We all know procrastinating can be disastrous, but traveling is one context where waiting until the last minute can pay off in these key ways:
1.You won’t over plan.
Procrastinators rarely over-plan. Running around all day to hit every historical marker can be exhausting and impossible at best. Avoid travel companions who seek this kind of tourism. There’s no way to ‘see it all,’ and over-planning won’t fix that. If you are too exhausted or busy to take in that impressionist painting you came halfway across the world to see, then what’s the point? Slower, deeper, and simpler is often a more enjoyable approach to travel. If you over-plan you risk seeing so much you end up enjoying nothing, since you mind is occupied with how sore your feet are or the closing time for the next ‘must-see’ museum.
2. Your fear of ‘missing out’ will diminish
Too much upfront research can overwhelm people. With so many options and a limited amount of time or energy, we are prime candidates for what Barry Schwartz calls ‘the paradox of choice’–the problem of having an overwhelming amount of good options, resulting in less satisfaction with whatever choice is made because the other choices were also nice. If you are flying by the seat of your pants, you are less likely to worry about what you are missing because you don’t have a sense of what that might be. This can be liberating, allowing us to enjoy the moment right in front of us.
3. You’ll score better deals.
With the exception of flights, procrastinators often get the best deals on last minute trips, accommodations, and excursions. This is especially true during the off season. A friend of mine got a fancy week-long cruise around the Galapagos Islands for half price because he showed up at the office the day before the boat left rather than booking it months in advance online. Using the ‘just show up’ approach I routinely find accommodations for a third of the price listed on AirBnB or other websites that take reservations. While this requires a certain amount of faith and no shortage of an adventurous spirit, hunting on the ground is often the best way to ensure you are getting the best prices. This also allows people to negotiate in person, leading to even better deals.
4. You’ll have a unique experience.
As convenient as a recommended itinerary in a travel guide may be, know that you are repeating the rote trip of thousands of tourists before you. Procrastinators prosper because they are not confined by these preconceived ideas of what makes a ‘good’ trip. If you want to ensure you have a unique experience, make it your own. There is no need to copy what others are doing or assume that their way is the best way to see a place. Create a new story. To avoid a cookie cutter experience, throw out the pre-determined itinerary and follow your own feet.
5. You’ll have the freedom to ‘go with the flow.’
Once you have thrown out the detailed itinerary and growing list of ‘should-dos,’ you free yourself up to enjoy serendipity. When a local in the market invites you for a traditional meal with their family, you don’t want to think, “But we’ll miss the free city tour at 6:30,” or “I’ll be too tired to beat the crowds for the art exhibit tomorrow morning.” If you put things off, you are compelled to go with the flow. By traveling this way we are less likely to be trapped in our premeditated notions of what will make the best trip. Opportunities will open themselves to you–moments you could never plan for–and these are moments most worth saying yes to.
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