How To Do Away With Strict Itineraries And Freeball It Across Europe


I wholeheartedly believe that travellers fall into one of two categories: they’re either super blasé about plans in general, or so anal that everything must be organised down to the perfectly calligraphed letter.

I happen to fall into category number one. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I do believe the whole point of travel is to take a break, see more of the world and relax. I must’ve missed the memo that said I had to be jolted awake by an alarm at godly hours of the morning just to be dragged along on a walking tour, where there’ll undoubtedly be an older couple who ask invasive questions about the tour guide’s marital status.

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Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a bit of planned fun. However, my type of plan includes getting to a particular city, bar or landmark in no particular hurry. You know, vague plans.

So, if you also happen to fall into category number one, here are a few ways you can still nail the Europe trip without having to set your alarm for 6am sharp.

Ditch the uptight travellers

First thing’s first – lighten the load.

If you find yourself organising an upcoming trip with some pals, and one of ’em seems that touch too organised, you’re in shark-infested waters – they’ll be coming for your unorganised blood as soon as you get on that plane.

The same goes for good friends who are naturally more highly strung than yourself – it might work in your hometown, but when you’re spending all of this additional time together and sharing the stress of travelling, it can go downhill really bloody quickly.

I say avoid ’em altogether. Either travel solo or find people who are as lax with timing as yourself, it’ll be a much smoother ride and no one will get shanked in their sleep by a monogrammed fountain pen.

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Study the map

If you’ve ever been to Europe before, you’ve probably fucked up your journey pretty hardcore at least once.

Whether it was cycling from Milan to Amsterdam (is that even possible and also gross why?) only to fly back to Rome, or perhaps catching a flight to a city that was a mere bus ride away, everyone has their own story about being a genuine travel dunce.

But if you’re keen on living that lax life, you’re going to need to get savvy in other areas. Namely, knowing what countries are near each other so you don’t waste hours flying back and forth all across Europe.

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Remember that plans are a guideline, not a rule

Okay, unless you’ve booked actual tickets to an event/festival/grand opening of a muppet strip club (count me in), you really shouldn’t need to be a stressy lil’ bessy.

The Eiffel Tower will still be there if you’re a couple of days late, the Colosseum hasn’t hosted a fight to the death in yonks and there’ll be an abundance of merry hostel-goers all times of the week, all times of the year – if you miss out on one all-time love, another one is right around the corner in a suspiciously stained bunk bed.

Sure, if you have specific events on your must-do list, get there by any means necessary. For everything else a little more permanent? Crawl there if you like, it ain’t going anywhere. If crawling’s wildly inefficient, jump on a Busabout trip anywhere across Europe. They have routes all over the shop and you can legit get off and on when you want, where you want and at your own pace while having a guaranteed ride the entire time. Sure as hell beats crawling.

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Always take up random offers

Rule number one, as a category number one: do not pass up a wacky adventure. Ever.

If you meet some wicked people in a hostel/hotel/motel/holiday inn and they’re going somewhere you’ve never heard of, go with them. If someone has a spare ticket to a random gig in a random city, you bet your ass you take that ticket.

If you do end up doing a Busabout, you can legit just go off and get up to whatever shenanigans you want and then just hop back on whenever your gig/festival/hot dog eating contest is finished.

A good story never starts with, “So there we were, sticking to our schedule and making perfect time…”.

Get the fuck outta here.