Travel Planning or Winging It?

March 18, 2023

I have been a traveler all my life. The farthest back I can remember was when I was 6 and we went on a summer road trip from our home in Florida to see family in Alaska. We stopped so many places that, at the time were cool, but not significant. Today, I long to return to so many with my own family. That journey pretty much hooked me on travel. I was always ready to go somewhere.

As soon as I was old enough to drive, day trips were always on the itinerary, and as an adult, I have always had a trip either being planned, or brewing in my mind.

My husband and I have been traveling together for over 20 years and are always up for an adventure. Our travel style is like many others we have met–we have a tentative plan, even an itinerary, but are totally okay with calling an audible and changing it up.

We did a 3 week long tent/couch surfing trip several years back and planned an itinerary out to the day…it lasted 3 hours into our trip before we deviated. While our family prefers to know where we are, they are okay with a general location and check ins when we leave and arrive. It may seem intrusive since we are adults, but it’s not only safer, it keeps them from unnecessary worry.

We talk to a lot of people in our journey, both online and in person, and find that most travelers fall into one of three camps: the detailed planner, the fly by the seat of their pants traveler, or the general idea but up for changes traveler–like us.

No matter which type of traveler you are, be sure you are prepared by taking a few precautions.

SAFETY GEAR No matter how you travel, having safety equipment is a must. A spare tire, jack, food and water, blankets, cash, first aid kit, flashlight and/or flares, paper/pencil for leaving a note, and maps or a road atlas(paper, not just digital) are a few basic items to keep on hand.

GENERAL IDEA It’s okay to be spontaneous, but having at least a general direction or area will help you narrow things down, and help if someone needs to find you. This could be arriving to a certain point by a certain date and following a path between two locations, or just being in a certain area. This also helps with researching what to do and where to stay so you can see what major events are going on to either attend, or avoid.

BACK UP PLANS Not everything goes perfectly, so having something to fall back on is a good idea. This could be knowing of other places to stay, having multiple memberships to draw from, or just talking to multiple friends or family members in an area to have a place to stay.

POINT OF CONTACT Always make sure someone knows where you are and where you are going. In this day and age, you can’t be too safe, so even if you don’t have a formal or detailed itinerary, make sure you call or text someone with your plans. If something goes wrong, but they know where you are and that you’ll check in daily, at least you know help will be there. Also keep their information in the glove box of your vehicle or as an ICE (in case of emergency) contact in your phone.

So, which type of traveler are you? And what other precautions would you suggest be taken?

Like or comment below, and share with others to support the blog. I post weekly about teaching, traveling and family. Until next time, you can find me on Tiktok @sonya.BOMSquadleader , on Instagram at sonya_barnes_a2t , or our adventures at, Facebook & TikTok at @BarnesOnMove

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