of travel and have more to spend on mojitos by the pool. You can also coordinate your itinerary better and get cheaper rates on accommodation.
Secure that important reservation – Imagine touching down in Florida and heading down to a local hotel, only to find it's been completely booked out by rowdy teens on Spring Break! Planning early allows you to make reservations and bookings to ensure your trip goes off without a hitch.
Travel insurance – One of the biggest advantages of planning your holiday in advance is that it allows you to review your travel insurance needs carefully and secure the right policy. This helps you enjoy your trip without worrying about expensive emergencies. Plus don’t forget, it can also pay to take out travel insurance as soon as your trip is booked, so you’re covered straight away should something unexpected happen.
Travelling on a prayer
Flexible plans – Sometimes, if you plan your holiday too extensively, it can make it difficult to change your itinerary as you go. Keeping things flexible means you're free to improvise along the way, just in case you get any hot tips on must-see attractions from locals or seasoned travellers.
The thrill of adventure – Many people take holidays just so they can get away from the nine to five grind and experience a different side of life. By improvising your holiday plans, you can take a real overseas adventure and experience the thrills and spills of this type of travel for yourself.
Temper your expectations – One of the downsides of planning your vacation extensively is that sometimes the reality can fail to live up to expectations. Leaving things unplanned means you'll be open to (hopefully) pleasant surprises along the way, and won't have been spoiled by all those glossy pictures you looked at when you made the booking.
Which is the best way to travel?
So now you're probably wondering, which is the best way to travel? Should I meticulously plan out every detail of my vacation, or should I leave things up in the air, so to speak?
The truth is that the best holidays often occur in that happy middle ground between the two options. By planning a little bit in advance, you'll be able to minimise the risk of something going wrong and ensure you don't miss out on your must-see attractions.
But by leaving some things to chance, you'll also be opening yourself up to new experiences and the kind of unforgettable moments that only happen when you're not expecting them. And at the end of the day, isn't that what travelling is all about?
So, just one question remains – what what type of traveller are you?