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Just GO! Tips for Traveling Abroad Without an Itinerary

24 June 2018

When traveling to a new international destination, it’s natural to want to do your research and create a plan for everything you’ll see and do. After all, you want to make the most of your time on the ground.

But, what if we suggested that you stay away from the blogs and leave your guidebooks at home? What if we told you that the possible best travel experience of your life might lie in your ability to just go with the flow?

Now, we aren’t telling you to drive to the airport, pick a random flight and go (though, that could be an adventure!), but we are suggesting that you just say ‘no’ to carefully planned itineraries.

Here are five ways you can maximize your international travel experience, without having an itinerary.

Give yourself permission to leave the city for a few days. Granted, this is easier in some places than others. If you’re visiting China, for example, it’s not difficult to get to Thailand. Similarly, if you’re in France, Spain is not that far away. Of course, you have to get back to your city of origin in time for your departure flight, but you don’t have to chain yourself to that location.

Ask the locals where they go for a long weekend. The barista at the local café might be able to turn you on to a sleepy town that’s just a day trip away from where you’re staying. Open up and talk to those who work outside of your hotel.

Speaking of hotels…

Don’t prepay for rooms more than a few days at a time. This might be a scary prospect – you want to make sure you have a place to lay your head. But, it’s easier to go where the wind takes you if you haven’t already paid for a week’s hotel stay.

Time and money are always a consideration, so even if you can’t leave the country you’re visiting:

Take public transit and get off at a random stop. You always want to consider your personal safety, but this type of purposeful roaming will help you discover hidden gems that just don’t make it into the travel guidebooks. If you stick to a pre-planned route – or worse, taxis – you could potentially miss out on some great sights and sounds.

Take a long walk. Put on a pair of comfy shoes and vow to spend the entire day walking. Stay away from areas filled with hotels – look for more residential areas. Take side streets. Your goal: to experience the city like a local, dining where they eat, shopping where they buy. Experience life as they do by becoming an (temporary) honorary resident.

The idea of traveling without an itinerary might make some of you nervous, but no amount of research is going to tell you whether or not you’ll actually like a location – you won’t know until you touch ground. If you don’t like a place, go somewhere else you might enjoy more. If you do love a locale, stay a bit longer and soak up the atmosphere.

Having your entire trip set in stone may provide you with some level of mental comfort, but it could also have you missing out on a truly engaging – and personal – travel experience.

When planning your next getaway, be sure you’re prepared for the unexpected! Protect your trip with an AXA Assistance travel protection plan; which can include benefits from trip delay to health care coverage to emergency evacuations. 


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Disclaimer: Welcome to the AXA Assistance USA Travel Insurance Blog! The Travel On Blog is intended to provide you with entertaining and educational information of a general nature. The articles are for editorial purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified professional. Please contact AXA Assistance USA if you have any questions.

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