No guidebook required: the joys of ditching an itinerary

Itineraries and guidebooks can be both a blessing and a curse, when it comes to travel. If you’re the free-spirited, adventurous sort, it sucks to lug a book around, but it’s a good idea-especially if you’re a woman-so you don’t have to leave accommodations to chance should you arrive late at night in a strange town.

I once ended up sleeping in a spider-infested trailer, after spontaneously arriving in a downpour in a Tuscan hill town devoid of rooms for rent. After politely declining the hostal owner’s offer of sharing a bed, I paid ten euros for the trailer, and spent a long, twitchy night imagining things (including the owner) crawling up my legs. Now, I book ahead if I think I may end up stranded.

If you’re a little on the Type-A side, or traveling with someone, a planned itinerary can be helpful, if not relationship-saving. But what happens when you decide to just wing it? Journalist Catherine Price, a contributor to O, the Oprah magazine, recently found out, on a four-day impulse trip to Tokyo. Price decided to let strangers plan every detail of the trip for her, starting with taking the suggestion of a random woman in a San Francisco book store to visit Tokyo. The resulting trip enabled former micro-manager Price to “experience the joy of letting go.” Read more about her fascinating experience.

[Via CNN]
[Photo credit: Flickr user Jaymis]