Why You Should Stop Overplanning Your Vacations

When you are in the midst of planning a vacation, it can be incredibly easy to get carried away.

Stop Overplanning Your Vacations
Athens, Greece

As you trawl through guide books and other travel literature conducting research on things that you can do at your destination, you may start to feel overwhelmed and believe that there is simply not enough time to do everything you want to do. As a result, you try to cram everything in and wind up with a vacation itinerary that is incredibly restrictive.

Travel should be a break from your routine and the stresses of daily life but an itinerary that involves you having to constantly rush from one location to another can result in you finishing your vacation feeling exhausted, stressed, and as though you need another! It is much better to adopt a spontaneous approach to your vacation and here’s why…

If You Over-plan, You Cannot Relax

Stop Overplanning Your Vacations
Amman, Jordan

Don’t we have enough stress with jam-packed schedules in ordinary life? It typically feels as though there are not enough hours in the day as it is, so we definitely don’t want that feeling flowing over into our vacations. A vacation should be seen as a time to unwind on a beach, get lost in exotic markets, and relax with a good book by the pool. You will enjoy the experience much more if you do not have a time restriction assigned to each activity.

Strict Itineraries Are Not Practical

Stop Overplanning Your Vacations
Sighisoara, Romania

You can plan out every minor detail of your trip, but it will still be difficult to adhere to an itinerary. Sadly, things do not always go according to plan despite how much you try to organize. Adverse weather, scheduled activities taking longer than expected, and traffic problems can all contribute to making it near impossible to stick to your schedule. You certainly do not want to be feeling stressed out because a tour is taking 30 minutes longer than expected and you’re worried about making the next stop in time. It is a far better to create a rough list of activities you would like to participate in, and sites you would like to see. This way, you have some guidelines but not a oppressively strict plan.

You Will Be Too Exhausted By the End

Stop Overplanning Your Vacations
Jerusalem, Israel

After the vacation is over, you are immediately thrown back into the routine of daily life. It is much better to return to your office and your responsibilities feeling fresh and rejuvenated, than feeling absolutely exhausted as a result of two weeks of running around like a mad thing. It’s difficult to return to work after a vacation in any case, but if you return feeling tired and stressed, you will hold even more resentment towards walking back into the office on Monday morning and working your way through those 46,238 unread emails that you accrued while you were away.

You May Be Faced With Exciting Opportunities

Stop Overplanning Your Vacations
Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam

Allowing the opportunity for something unexpected and unplanned makes room for new experiences, excitement and spontaneity on your travels. You may encounter other travelers or locals that recommend cultural events, restaurants or excursions to you. If you’ve already booked up all of your time, you may end up missing out on something great.

Spontaneity is More Exciting

Stop Overplanning Your Vacations
West Bank, Palestine

The guidebooks don’t always know the best places to go. In fact, some of the best attractions in various destinations around the globe lay in waiting just off the beaten track. Allowing yourself to explore an area freely with no set plan can open up the door to new friends and new experiences. Typically, the information that you receive in guidebooks and major travel publications covers only the popular tourist attractions. While these are certainly interesting and worthwhile to see, they do not allow you to fully immerse yourself in the culture of a place. Waiting in line for hours to see an attraction while surrounded by other tourists can be stressful, whereas wandering quaint back streets and uncovering stunning architecture and quirky local stores can be fascinating.


Quality Over Quantity is More Important

Stop Overplanning Your Vacations
Naples, Italy

It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling obliged to do something just because guidebooks detail it as an unmissable attraction. However, if you really are not interested in war museums yet you’ve scheduled one into your trip just because it comes highly recommended, you are missing out on time that could be spent doing the things that you prefer.  Travel is not a test, and you do not have to see every single thing that a destination has to offer in order to feel as though you have experienced it fully. Create a list of things that you would like to do and try to organize somewhat by priority. This way, you can focus predominantly on the things that really catch your eye and then spend the rest of your trip getting some much needed rest and relaxation instead of rushing to see the places that do not particularly interest you.


An Over-planned Schedule is Not Manageable

Stop Overplanning Your Vacations
Seoul, South Korea


Rushing from A to B and referring to to-do lists, guidebooks and contact details in order to establish where you need to be is neither manageable nor enjoyable. If you are traveling in this manner, it is only a matter of time before somebody cracks under the stress and chaos. This is likely to also lead to arguments among your group. Try to take a more relaxed approach. If you miss a certain attraction, is it really the end of the world? Besides, it’s always nice to leave something to do for next time…


Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.

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