If you can’t stick to your plans…. Don’t plan anything

by Kirsty on April 28, 2010

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We’ve been planning this trip for a long time now and over the last couple of days I’ve realised how much our plans have changed. We’ve always wanted to have no set schedule, hence – no place to be, but as time has gone on, we’ve let the plans become more and more vague.

The Forbidden City, Beijing China

Creative Commons License photo credit: kevinpoh

We started off buying a one-way ticket to Beijing, as mentioned before, which we always knew we were going to get. Although RTW tickets are good value, they were just not what we wanted as they are normally limited to a year,  Whereas we wanted to go travelling forever…..or at least spend a year in Australia and New Zealand. I think I would definitely go for a RTW ticket if I had a limited amount of time though, especially for my first trip.

There was actually a time when we looked at starting our trip right here at home and not flying anywhere. We thought about taking the channel tunnel across to mainland Europe and then making our way across to Russia and jumping on the Trans-Siberian Express and heading to China that way. We were both really excited by this idea but it soon became evident that our budget would not last long taking this route. It’s still something I am very keen to do and I’m sure (positive!) we shall do this in the future.

Trans-Siberian Railway 1990.Train Entering Zima Station.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Jim Linwood

In the early stages of planning our trip, Kirsty was still very keen on returning home in time to apply for a graduate job around March 2012, giving us 18 months to complete our trip. So we decided to spend a month in each country obviously starting in China and then throughout SE Asia. I guess the thinking behind this was it would keep us moving, not too fast, fit in nicely with visas and would make sure that we reached New Zealand before our time ran out. Luckily she seems to have changed her mind about this, you’d have to ask her for her reasons, but it’s given us a lot more freedom and all of our time limits seem to have been forgotten.

British passport and visa hell

Creative Commons License photo credit: the mechanical turk

Another intention was to apply for our Australian visas just before we left England as they remain valid for a year.  A year to explore SE Asia was fine for quite a while, but recently we felt that maybe we wouldn’t be ready after a year.  So now we’re going to apply for them in Singapore, whenever we finally get there. We’ve decided that we want to be completely free, so if something comes up or we want to stay somewhere we can just do it rather than having any ties. We did not sit down and discuss these changes they just seem to have happened over time, it’s probably a good job that we have been planning it for so long! We seem to have gone full circle, having quite robust plans (for us) to: let’s just wing it and see. I like the fact our plans are changing as we learn more and more about where we are going and reading more of other people’s highlights.  Surely a journey with no limitations is the best way to go or perhaps you disagree and we’re leaving it to open? Poi.


{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Joel April 28, 2010 at 9:36 pm

I think you know my perspective on this one! If you have time and flexibility to NOT have anything more than a loose plan, then go wtih that.

A plan is great for ensuring you won’t miss any highlights but that implies the need to squeeze a lot into a short period. It’s good to have GOALS, but let the rest flow naturally.
.-= Joel´s last blog ..5 Things I Wish I Had Known Sooner in Planning my RTW =-.


Poi & Kirsty May 1, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Freedom is even better on a bike! I am very jealous of your cycling plans and I would love to do something similar. Don’t think Kirsty would be up for it though.


Erin April 29, 2010 at 1:27 am

Absolutely agree that having no definite plan and not being tied into anything is the way to go. We had an amazing time on our 1 year RTW trip, but we made the mistake of being tied in with our RTW ticket and planning to go back!

14 months later and we headed off again – this time indefinitely with no plan. The freedom is wonderful!


Poi & Kirsty May 1, 2010 at 8:13 pm

You guys are an inspiration! The ultimate freedom, I hope everything works out well and we bump into you at somepoint!


Nomadic Chick April 29, 2010 at 9:39 am

Spontaneity is great, which is what my trip is all about. Why not yours? Can’t wait to see how it shapes up. 🙂
.-= Nomadic Chick´s last blog ..Is The Nomadic Lifestyle Really Available To Everyone? =-.


Poi & Kirsty May 1, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Thanks very much, I hope everything works out for you as well after your little suprise 🙂


Jaime April 29, 2010 at 12:29 pm

We’ve been out for nearly 12 months now & I have to say that some of our best memories have been when we decided to do something we would have never planned on.

The two regions in India that we had completely ignored in our planning sessions turned out to be our two favs!

Leaving space for change can take you in some awesome directions. Good luck!



Poi & Kirsty May 1, 2010 at 7:44 pm

We hope the same happens to us, we never want to have a reason to say no to anything. Thanks for commenting!


Martin April 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Mine and Jemmas plan to do something travel wise has changed approx 3 times in the last few months….Not only slightly but whole different continents!


Poi & Kirsty May 1, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Tour the UK?


Lindsay April 30, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Lauren and I did have a limited amount of time and thought the RTW trip ticket was our best option, especially since I got mine for free entirely on Continental OnePass miles! We thought we were going to include South America, and before we booked our tickets, that idea passed. Once we had our tickets, we thought we’d spend 2.5 weeks in Thailand, but we ended up including Cambodia. It’s gone like this the entire time, and now we’re in Greece with no intention of being here from the beginning.

Everytime I’ve tried to actually plan concrete things, I’ve had trouble. Once you start traveling, just figure out where you’re sleeping, if that, for the next few nights 🙂


Poi & Kirsty May 1, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Sounds like your having a lot of fun! I’d be quite happy to give sleeping rough a go but I don’t think Kirsty feels the same, hopefully most days we’ll know where we are sleeping that night!


Adam April 30, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I’m so glad we decided not to do a RTW ticket on our trip. We did the same as you are doing-buying our first one and that’s it. We flew into Lima, but we did book an apartment in Buenos Aires a little over 2 months later, figuring it would be easy to make it there. While we LOVED our time there, we were annoyed at HAVING to be there by a certain date, and it limited our time in Bolivia to 3 weeks, and we would have loved to have more time there.

