Get Your Adventure On: How to Travel More Spontaneously This Summer

If you're anything  like us, you know the value of hitting the road just for the thrill of the wind on your face. You don't need a bunch of plans or a big bucket list -- you just hit the road with a map and your sense of adventure. To help you do more of that this summer, we've put together a list of five ways to be more spontaneous during your travels.

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I once came across this quote on a travel forum: "Not planning is a good way to miss things you wanted to see." That may be true, but it misses the point of travel completely.

It's not hard to compile a list of must-visit sights and attractions before you travel. Every guidebook will have a page dedicated to the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and the Taj Mahal. Many travelers feel like they absolutely can't miss these touristy sites.
The problem is, if you only focus your trip only on these types of places, you'll miss some of the most important travel experiences out there: the ones that are born of spontaneity and happenstance. Personally, I've been to New York without taking the boat to the Statue of Liberty. I've been to Paris without going up the Eiffel Tower. And while I did visit the Taj Mahal when I was in Agra, what I mostly remember is the crowds and the rain.
On the other hand, when I visited Egypt, I did something outside most tourists' comfort zone and rented a bicycle to explore the Valley of the Kings, which is lined with the tombs of ancient royalty. It was so hot on the way back that we had to stop into a few shops and pretend we wanted to buy souvenirs just to get some tea. This was a memorable experience that we never would have had if we'd done a "normal" tour.
The "must see" travel lists are great for boring guidebooks and listicle-driven magazines, but at Triposo we feel that they fail to capture what travel is really about.
So what is it all about?
I came across some other comments on travel forums that I think capture the real spirit of travel:
One traveler said that, "For me, stumbling across a free open-air opera at dusk in a church courtyard in an old part of Rome -- listening to the singers while swallows zoomed overhead -- was pure European magic. I couldn't follow the plot at all, but it didn't matter."
Another explained that his favorite travel experience was, "Accidentally coming upon a tiny outdoor fox shrine that had a mysterious door into a hill in Arashimaya, Kyoto, after visiting a small moss temple."
A different traveler gushed about, "That peeled salted cucumber from the guy with the cucumber cart on a gorgeous April day in front of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Holy shit that cucumber."
Of course, these types of experiences never make it onto a bucket list. No one sets out to have a transformative experience at a cucumber cart in Turkey or to discover a magical animal shrine. These are serendipitous experiences, the kind you simply can't plan for.
However, you can do a few things that will help you find yourself in more serendipitous situations. Here are our recommendations for traveling more spontaneously and uncovering the adventure in each place you visit:
1. Go
That's number one, and while it may seem obvious, it's worth repeating because not enough people actually do it. Just go somewhere. Then look around you and see what there is to see. You don't have to be in Paris or Istanbul or anywhere exotic. It can be Pittsburgh. They may not have an Eiffel Tower, but the company that makes the paint for the Eiffel Tower is there, and maybe that's where your serendipitous experience is hiding out. Just pick a place, get on the road and go.
2. Get Lost
Is there any sight more pitiful than a tourist struggling with his map in the wind? Sometimes I think that travel companies ought to issue an "anti-GPS." One that tells you to turn left when what you're looking for is to the right. My dad had one of these, and they've been married happily for more than 40 years (har, har.) Anyway, the point is to let go of your need for control and just follow your nose. The good news is that there is so much to see in most cities that you are likely to find something amazing as soon as you put the map down and look around you. It's not to say that a good map can't come in handy now and again (and we happen to think that the skobbler-powered open-source maps in our mobile app are some of the best out there), but there's a lot to be said for just wandering and getting lost. And anyway, as a wise man once said, "Not all who wander are lost."
To read the rest of our tips, check out the full article on the Huffington Post's travel channel.