Travel Series: Having a plan vs going with the flow
When it comes to holidays and travel are you a planner or do you prefer to go with the flow? This is something me and my boyfriend have entirely different attitudes to - I love to research and make plans and itineraries, while Sam prefers to rock up and see what the vibe is like. I don't think either is better than the other, but there are definite plus points to each.
I'm your typical type A personality - I love lists and spreadsheets and I'm always looking for ways to make the most of my time, so of course I like to have a decent idea of what we want to do when we're going away. To me, having a plan helps us to make the most out of the short time we get spend exploring new places. I get the fear that without doing a bit of research, we'll end up wasting our time eating at crap restaurants or waiting in ridiculous queues. I'm a firm believer that putting a bit of thought into planning can help you wring out every last second of adventure and fun and lovely holidayness.
But that's not the only reason that I'm a bit obsessed with holiday planning. I love it because it fills me with excitement and makes me feel like a giddy kid on Christmas Eve. I'm in my element when I'm reading travel guides penned by other bloggers or pinning beautiful images of the places I'd love to visit - it helps me to imagine all the new adventures we might have and I love collecting other people's recommendations. Sometimes the planning can be just as fun as the holiday itself, right?
But I totally get why some people decide not to have a plan, to just take it easy and see what they feel like doing when they arrive. One of my happiest holiday memories was on our first visit to New York - we had just spent the most amazing but super cold hour walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. The sky was perfectly clear which made for great views, but left us both absolutely freezing by the time we reached Manhattan. We bundled into the nearest restaurant in an attempt to get warm and realised that we'd arrived just in time for bottomless brunch, which basically means you can drink as much champagne as you like for free with your meal (we totally need to adopt this tradition in the UK!)
We ordered the most expensive steak on the menu, drank far more fizz than is recommended at lunch time and had the most wonderful couple of hours. By the time we left, the sun was starting to go down and we were giddy as we raced around Manhattan at golden hour, high on life and free bubbles. It was one of those idyllic moments that we could never have planned, one that stands out in my memory stronger than anything else we did on that trip. If we had been ruthless about sticking to our itinerary we might never have had that perfect afternoon.
As much as it pains me to admit, sometimes the best holiday plans can't compare to just being in the moment and soaking up the atmosphere around you. Sometimes its better to give things a miss in order to enjoy the sunshine for a little while longer. What's the point in ticking lots of sights off a bucket list if you never really get to relax, to be present, to truly enjoy being somewhere different and new?
For our holiday this year I'll be trying to strike a balance between the two. There will inevitably be a couple of things that I really want to do - especially in Iceland which is so different to anywhere I've ever been before. But I'll also be making sure we get enough time to properly soak in the atmosphere and switch off a little bit - I'll be leaving gaps in our plan for long lazy brunches and plenty of time for getting lost exploring new places.
What's your approach to holiday planning? Do you like to do your research or are you more of a show up and see what happens kinda person?