I think you’re definitely doing it right. Limited plans are the best way to go. You can always have a rough sketch of where you may want to go, but as long as you don’t book anything, you’re in the clear.


Poi & Kirsty May 1, 2010 at 7:55 pm

The main plan we have is to spend some time in Thailand Scuba Diving and we’ve been contacting dive schools, it’s great because they say we can ring them a couple of days before we plan on arriving and they will sort everything out for us. So although it’s something we will get round to doing we don’t have a set date we have to attend.


Andi May 1, 2010 at 4:30 am

The only certainty one can have with travel is that there will be change. I’m really good with change and can adapt when needed, but I sure do LOVE planning a trip!!!
.-= Andi´s last blog ..imgp2629 =-.


Poi & Kirsty May 1, 2010 at 7:57 pm

We try to plan but we wan to do everything we read about, there’s no way we’ll get round it all so we’ll just see what happens when we’re on the move. The more change, the more fun.


Erica May 1, 2010 at 10:08 pm

We’re trying to have to same mentality – make very general plans and just go with it. While we don’t plan on being gone nearly as long as you (I wish but we’ll see how the finances go), I definitely want to make the best of the time we do have and take our time.

I’m so excited to read about your adventures – not to mention its always nice to meet other couples who are traveling as well.
.-= Erica´s last blog ..A Traveler’s Commitment =-.


Poi & Kirsty May 5, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Definately, travelling couples are the best! I think it is part of Poi and I’s mentality to not plan…. so it figures that we want to do it whilst travelling too


Kate May 3, 2010 at 8:40 pm

I think travelling without a structured itinerary or any idea of where you’re going to be next Wednesday/month/year is the best way to travel….

Just go with the flow and see where it takes you!

Unfortunately I have a rtw ticket which expires after a year but if I’m not too low on funds I plan to ditch the flight and see how much longer on the road I can get away with!


Poi & Kirsty May 5, 2010 at 12:38 pm

I think RTW are good if you only have a year, most people have a lot less time, but Poi has somehow pursuaded me that we should go for a long long long long time…


ayngelina June 1, 2010 at 3:25 am

I also think a one-way ticket is the way to go, in fact I’m not entirely convinced RTW tickets are really cheaper.

Plan nothing and be flexible. I’ve been in Central America 8 weeks now and my plans have changed too many times on a whim.
.-= ayngelina´s last blog ..As Gabriel sees it =-.


Poi & Kirsty June 1, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Plus it’s easier in the planning stages…. as you have hardly anything to plan!!!


Michael June 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I did the samething as you actually. I had bought a oneway ticket to Beijing. I nearly thought about the RTW ticket as well but thank goodness I didn’t. My ‘plans’ completely changed just a few days after getting into China. I had no plans to even go to South America and I somehow ended up there. Came back to whatever I had back in the states but now leaving again in 2 months for China. Think this trip will be a lot longer this time.
.-= Michael´s last blog ..Celebrating Memorial Day on a budget and preserving tradition =-.


Michael June 1, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Forgot to add… Best way to travel is overland anyway. I only had to fly twice. Plus AirAsia is so cheap.
.-= Michael´s last blog ..Celebrating Memorial Day on a budget and preserving tradition =-.


Poi & Kirsty June 1, 2010 at 8:31 pm

That’s what made us want to start there as there would be hardly any flying needed! When are you heading to China this time around?


Dina June 1, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I’m with you about this! We don’t plan too much, because we might want to stay in a place longer or just skip a place for something else. We do collect information about what stuff to see along the way, but we follow that loosely.
.-= Dina´s last blog ..Friday Photo: Flooded Road in Otago, South Island, New Zealand =-.


Poi & Kirsty June 1, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Exactly! 🙂 we’ve done a bit of reading about a few places we would like to go, but I think we’ll hopefully get a lot of advice from others on the road!


Ramblingsaffie June 17, 2010 at 8:16 am

No time frame, no set plans. Good luck, sounds ideal
Ramblingsaffie´s last blog post ..Does travelling require actual travelling?


three kat five August 7, 2010 at 12:16 pm

it is definitely more about leaving suitable gaps in your plan to fill with unplanned stuff than planning everything…does that make any sense? maybe not…

i’m on a RTW trip with my boyfriend too – we bought flight tickets that allowed us to save money (paying up front rather than as we go) but are flexible enough so that when we decided to stay in India that extra month, we could do so easily and (all-important) at no extra cost.

it might not be total freedom but it’s worked out well for us so far!
three kat five´s last blog post ..Not another Top 5 list- How to cook authentic Vietnamese


Poi & Kirsty August 9, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Sounds like you have the best of both worlds, cost effective and the freedom you want.

Thanks for checking out our site!


Clarisse December 10, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Hello to the both of you!

Happened to stumble upon your blog while doing some research on traveling. I wish i could just drop everything and go on a backpacking trip but there just always seems to be things that holds me back (excuses actually, haha).

Anyway, saw that you guys plan on visiting Singapore sometime during your trip, if you ain’t here yet, drop me an email i be glad to bring you guys around 🙂

You can email me (you have my email) or add me on facebook – http://www.facebook.com/clarissepoh

Hope i didn’t come across like some freaky or dodgy person!



Poi December 12, 2010 at 4:58 pm

haha no not at all – would be great to meet someone who knows there way around, I don’t have a clue when we’ll get to Singapore but we’ll be in touch! Thanks!


Hannah November 7, 2012 at 6:15 am

We have been reading your blog, and learning lots from it! Would love any feedback about our route http://www.gettingstamped.com/our-trip/our-rout/ and any other advice you may have! After reading this article I wonder if we have to much planned….


Getting Stamped


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