When’s the last time you got spontaneous?
“Let’s just go. Let’s just go somewhere,” I say to Mr Twos. It’s Saturday, 11 am on Anzac Day weekend. The fall weather is exactly what I’d order off a menu if there were such a thing, and I want to ride in the car with the top down (the cars’, not mine), sing 80’s rock, and blast the bun warmers. He looks at me warily, head tilted like a chihuahua, “What? Where? …..Like, now?” We throw things in a bag, and 20 minutes later, we’re out the door and gunning for breathtaking Leura in the Blue Mountains. We don’t have a place to lay our heads for the night, but it’s an exhilarating feeling to flip my middle finger at the security and protection that planning provides. So, sod it, as they say here in Australia. Sometimes, the only way forward is through.
The drive to Leura is a quick hour and a half, and though we were humouring ourselves about sleeping in the park, truth be told – I’m not not getting nervous about accommodations for the night. Practicality normally defeats mirth, but ‘NOT THIS TIME, YOU BUGGER!!,’ I think as I eyeball the blanket we always keep in the car. Surely there must be something? After looking online, I find that we DO have choices! We can stay at the Backpacker’s in bunk beds with the 18-year-olds and their I’ll-sleep-when-I’m-dead mentality, something we immediately dismiss because NO. We can lodge at a fab but exxy French-inspired chateau suite for over a thousand dollars, or slumber at an establishment that looks as if it could be used as a stand-in for an insane asylum (and not a modern one), where we’d share a bathroom with the other
inmates guests. Obviously, not only a ‘no’ but a ‘hell no’.
Travel can be a lot, can’t it? Paying for it, planning for it, fighting that awful decision paralysis, packing and committing; it puts a lot of people off. When you jump into a pop-up trip and go all in, none of that becomes an issue because you don’t have time for it. Pretty simple, right? Lean into the uncharted territory and pick a spot, one you’ve wanted to get to but haven’t or even one of your tried and true favourites if that’s what’s going to fill your soul. Get a map, point at it and head where your finger lands. Getting out there with little to no planning can be incredibly freeing and makes it more likely that you experience things you never would have otherwise. I can guarantee you, you’ll find something to do and a reason to appreciate being there. Look at you, turning lemons into limoncello.
- Phone hotels that are out of your budget and ask them for their best price. Hotels are constantly striving to meet occupancy targets and the chance that someone is going to book in at the last minute isn’t great. It’s a gamble for them to say ‘no.’ HOT TIP: The magic hour is 4 pm. Call then, because that’s when hotels are going to be rock-bottom ready to deal.
- Double-check Stayz and Airbnb for availability.
- Phone hotels for last-minute cancellations, don’t just rely on the website. Booking policies have been extremely generous to travellers of late to encourage them to get out and support tourism. Because of this, very late cancellations can be made with little to no notice. If you’re lucky, you’ll grab one of those. (We did, at the first one I called, as a matter of fact.)
- If you’re in Australia, check with the pubs. They often have a few rooms to let.
- I have a friend who shows up to a hotel looking pitiful and bedraggled. You’d be surprised how many times it’s worked for her!
- Still nothing? Widen your search. 5, 10, 20 km’s outside of your location. You never know what treasures you’ll stumble upon by the benevolent force of the travel gods.
Now, you. Get out there and do something, go somewhere.
And take your best friend.