How can travelers set themselves up for happy surprises on the road? VIA readers share ways to cultivate spontaneity.
“Try an exotic food,” says Amy Rodrigues of San Jose.
“Drive a weird car,” says Candy Tutt of Woodland, Calif. “Our 1975 VW ‘hippie bus’ is a people magnet—they even leave notes.”
“Don’t plan out every day,” says Carol Moné of Trinidad, Calif.
“Talk to strangers,” says Bonnie Schraeder of Santa Cruz, Calif. “You’ll pick up great tips.”
“We schedule driving days to end at 2 p.m., then explore the place where we’ve stopped,” says Dave Daniel of Mesquite, Nev.
“Get off the interstates and take quieter roads,” says Charlene Morehead of Salem, Oregon.
Illustration by Michael Klein 
This article was first published in July 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.