- I’ve been working and traveling abroad for more than two years, and I’m a firm believer in waiting until the last minute to book flights and hotels.
- Waiting until the last minute can save you money on airfare and lodging.
- Last-minute travel plans can also lead to unexpected adventures and a sense of independence.
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For about two and a half years now, I’ve been living out of a suitcase, working, and traveling abroad at beaches in Sydney, a monastery with nuns in Venice, and many other destinations.
But the thing is, 99% of my travel plans are made at the last minute.
Sometimes, I blame it on my free-spirited astrological sign (Sagittarius). Other times, I attribute it to my grandma who raised me, as we’d take many spontaneous trips when I was growing up, whether to a chocolate festival in the suburbs of Chicago or a cross-country Amtrak trip to Los Angeles.
Years later, I’m still convinced that waiting until the last minute to book travel is the best way to go, especially when you’re a solo traveler (although the benefits apply to all travelers).
Here are my top eight reasons why I still prefer last-minute travel.
You don’t spend too much time planning (or overplanning)
Adam Berry/Getty Images
When you travel at the last-minute, you often don’t have time to do much, if any, research in advance. As a result, you save time and spend it packing and getting to the airport instead.
You learn to become more independent and resourceful
When you arrive in a new destination without housing, transportation, or any plans, it forces you to become resourceful and independent.
For example, when you land, your phone may not work — and the airport Wi-Fi may not be working either. So you’ll have to ask a local for the best way to get to where you’re going — and take the train with them into the city.
If you’re lucky, they may even offer to show you around the next day. Before you know it, you’ll know all the city’s secret hotspots — and you’ll have made a new friend in the process.
You have more opportunities for unplanned adventures
While some people may prefer to have every minute of their trip planned out, when you don’t, you have more opportunities for unplanned adventures.
On group tours, for instance, you often have allotted time at each destination on the itinerary. But, if you’re really enjoying that particular place, you cannot stay longer — unless you want to miss your tour bus and potentially the rest of your trip.
Some of my most beloved experiences would not have happened if I’d planned everything in advance.
For example, an American can only stay in Croatia for 90 days within a six-month period. On my 90th day there, I went to the Zagreb bus station and decided to hop on the next bus leaving for Slovenia. I felt I was in a "Choose Your Own Adventure" novel.
When I arrived in the city of Maribor, I found an Airbnb in a 100-year-old tiny stone house in a woman’s backyard, and there was even a treehouse sleeping option. To date, it’s one of the most memorable places I’ve stayed.
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