Planning your entire trip months ahead of time is unnecessary thanks to modern day technology, or relying of the kindness of others. As a spontaneous person, my travel plans were a direct reflection. A few of the websites I will mention below may require at least a weeks notice but there are last minute opportunites as well.
Rome2Rio: This sight is a great resource for planning your route. Type in your location and destination and this site will generate multiple route options with every possible form of transportation. They will even include a rough price estimation and distance calculated. It saves you so much time because there is no need to look up each transportation possibility and cost separately.
HostelWorld: If you’re looking for a cheap stay on short notice, this site is an excellent option. Although it is way cheaper to book a day or two in advance, we managed to score some shared hostel rooms in Europe for less than 18 euros per person on multiple occasions. I would not recommend this site if you are booking the night off. Multiple sites such as Airbnb or hotels.com offer last minute bookings as well.
Couchsurfing: This is also another great site to use a couple days in advanced. Couchsurfing.com allows you to search for hosts in the area you are planning to visit and message locals from within the vicinity asking the for a room for however long you plan on staying. We were lucky to stay with some locals who took us in last minute but there were also times where we could not find anyone willing to “share their couch”. It can be a gamble but there is an opportunity for a unique local experience and great friendships. Out of curtesy, try and message the hosts in advanced or post an open message stating where you are looking to stay and what time frame.
Megabus: Megabus is the perfect fusion of hotel and transportation because many of the busses run late at night. Disclaimer: The seats are uncomfortable and the bus fills up fast but falling asleep wasn’t an issue for the average exhausted and on a budget traveler. Bus fares can range anywhere from 1 to 30 pounds. (Be mindful that this website charges in pounds, not euros)
Skyscanner: Perfect for a spontaneous and cheap flight. Type in your destination and a list of nearby destinations with cheapest fare will pop up. You will be able to choose different destinations and look at a graph that shows cheapest days to travel every month. You can also narrow it down by week and all airports.
BlaBla Car: Although BlaBla Car is not yet available in all countries, it has proven to be most helpful when it comes to arriving to your destination faster. This was by far the best option for traveling through Germany, for example, because drivers can go as fast as they want on the Autobahn while bus drivers tend to drive with more caution and have a lot more weight to transport, added in a couple extra hours journey time. This takes a bit of planning to ensure you find a driver during the time you plan to travel. Flexibility is recommend.
Hitchwiki: When in doubt, hitchhike your way out. This site is essential for the last minute traveler without a time crunch. If you don’t want to pay for transportation this site tells you the best places for hitchhikers to get picked up within a chosen country. Most of the recommendations require standing outside service stations but some are difficult to get to as they are on the outskirts of a city. Following past hitchhikers directions followed by user reviews for these tips will no doubt find you a ride.
These are but a few websites that have proven to be extremely useful along our journey through Europe. If there are any useful sites for the spontaneous traveler that were not mentioned, please leave a comment below. We would also love to hear if these sites helped you along your journey. Safe travels!