Appreciating the Unexpected Surprises when you Travel Without Plans

In case you haven’t noticed so far (and you haven’t, wth?!), I am a sucker for a getaway. Whether it’s a quick city break, a cheap and cheerful staycation, or an all out luxury sunshine holiday, there’s something that makes me so happy about getting away from everyday life. I mean, browsing the web for holidays I can’t afford but dream about pretty much daily is literally a hobby of mine. But the really exciting part? Booking a break on a whim. Going away with no plans. Just letting each day happen as it comes. And when you travel without plans, you’ll find you come across a few little, unexpected surprises…

Warning: you are about to see some very old, blonde pictures of me!

    *This blog post was written for the Surprise Trips blogger/vlogger competition where someone will win a surprise trip for two, but I mean every single word! You can find out more about the competition here.

The picturesque places you find to waste the day away in.

When you think about visiting Paris, what comes to mind? Heading to the Eiffel Tower maybe? Walking along the River Seine? Maybe it’s shopping down the Champs-Elysees? I mean, don’t get me wrong, these are all amazing reasons to visit Paris. But one thing I love about strolling around Paris is the beautiful parks and landscaped areas you accidentally stumble across, and you find yourself walking slower and slower to really take it all in. In fact, any picturesque places you accidentally find yourself stepping into are great for spending the afternoon mooching about and people watching. Two other favourites of mine were exploring Corfu town unplanned and gawping at the magnificent market stalls, exquisite little gifts shops and the refined restaurants, and the beautiful harbour we accidentally found ourselves at in Cyprus, where we proceeded to spend hours sipping iced tea and watching the world go by as the sun set. Perfection.

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The (almost) strangers you travel and bond with.

It’s natural to meet strangers across the globe as you travel, but what about when you travel with people you barely knew in the first place? This has happened on two occasions for me. After being at university for just a couple of weeks, our course decided spontaneously to book a group holiday to anywhere cheap so that we could well and truly get to know each other. We ended up with Bulgaria, as it was the only place we could all afford, and what an amazing experience. From creating everlasting friendships to the memory of that certain someone’s first free bar experience not ending well. (I shall name no names!) The second time I travelled with almost strangers is when a girl I worked with had a spare spot for a trip to Ibiza that needed filling. I didn’t know her well, and I’d never considered going to Ibiza, but who am I to say no to a holiday? So I took the plunge and went for it. The result? We are now best friends and returning to Ibiza in Summer 2017. There are some things you go through and can’t help but be friends afterwards… turns out drinking until your liver disintegrates is one of them.

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The celebrities you accidentally meet on the way.

I can safely say that I have never booked a holiday and anticipated bumping into a celebrity. I don’t think I could go anywhere and anticipate that. Just imagine it! I mean, imagine heading to Magaluf for your first ever holiday abroad at the age of 18 and getting seated next to Basshunter at the Pirates show! And imagine if, when spending your second time in Benidorm, you just happened to see the full Benidorm cast filming at your hotel and even had a cheeky selfie by side of the pool with Johnny Vegas. Can you imagine it?! Because I can. Because, yup! It happened to me. 😎

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The moment you discover that the stuff on postcards is really, truly real.

Seeing pictures is one thing, but stepping out and looking at your surrounding scenery only to have your breath instantly taken from your chest is something else. It’s a magical feeling to know that there are so many beautiful corners of the world you can discover and that each and every one leaves a special imprint in your memories. The one that sticks with me above all is when I first stepped onto the beach at my resort in Mexico. It was hard to believe that sand so crystal, a sea of such a shimmering blue expanse and a sky so vivid really exists. But it does. It really, truly does.

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You see, travelling is amazing, no matter what you do or where you go. You get to discover hidden gems, fall in love with new places and make memories to last a lifetime. But would your memories really have such a warm place in your heart without all the little things that go alongside the big things? Would you ooze as much passion when talking about the places you’ve visited without the little anecdotes to go with it? Sometimes, the little unexpected surprises really turn out to be the best.

Hell, why not go all out and have a surprise trip altogether?! You can do just that with Surprise Trips. They can send you off to one of 77 possible European weekend destinations. The really exciting part? You won’t have a clue where it is until you get to the airport.

What do you think of surprises when travelling? Would you go ahead with a complete surprise trip? I know I would!

