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Do you love traveling but hate planning trips? I completely understand. Researching and planning can be tedious and time consuming. So, I have an idea that will help you take an awesome vacation without all the planning. Why not take a spontaneous road trip without any plans?!?! Here’s how to do it!
Now, before we get into how to actually take a road trip without plans, let me tell you how I came up with this idea. My husband and I are planners by nature. But, one summer, I challenged myself to take a truly spontaneous trip without making any plans. We literally got in the car and took off!
Over the course of a week, we went from Texas to Kansas, all around Colorado and finally ended up in Phoenix, Arizona. And, I have to tell you, It was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken.
I highly recommend taking a spontaneous road trip without plans. You and your family will love it! The freedom that comes with it is so refreshing. So, let me show you how to go about having this awesome experience for yourself.
- Step #1: Decide on the length of your spontaneous road trip.
- Step #2: Pack the car.
- Step #3: Pick a direction.
- Step #4: Stop and explore.
- Step #5: Call it a night when you get tired.
- Step #6: Pick a new direction each day.
- Step #7: Have fun!
- Tips to make your spontaneous road trip great.
- Take the road less traveled.
- Adopt an adventurous attitude.
- Use it as an excuse to see friends and family.
- Do things you otherwise wouldn’t do.
- Flip a coin to choose your daily direction.
- Let your kids decide the direction.
- Be sure to leave yourself time to get home.
- Enjoy the freedom of having no schedule.
Step #1: Decide on the length of your spontaneous road trip.
While the whole point here is to NOT do any advance planning, there are a few things you need to decide on out of sheer necessity. The first one is the length of your trip.
The beauty of a spontaneous road trip is that it can be any length that you want!
We had a week off from work, so that’s how long our trip was. But, you can stay gone as many or as few days as your schedule allows.
Step #2: Pack the car.
The second necessary task is to pack your things. This is one aspect of your trip that can be more difficult because of your lack of planning.
It can be hard to pack if you don’t know where you’re going or what you’re going to be doing!
If you are going in the summer, this will be a little easier. You should be able to get away with summer clothing wherever you end up.
During other times of the year, you may want to check the weather in various areas of the country. You may want to avoid places that are expected to get bad weather during your trip.
Step #3: Pick a direction.
The next step in taking a spontaneous road trip is to pick a direction to start. Because the whole point is to not make a plan, you only need a general direction to get started.
When we did our road trip without plans, we decided we would head north on our first day. Once we were on our way, we decided we would go all the way to Kansas and stop in to see my old college roommate.
Instead of decided on a destination, choose a direction and see where the day takes you. This will help you to stay plan-free throughout your trip.
Step #4: Stop and explore.
Now comes the fun part–starting your trip. Along the way, stop and explore whenever you see something that looks interesting.
Look at billboards and signs. If you spot something you think your family will enjoy, stop and check it out. If it requires you to take a detour, take it! Or change directions and head a different way if you feel like it.
Take your time. You’re not in a hurry. The beauty of a road trip without plans is that you don’t have a schedule you must stick to. You can check out all the things you otherwise would zoom past.
When you get hungry, find a cool restaurant to experience. Or stop at a farmer’s market and grab food for a picnic. Have fun with it! Let the wind take you where it may.
Step #5: Call it a night when you get tired.
As you near the end of each day, start thinking about where and when to stop. Unlike on most trips, you don’t have to get to a particular place before you stop.
Instead, when you start to get tired, look for a place to spend the night. Find a hotel nearby and pull in. And as a bonus, sometimes you can get a cheap price on your room because hotels are anxious to fill unused rooms at the last minute.
On the other hand, if you are traveling in an RV, look for a campground or other place you can park for the night.
Step #6: Pick a new direction each day.
To make your road trip even more fun, pick a new direction of travel each day of your trip. Each morning, decide your new direction before heading out.
This will keep your family on their toes and really help you to stick to the spontaneous aspect of your trip. Each day will be a brand new adventure! Who knows where you will end up!
On our spontaneous road trip, each morning, we drove to the nearest highway and flipped a coin to pick our daily direction. Heads we go left! Tails we go right!
Step #7: Have fun!
The last step in taking a spontaneous road trip is to have fun with it! Really embrace this as a new and unique adventure for your family. Let your hair down and just enjoy!
The more fun you have with the trip, the more your family will also enjoy it. And, you never know, it may turn out to be the best family vacation you’ve ever taken!
Tips to make your spontaneous road trip great.
The following tips will help you make the most out of your road trip without plans.
Take the road less traveled.
To maximize the sightseeing aspect of your trip, get off the interstate. Instead, take smaller highways and back roads that go through small towns. This will give you the most opportunities to find awesome things to do.
Adopt an adventurous attitude.
Get completely in the spirit of the trip by adopting an adventurous attitude. Have an open mind to everything you encounter. Be up for tackling anything. You will probably find that you and your family enjoy the trip so much more this way.
Use it as an excuse to see friends and family.
The great thing about a spontaneous road trip is that you are not locked into any one destination or direction. So, take advantage of it. Use it as an excuse to stop off and visit friends and family you haven’t seen in a while.
During our road trip, we dropped in on 2 different friends after we realized that we were relatively close to their homes as we were driving.
Do things you otherwise wouldn’t do.
Like I mentioned before, be open minded during your trip. Do things you otherwise wouldn’t do.
Stop at roadside attractions. Take goofy pictures. Go for hikes. Explore farmer’s markets. Really get out of your comfort zone and go wild!
Flip a coin to choose your daily direction.
One way to choose which direction to go each day is to flip a coin. This is what we did on our trip. It adds an extra layer of fun to your trip.
Let your kids decide the direction.
Another way to add some fun to your vacation is to let your kids decide which direction you go each day. You can either have them vote on it or give each kid a day to be in charge of which way you head.
Be sure to leave yourself time to get home.
Just don’t forget to leave yourself time to get home at the end of your trip. Don’t get so caught up in the freedom of no plans that you find yourself too far away to get back home in time.
Enjoy the freedom of having no schedule.
Lastly, enjoy the freedom of having no schedule during your spontaneous road trip.
The whole reason for taking a road trip without any plans is to break away from the grind of an itinerary. Forget worrying about where you have to be and just be present in the moment.
Have fun spending time with your family going on an unforgettable adventure.
Taking a spontaneous road trip is a great way to break the mold of your traditional family vacation. It is also the best approach to take if you hate planning or just don’t have the time for it. Enjoy living in the moment!
To make your road trips with kids successful, see our ultimate guide to family road trips, tips for road trips with kids, best snacks, tips for road trips with babies and toddlers, pros and cons for road trips with kids, essential items, how to handle kids with car sickness, and screen free activities.
P.S. Need help finding the best places to go on your family vacations? My Ultimate USA Bucket List for Families will instantly give you 60 of the best vacation destinations for families in the United States! Get it for FREE in the box below and start planning your next trip today! Plus, as a bonus, you will receive my weekly email newsletter full of family trip tips and inspiration!