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Do you plan your whole itinerary or just go with the flow?

Travel Forums General Talk Do you plan your whole itinerary or just go with the flow?

1. Posted by T_I_N_A20 (Budding Member 35 posts) 6y

I'm going backpacking in three weeks to Japan, China and Mongolia for two months and a half. My first stop is Tokyo, Japan and I already book my first six nights there and I'm going to be spending 28 days in Japan. After Tokyo, I did not book the rest of my stay because I thought I will go wherever it takes me and I did not book any nights in China (I'm going to be spending a month there as well). Mongolia is the only place where I book at least 7 nights out of my two weeks stay there because I'm going to be there on a high season.

The thing is... It's my first time backpacking and I've never done this before. So I'm just curious, do you guys plan your whole itinerary (Hostels booked, the places to be visited...) or you just go with the flow (Not knowing where you are heading say in two days) ?

[ Edit: Edited on 25-Apr-2010, at 21:05 by T_I_N_A20 ]

2. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 6y

The one time I planned every detail, I was so very sorry I did. Spontaneity is the way to go, IMHO. Plans and schedules depend on perfect timing and often on the other person, and life is not perfect. You do need some structure, but beyond a basic time grouping, it's much more fun to be able to go somewhere that you discover while enroute, or with someone special that you meet.

3. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3713 posts) 6y

For me it's a bit of both. I like to have a rough idea of my itinerary so that I know what I'm likely to have time to do, and so that I don't waste too much time on the trip planning and arranging things. But spontaneity is important as to rigidly stick to an itinerary and not have any flexibility means you could miss out on so much. You could decide you really like a place and want to stay longer than planned for example, so if you have booked all your accommodation in advance you are really limiting yourself.

I always book my first night or 2 because after a long flight I don't want to be thinking about finding accommodation.

Post 4 was removed by a moderator
5. Posted by emilyemily (Budding Member 82 posts) 6y

I agree with Daawgon on this one- if you make super concrete plans, I assure you that they will just be broken (especially if you're spending time in developing countries like Mongolia where they public transit may not be 100% reliable to be on time, or run at all!) You may also get there and change your mind about what does and doesn't interest you, or you might meet other travelers and choose to scratch your plans and go with them to some other cool place you hadn't thought of! It is all about going with the flow when going for an extended backpacking trip!

Also agree with Bex about booking your first couple nights after a flight though, helps take the stress off

6. Posted by chrisvasil (Respected Member 102 posts) 6y

Definitely go with the flow, especially a lot of the good/cheap hostels can't be booked ahead (no phone/internet) and this way you save the flexibility of spending as much or as little time as you want in each spot.

7. Posted by chrisvasil (Respected Member 102 posts) 6y

Quoting T_I_N_A20

I'm going backpacking in three weeks to Japan, China and Mongolia for two months and a half. My first stop is Tokyo, Japan and I already book my first six nights there and I'm going to be spending 28 days in Japan. After Tokyo, I did not book the rest of my stay because I thought I will go wherever it takes me and I did not book any nights in China (I'm going to be spending a month there as well). Mongolia is the only place where I book at least 7 nights out of my two weeks stay there because I'm going to be there on a high season.

The thing is... It's my first time backpacking and I've never done this before. So I'm just curious, do you guys plan your whole itinerary (Hostels booked, the places to be visited...) or you just go with the flow (Not knowing where you are heading say in two days) ?

Go with the flow. Leaves more freedom .