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  • LaaLaa

    Such a great post, I’d think I’d do a surprise holiday. It would be different xo

  • How fantastic! This is the way I love to travel – with very little plans, just letting the adventure unfold before you! 🙂

  • Helen Clark

    I love to go away with no plans of what to do until I get there. I don’t think I could book an all out surprise trip tho, I like to check up on the resort and hotel too much first.
    I went to Ibiza in almost the same circumstances as you and had one of the best holidays of my life

  • Vicky Hallnewman

    When I went interrailing with my 6 year old in the summer, we met so many strangers who became friends. I love to travel and if you do it without plans – then it is full of surprises

  • Ashton your pictures are beautiful! and I am the exact same! Spend my time looking at the cheapest flights to see where I can run away to next! I recently have been Copenhagen and Amsterdam, where’s my December trip at? I wanna meet Johnny Vegas and cuddle him, my new year goal xxxx

    http://www.frostinspace.co.uk

  • I love the idea of just going somewhere and seeing what you can find, I can imagine you can come across some real surprises.

  • You are absolutely right about the unexpected places you sometimes stumble across, the beautiful hidden gems – although famous landmarks are a dream to visit, I particularly enjoy wandering off and taking in the smaller things 🙂 lovely photography!

    http://www.lovefrommaira.co.uk

  • Hannah

    Your photography is on point! I’m so lazy when it comes to making my blog posts pretty with nice photos like yours. I need to pull my finger out as it definitely makes posts a lot more enjoyble to read. Mexico looks absolutely stunning! Really enjoyed reading this thanks xxx http://www.hannahscloud9.com

  • everinmay

    Some of my favourite moments travelling were the unexpected ones too, we came across a free music festival in athens and a festival in cyprus by pure fluke and both experiences have stayed in my mind years later, those little moments are what make travelling so much fun! I love how confident you are and your ability to just ‘say yes’ to experiences, very inspiring! xx

  • Hungry_Healthy_Happy

    The unexpected thing I love about travelling is getting lost. It has always been the way that I have found my favourite places.

  • Christine Dodd

    I’m all for an unplanned adventure – I like to do my city breaks with no pre-set agenda and just see what happens.

  • Sam

    I love the concept of surprise trips! I am planning one myself next year!

  • Sian…

    I’d love to go on a surprise trip abroad! I always love to go to tourist places but love finding some unique places (in my case, it’s usually cafes/restaurants and shops!). I love that you met Basshunter! I remember seeing him twice at the very first Freedom Fest! I’m loving all of your travel posts; I need to get my passport renewed so I can get jet-setting!

    Sian x
    http://theenglisheverygirl.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Kathryn

    I’m too regimental and too much of an organiser to do anything on a whim, but I do wish I was more adventurous xx

  • Wow your photos are beautiful. I love having plans but more like areas to wander around in as there is so much hidden to explore in countries x

  • I love unplanned trips, I think they have to be the best! I took a spontaneous holiday with someone I barely knew and they ended up becoming one of my best friends. Your pictures are absolutely beautiful too, they could almost be postcards 😉 xx

  • Tanya Brannan

    I am a bit of a control freak and like to know where I am going and when. That being said, a recent trip to Budapest was very ad hoc and it was magnificent. I love all your pictures too. I NEED a holiday!!!! x

  • Your photos are so stunning!!! So jelly of your travels!!! I wanna come!! Surprise trips are the best xox

  • I would love to go on a surprise trip, we usually plan our holidays far in advance!

  • Beautyqueenuk

    Surprise trips sound amazing to me, especially when you have photos as stunning as these are x

  • Laura

    This post made me feel so happy to read. I absolutely love travelling and exploring the world. My holidays are what I live for! xxx

  • Melanie Edjourian

    I do love to travel and really wish that I could get to go and see more places. Good luck with the competition xxx

  • I love to travel so would definitely head off on a surprise trip – it would be amazing! x

  • fashion-mommy

    I love this post, how fab to meet celebs on your holiday. We once stayed at the same hotel as Jim Bowen, but not really the same!

  • Francesca Nelson

    Oh accidentally meeting celebrities has to be top of the list right!? hahaha what a lovely little read!

  • Lyndsey

    I love being spontaneous it makes the trip so much more exciting!
    L x