This thread is prompted specifically by this comment on this thread https://www.cyclechat.net/threads/anyone-fancy-a-6-8-week-tour-of-europe-summer-2019.245572/ , but it relates to lots of other threads that I have read over the years. For example, any discussion about Google maps or other online navigation resources will have at least one person talking about using the Google Earth facility to scrutinise their route to the nth detail. It seems that some will actually “travel” their route on the computer long before they cycle it. Without meaning to be critical I don’t understand that level of detailed planning. I don’t even understand those that plan out their daily itineraries and know exactly how far they will cycle, where they will stay and possibly even where they will eat. To me, touring is all about the freedom - freedom to go where I want, when I want and probably more important, to stop when I want. It’s also about the feeling of being an explorer. I know I’m not, but the more information I have, the less I feel like I’m breaking new ground. Now, don’t get me wrong - I have done short tours where I had a fair idea how far I would travel each day and where I would stay - but these are normally out of season where camping options (and daylight) are scarce. And even then, I don’t think I ever followed the plan as originally set out. To my way of thinking, the more detailed and specific a plan is, the harder it is to deal with an enforced change to that plan. Added to that, the longer the tour the more impact an enforced change can have. The kinds of things that have happened to me that would screw up a detailed plan include: A back wheel failure on a long weekend test ride for a new second-hand bike A broken saddle pin necessitating an overnight at a petrol station on the road to Verona A crash where I dislocated my shoulder, cracked a couple of ribs and lost quite a bit of skin Snowed in mountain pass Getting totally lost - several times! On the other hand, circumstances that lead me to changing my “plan” for the day include… Discovering a wooden hut in a German forest that called out for an overnight stay Cycling through an Alpine valley way past my destination for the night, long after the sun set because the traffic disappeared and the effects of the night falling was glorious, falling asleep in a vineyard watching the stars above Meeting with and cycling with a local and getting a personal tour, on the bike of Strasbourg and so deciding to stay. Meeting other cyclists and cycling “their way” for a while Several beaches in Spain Countless stops at cafes where lunch was so good I had to go back for dinner! In the interest of balance, some of the consequences of minimal planning include.. Climbing the 2 highest peaks of my route through Northern Spain on the same day (only discovered afterwards) Being surprised by May Day in France when absolutely nothing was open. Emergency rations! Rolling up to a campsite that no longer existed Following a road that became a dual carriageway and then motorway in Italy. All was good until I met a tunnel! I think the point I’m making is that I think my touring experiences would be far less valuable if I didn’t have the freedom to wander hither and thither. And even the negatives are all part of the adventure and generated positive experiences in their own way. I wonder how much of that is psychological? I’d imagine that if my head was filled with detail such as how far I had to go, the time I had to do it in etc. that there would be less space for where I am…..now. I didn’t start out that way. My first (adult) solo, self supported tour was planned in great detail. But it took less than a day for me to break my plan by wandering off course. It took a great deal of internal discussion with myself before I did that, though. I’m sure I have missed interesting things in areas that I have passed through by virtue of not knowing they are there. Mind you, I have rolled into Fiestas in Spain and beer festivals in Germany that were pleasant surprises too! Finding travelling buddies can be difficult too - not everyone wants to do a “fly by the seat of your pants” tour. I understand that planning can be enjoyable and a great way to pass cold winter nights. I like to read about where I plan on cycling and I’ll take a bunch of notes about things that might be useful such as local sights, peculiar weather, dodgy places etc. I’ll mark off possible campsites, but I won’t be setting down a daily itinerary. I suppose too, that the type of bike you have will influence the planning style. Some bikes won’t handle off-road so knowing road surfaces is important. I ride an old MTB so can go pretty much anywhere. So……. Do you plan everything? Why? Do you think you are missing out on anything? What am I missing by not planning in such great detail? Are you put off touring because the planning seems too complicated? And what are your best and worst experiences of flying by the seat of your pants?