Are you a last minute person?

Last minute - Lagos Spa

I’m a procrastinator. I leave almost everything to the last minute.

Rearranging that hair appointment even though it will leave me high and dry with roots around my ears? Last minute. Making that restaurant reservation for that special occasion? Last minute. The doctor’s appointment? Going to get the kids from school? Getting the car serviced? Confirming plans with a friend?

Last minute. Last minute. Last minute!

Anything that I could leave until later I will.

Except holidays

Last minute - Wanderlust family in the Colosseum in Rome
24 hours in Rome needed some planning so we would all get what we wanted

Holidays are different. I love having a plan. I need to have a plan. Something to look forward to. You’re looking at the person who has already made plans with Mr Wanderlust to cover his holiday for the next 18 months. Yes. You read that right. EIGHTEEN MONTHS.

Thank goodness he loves holidays as much as I do or he’d surely be running for the hills. Marriage or no marriage – that’s a whole level of weirdness and commitment that pretty much no-one else I know wants!

And then this happened…

An unexpected break

Who wouldn’t love an unexpected break? Who wouldn’t love the chance to get a whole week off with the opportunity to travel? All offered…. you guessed it, at the last minute.

We were travelling back from the UK when the news came in that instead of a 3 day break, Mr Wanderlust was to score a 5 day one. 5 days makes it suddenly worth considering a proper break – last minute or not. Should be great, right? Carpe Diem – seize the day!

And yet it threw me for a complete loop.

It didn’t feel real

For the first week back we were just getting into the swing of being back. Then Mr Wanderlust took off (literally) for a week and I was left researching on my own.

Last minute - Wanderlust family in Wadi Rum, Jordan
8 days in Jordan over Christmas took quite a bit of planning!

Which, it turns, out I’m not good at all.

So here we are

This is probably as last minute as it has ever got for me. Ever. I may have been slightly more spontaneous during my gap years but I doubt it.

I’m all for seizing the day.

Just in a well-ordered, thought out manner.

Last minute - Lagos spa pool
Even when you book it late – like the spa in Lagos – it’s been planned for in advance

In 5 days we are supposed to be on a plane to somewhere. To anywhere! I’m pretty sure we’ve looked at every flight there is within a 5 hour flying time from here. And a few with up to 8. We’ve considered places we’ve already been and others that we haven’t. We’ve asked advice and looked up where the best places to go are in August.

Time to stop waiting for more time?

There’s a place we have wanted to go since we moved here. Since I met Mr Wanderlust, in fact.

He spent the first 3 months of his gap year there and I would love to see the country he fell in love with. Our old nanny lives there. She holds such a special place in our hearts that it would be wonderful to see her again. But this country needs 2 weeks at a minimum to even scratch the surface. 3 weeks if you’re going to start seeing it properly. And in the absence of an unallocated 2 week break since we moved here, we’ve never been.

There are probably 4 or 5 places currently in our top 10 that are like that. If you can’t go for at least 2 weeks then there’s no point.

So we haven’t

Last minute - Maldivian beach
Last year when we got the opportunity to go to the Maldives we jumped at it!

But around my birthday a couple of months ago, I decided it was time to stop putting things off. If we can only go for a week then so be it. We can go and do one small part, knowing that we need to go back to do more at some later date.

Decision made, right?


This should have been a no brainer. We were all but decided until I looked at the itinerary and realised that out of 8 days, 4 would be spent travelling, 1 will be with our lovely nanny and just 3 will be actually exploring the country we came to see. It felt crazy. Ludicrous.

Back to the drawing board

We had a shortlist of places to go that had vaguely affordable flights to get us there on. (Side note, it’s safe to say I know how much flights to almost anywhere in Europe and South East Asia and some of Africa should cost. Just in case you’re, you know, wondering).

We looked at the first one. Lots to do and see. Beautiful scenery. Definitely on the list (although to be fair most places are on my list lol). But it’s a popular destination and we found our options for hotels either not great or wildly expensive. We kept going down the list. We added places. Islands, mountains, cities. It got pretty indiscriminate to be fair. The flight times for some were terrible. Or indirect with awful connections. Some places needed ferries. I was literally researching potential itineraries for no less than 7 different destinations. At the last minute.

Last minute - view of the sea from our Amalfi coast villa
I started researching Italian villas for our summer holiday over 6 months in advance

Eventually we looked at ourselves and realised we were clutching at straws. “Is this seizing the day?” I wondered aloud. “Or are we going on holiday just for the sake of it?” Mr Wanderlust didn’t answer but I’m pretty sure he things that a holiday for the sake of it could still be an amazing holiday.

So what’s my point?

Why am I writing this post? Well this one was more of a post for me than for you my lovely Wanderlsuters.

I have felt a bit out of sorts since this whole decision-making process came to light.

