There are of course the usual and obvious benefits of unplanned travel, such as the sense of exhilaration that courses though your whole body when you get on a bus or land in an airport without so much as an inkling about where your going to stay or who you might meet. You can't forget about the untold memories that come about when you throw caution to the wind and endup in the unknown with new strange friends.
Unplanned travel also has some unusual advantages that come about unintentionally, without any planning on your part. This is true for both the long-term travel adventure to a far away land or the weekend getaway to your favorite local camping ground.
Living with Less
When you decide to just up and leave, setting out to destinations unknown, often enough you pack in a rush leaving behind your otherwise usual travel companions. While this may cause stress at first, don't panic and don't despair. Stand there, sit there, just stay in one spot and take this moment to realize that you'll be ok.
Traveling unacompannied by your I-Pod so you can listen to your favorite tunes during the oh so boring 45 minute wait on the tarmac won't cause an internal brain aneurism. We all know you need that neck pillow for your in flight comfort, but you won't develop permanent chronic back pain from a flight or two sans pillow.
Clearing out some of the clutter and cutting down on the load allows you to reflect on exactly what is a 'necessity' and what is a 'luxury' when we are on the go. Not worrying about all your stuff can be a very liberating experience. It can free up your mind from the constant worry of keeping track of everything, allowing you to experience your travel destinations a little lighter, unencumbered by these burdens.
Back in the before time, before mobile phones and GPS, the things we carried along our journeys were more likely than not one purpose. These new devices are a blessing in many ways, however we tend to rely on them a little to much sometimes.
A map is a map and at the end of the day it will still be a map. The same can be said for that little black book of phone numbers you once carried around full of contacts, local emergency numbers and the direct line to your hotel front desk. While these older single function devices have a lower rate of failure, they can still not be relied on as 100 percent dependable.
Learning how to communicate with locals in a foreign land where your native tongue is not used to find the correct bus route can be daunting. Having the awareness to find the bus schedule yourself and figure out the route can be a huge asset. Guide books can be dated, technology fails, your mind and wits are always there with you, wherever you go.
It is not that we are incapable of resourcefulness, it's just easy to fall back on our reliance of those things that can make life a bit easier.
Planning is an important part of any worthwhile travel experience, but spontaneity has a role to play as well. It is in the spontaneous that we sometimes find unexpected benefits, embracing the unknown makes room for them, helping us to grow and learn from an otherwise static perspective.