The Plan vs the Van: Is it better to plan ahead or wing it?


There’s nothing quite like the excitement of planning a new road trip. Researching your must-see sights, accommodation, and activities helps build up your anticipation all the while giving you a solid plan to follow.

But whilst it’s great to have a plan in place, it’s also important to have some free time to relax and unwind or even cater for the unexpected activity.

Here are our tips for striking a good balance the next time you hit the road.

How to get the most out of your days

The itinerary. Scary for those who like to wing it, a dream for those who love to plan. The beauty of it? It works for both!

You can still plan a rough itinerary – think basic, just location and the time it takes to travel – while factoring in those potential spontaneous moments for yourself and travelling companions. For instance, looking ahead gives you time to think about which roads you’d like to take and will ensure you’re not exhausting yourself with driving. If something is a good couple of hours away, you might consider staying the night rather than driving all the way back. If you need any assistance with itineraries, check out our recommended itineraries.

So, a spontaneous overnight stay will leave you with free time to enjoy the facilities at the caravan park or relax at the beach with a book.

And who doesn’t love to finish off an action-packed day with a moment to yourself to relax?

Get the packing right

We know it’s tempting to wing it and just grab what you need on the way, but we’d recommend taking your time with your packing list.

In fact, packing the correct items mean you can wing it and jump into every opportunity along the way. You don’t want to miss out on a hike because you forgot your rain jacket, for instance!

Start writing things down a couple of weeks ahead of the trip to give yourself ample time to think through everything before you set off. Check the weather forecast and research what fellow travellers have recommended online to ensure you’re fully prepared.

After all, it’s better to have something and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

Let’s talk budgeting

Now for the sensible part. Planning a budget. This will keep you in a good position for a trip and ensure you don’t exceed your means along the way. So, how is it possible to get your finances set up and still factor in flexibility?

Once you’ve costed out food, drinks, fuel, entertainment, shopping, and activities, add an extra item reserved purely for spontaneous activities. This will encourage you to say ‘yes’ to last-minute opportunities that come your way!

A contingency plan is also an excellent way of staying on track budget-wise, even if you’re in a spontaneous mood. Add 10% wiggle room which will act as a great buffer if something comes in a little steeper than you were expecting.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a prepared planner or a wild winger, the key to making great memories is combining a bit of both. As they say, “The secret to life is finding the right balance to everything you do”. At Let’s Go Motorhomes, we have a range of motorhomes and campervans for hire so you and get started on your adventure today!

What are your top tips for planning vs winging it? Comment below!