For starters this is one of the most first world problems I have ever had the annoyance of having. A holiday and I don’t know where to go? I mean, if you listen really carefully you can hear the violins playing in the background. How could I have the audacity of feeling anxious about booking a last minute holiday?!

It’s not all superficial

Going a little deeper, I was surprised at how paralysed I felt by the problem. For starters, I knew I liked to plan but, wow, I didn’t know I needed it so much. To be honest once the initial planning is done (destination chosen on basis of awesome holiday potential, flights and hotels booked), I do tend to leave the rest of it to the last minute.

I realised that I do research the living daylights out of a place before we book it. We have got a lot more flexible in some ways around planning our itineraries since having kids. Although we now have to plan around bedtimes and meal times and, until recently, nappy changing opportunities and nap times, I’d say we are way better at being flexible. And last minute-y.

That being said, this week I’ve realised that we still almost always need to have a plan. In a way, we plan more! Nothing ruins a day more than bored kids waiting around for mummy and daddy to come up with ideas. We usually have a list of things we want to do even if we don’t know when we will do them, when we will need a rest day, or when we need to accommodate for inclement weather.

I realised how much I have missed having a big holiday to plan. Exploring-y holidays are still my favourite type of holiday. It was a shock to realise I am not comfortable going to a country and not feeling like I’ve really seen it. Like I haven’t scratched the surface.

I knew I was a control freak but this shook me a bit. I’m a travel addict – how could the lack of control override my excitement of planning a trip?

What did we decide?

We have made a decision which I’ll share in due course. I’m not going to jinx it all by telling you where we are going until it’s all safely booked.

But for anyone who has made it this far, I think you deserve to know that we’ve decided to stick with plan A. Our reasoning? If we don’t go next week we might not have the opportunity to go for many years. And a week there, somewhere that has been on the list for so long, is surely going to be an awesome experience. And definitely not a holiday for the sake of it.


What sort of traveller are you Wanderlusters? Do you like to plan everything? Or are you the last minute, fly by the seat of your pants sort of traveller that I aspire to be?

Emma Morrell
Emma Morrell

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  1. Dan Jones
    29 September 2018 / 22:03

    Somehow without realizing it, I have become a holiday PLANNER! Like, militant! I honestly think back to my backpacking days and marvel (in horror!) at how we would just fly into a new country, or arrive on the train, with no accommodation booked and sometimes no idea what there even was to do there! Of course, we’re talking 15-20 years ago, with no smartphones and only a dog-eared Lonely Planet Guide if we were lucky! Ahh, those were the days!
    This summer I went to Alaska for 3 weeks. In the months preceding, my friend John and I spent HOURS (every Friday night for 5 hours at a time for weeks!) researching. First, our travel route. In a state as big as Alaska, there is a lot to see, so we had to work out seeing as much as we could without driving or traveling non-stop. A friend gave us loads of ideas of places he’d visited and where we could not bother with, which was really useful. Then researching places to stay (we camped the whole time!😱) and things to do. Tours, excursions, the best hikes …. it got to the point where I was sick of it all! But …. it meant that when we were there, we didn’t have to think of a thing. There were no worries about that campsite not being available (although we did risk at least one ‘no reservation, first-come-first-served’ campsite), or will we get a place on that boat excursion, or is this the best tour we can do for the money we can spend. And that honestly made it all worthwhile. Because I think that, as I get older, I want to get the most out of every trip. Who knows if I’ll go to Alaska again, or when. It was the same with Hawaii 2 years ago. What’s the point in ending up at ‘just okay beach/restaurant/anything’, when, with a bit of planning, you know you’re at the best one!
    I’m also like you, Em, where I have my holidays planned out months in advance! I’m lucky in that I know exactly when my vacation time will fall and how long I’ll have. That makes planning a lot easier. I love thinking ahead to all the places I’ll be visiting this year – so fun!
    John and I are off to the Grand Canyon area for October half-term. In case I sound like a planning psycho, we planned and booked that one rainy Sunday afternoon (flights, rental car, campsites, excursions). Now I can just sit back and look forward to it!

    • 25 November 2018 / 09:44

      I love all the research that you did for the Alaska trip! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with planning per se – especially when you want to make the most of every second you have in a place! I do think the Sri Lanka trip was good for me in that it forced me to be a bit more spontaneous. I’ve heard a saying that you pay for something in money or time but you always pay. In this case we paid for the spontaneity in both money AND time – maybe not as much time as if we had meticulously planned it but still time where we were scrambling to fix something like a train being full or realising we were planning 2 day trips to the exact same region 3.5 hours away from where we were staying (oops). The other thing for me as I have started writing is that knowing as much as I can about the place I am going means I am much more likely to find a great story. But let’s be honest – that’s not my main reason lol. I just love knowing what we have coming up even if it isn’t booked yet.