You’ve worked hard, and you’re ready to be rewarded. That’s right, it’s vacation time—and after months of rigid schedules and boring routine, all mapped out plans must be tossed out the window. Here are six ways to make your next holiday as spontaneous and exciting as 225 working days of monotony require.
Got a weekend to spare and want a truly spontaneous getaway? Book a mystery trip. Companies like Mystery Trips specialize in sneaking you off to unknown destinations. Keep the desination a secret from your travel partner and yourself by not opening your trip documents until you're ready to check in. You could find yourself in Wine Country, on a beautiful beach or in an alpine hideaway. The beauty about a mystery trip is it removes the stress of travel - someone else has organized it for you entirely. This allows you and your partner to truly relax, destress and decompress from the world around you.
The oldest trick in the book. Along with your traveling companions (or on your own if you’re an independent badass), choose three to five locations that you’ve always wanted to travel to and that are within whatever budget you have allocated to holiday travel. Write the names on sticks (or on tape tags wrapped around cute little drink umbrellas) and blindly draw to unveil your lucky winner. Feeling extra frisky? Travel with your friends and make it a party. Invite over your closest chums and toast your collective time off with some discretely labeled 40s. The ticket on the bottom of the first empty bottle decides the ticket that will spontaneously fly you to paradise.
What could be more spontaneous than letting the departure board choose your arrival location? Show up at the airport and ask for the next flight out at or below your minimum airfare budget. Want to save more money for the part of your vacation that happens outside of the stuffy airplane? Use websites like Skyscanner (or Expedia for last-minute cruises) to find the cheapest ticket available. If leaving that day, or the next one, luck is in your favor to strike it savings rich off of some huge deals. The best part of being a spontaneous traveler? Not many are. Most companies will drastically slash prices to increase bookings, and will often sweeten the deal by throwing in free amenities, upgrades, and even cash vouchers. Start looking a few days before you want to leave, see what’s cheap, and go.
You’ve got a car and some money in the bank. And you just finished your last shift leading into your two-week vacation. Why not head out now? You don’t even need to plan your route; just choose a direction. North, or south? East, or west? Go wherever the wind blows those free-spinnin’ tires. Yes, planning even a few days ahead may significantly lower cost, but it isn’t necessary. Cook your own meals, stay at budget motels, and avoid spending the night in touristy spots to stretch out your funds. Know your budget and make sure you can make it home (preferably without a flat tire), but don’t stress. Roll the top down. And take Siri with you for backup.
This one’s fun. So why not throw in some Easter eggs? Together with whoever you’ll be traveling with, fill whatever festive plastic capsules you can scrounge together and fill them with candy, pieces of paper with locations you’ve always dreamed of going (and can at the moment afford), and more candy. Designate one person as the hider and one person as the seeker. Both are fun, I promise. Whichever paper-filled egg is found last is your new spontaneous destination. (Celebrate by eating the candy.)
I’ve lived in the Bay Area for ten years, and I still haven’t walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. We put off seeing our hometown’s sites until tomorrow because we think there will always be one. Well, tomorrow has arrived. If you’re lacking funds then there’s no better way to vacation than in your own region, but less money under no circumstances has to equate to dampened spontaneity. Your backyard holds as many possible travel destinations as a city half a world away; read a regional guidebook and explore on a whim. Also try checking out of your house and into a local hotel—staying in a familiar environment will give you excuses to stay in and avoid sightseeing.