My Travel Style Evolution

Happy Travel Tuesday everyone! I’m back just in time for this week’s themed prompt all about my travel style! Everyone certainly differs in the way they travel – from the first class to the backpacker budget – but we all have one thing in common – a love of travel!

family vacation, Gatlinburg Tennessee

Family vacay

Let me give you a little background on my travel style first. Growing up my family normally went somewhere out of state about once a year (almost always to a surrounding state). We always traveled by car, leaving at ungodly hours because my dad was too anxious about getting there to sleep. Bathroom breaks were few and far between, so you had to monitor fluid intake pretty closely (smile). Once we arrived at our destination, the next challenge (if we weren’t staying with family) was to find a hotel room. Now I’m not entirely sure if this was just the days before the internet or my parents didn’t believe in planning that far ahead, but I remember driving around for what seemed like forever comparing room rates before finally returning back to the “best deal.” To this day my dad still uses this method if someone doesn’t essentially force him into booking ahead.

The other interesting thing that was a part of the family traveling style was packing enough groceries to keep us all fed through the trip. We maybe ate out once or twice in a week long adventure. Looking back I see now that it was my parents’ way of trying to save money so we could do more/stay longer/etc., but at the time I just assumed that’s how everyone did it. I’m not sure we ever traveled with any set itinerary, but we usually went to a destination that didn’t necessarily need one – e.g., the beach, a park, etc. I can’t remember us ever taking a true road trip with stops along the way. It was always destination and home.

I share this background in order to give you a better idea of where some of my travel style quirks originated. In some ways I stay true to the family philosophies, but I also learned a great deal about what I did not want to continue in my own.

Ferry Caledonian MacBrayne

I Mix Up My Modes

Planes, trains, automobiles – boats, buses, bicycles – and a few other things I prefer not to think about (smile). I love to mix up my methods of transportation. Trains are by far my favorite way to travel, but I love to try out whatever happens to be popular in the place I’m in. I’ve tried out my fair share of contraptions over the years (with somewhat mixed results), and have certainly made some memories en route!

Growing up, cars were the primary method of moving around. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good road trip, but only if it’s a true road trip where I get to stop along the way and see cool stuff (smile). Unlike my family, I always want to stop and see the silly roadside attractions and/or photo ops along the way. On the flip side, much like my dad I tend to prefer an early start to my day and to avoid any unnecessary stops (they cut into fun time). I also always keep snacks on hand, just to keep everyone happy until meal time.

Planes and I still have a love/hate relationship. I’ve gradually grown into a semi-frequent flier now, but I was definitely a “nervous Nelly” in the beginning. I was mostly nervous about navigating airports, but once I figured out that all you have to do is follow the signs and be very, very patient, I learned to sit back, relax, and watch all the crazy, wonderful people go by. I still don’t like flying per se, but if it gets me there quicker then I’m all for it (smile).

Mammoth Hot Springs Cabin Yellowstone National Park

I Book Ahead

I am a Type A planner by nature – I can’t help it! But I have learned over the years to stick with loose plans instead of timed itineraries. Unlike my parents, I pretty much have to have a room booked before I arrive. I may change my mind when I see the place, but I like to know that worst case scenario there’s a destination to go towards when I arrive. I’m okay booking rooms from one place to the next, but I can’t remember a time I’ve ever had luck arriving and shopping around.

As for the types of accommodations, it depends on the trip. I’ve stayed in everything from a 5-star hotel to a sex hotel (wish I was kidding) and quite a few places in between (smile). My accommodations depend largely on my budget and the experience I’m looking for, but I will say this – I’ve rarely found myself finding true local culture at large resorts.

Dunchraigaig, Kilmartin, Scotland, UK

I Like To Know My Options (But Also To Leave Room For Surprises!)

I’m an active traveler. I want to stop and see the world’s largest ball of dental floss. If there’s a cathedral, church, or other religious building in town, lead me to it! I’m good for a lazy day on the beach here and there, but I can never sit still for very long. I’m definitely one of those people that need a vacation from their vacation! I do like to have an idea of what a place has to offer in terms of activities and sights, but I try not to plan exactly what to see and when. I do like to try to group activities in the same area on the same day for the sake of efficiency, but I’m rarely committed to doing anything at any time. My favorite parts of taking in the sights are the surprises I stumble upon along the way!

backpack

I Pack Light

Until just a few years ago, I was totally a chronic over-packer. I traveled like I was Paris Hilton and my trip budget always suffered for it in some way. Plus it’s really no fun to drag a 60 pound suitcase on/off water taxis in Venice. Just…yeah. But a few years ago my friend and I traveled to SE Asia and I discovered the fine art of backpacking. I’ve been sold ever since (smile)! I’m a huge proponent of packing clothes I can discard along the way to make room for new goodies, and I’m always looking for new tips and tricks to keep things lighter. A good, custom-fitted backpack is well worth the investment for any budget traveler. (It’s also the only way you can get a bag to an eco-lodge ½ mile off the road through a rainforest…just sayin’).

What’s your travel style??


Come join the fun with BonnieKaeleneSammy, and Van!!

Travel Tuesday

12 thoughts on “My Travel Style Evolution

  1. I think my family traveled in a similar style (annual week-long car trips to neighboring states, leaving late at night/early in the morning, few stops along the way) although my mom did usually book hotels and things ahead of time. It was before Internet so we used guidebooks, AAA, and printed brochures! Some great childhood road trip memories, and look how you’ve grown into your own independent traveler.

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    • It’s amazing just how fond I am of those memories now – hindsight I guess 🙂 It’s fun to reminisce! My dad clearly thinks I’m crazy in some of my travel habits (usually the ones picked up from him no less!), but to each their own. Finding and honing a personal style is half the fun of traveling!

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    • Ha – I’m so happy to hear I’m not the only one that took those road trips!! It’s difficult to imagine taking a trip now and “winging it” like we did back then. It might be a fun experiment to try though, just to see how long I’d last 🙂

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  2. Those childhood road trip memories are the best! Love that you remember driving to the different hotels to get the best rate. So glad we can do that now on the internet!

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    • It is truly amazing what a difference the internet has made in traveling! Everything seems so much easier now, but I also have a greater respect for my parents for managing some of the things they did with a road map and hotel brochures 🙂

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  3. Awww your childhood story is so sweet!! I love roadtrips but they’re not really a thing in Germany though growing up in the US and doing roadtrips each year – what a dream! Also I’m a chronic overpacker too (who has not yet mastered the art of backpacking) and I need to have a plan of what I want to do and see in a certain location! Thanks for sharing your travel style evolution with us 🙂

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    • Those road trips are some of the best and worst memories of my childhood 🙂 I realize in retrospect how lucky I am that we did travel, even if it wasn’t on a major level. I certainly gained a lot of practicality out of them!
      Oh the backpack…there’s definitely an art to it. Most people would probably consider me a bit mad if they knew how long it takes me to whittle down my selection – but it’s definitely worthwhile 🙂

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  4. Oh my gosh I’m the same! I’m totally an over-packer, although travelling on small airlines and wanting to avoid costs has brought me to travel with a backpack. And I totally love being an active traveller too! I love to stop and see what there is to see on the way, it’s not just the destination that matters it’s the whole process to get there as well! 🙂 Lovely post! I love to hear about your background and the influence it has had on you!

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    • Exactly! It is the whole process that makes traveling so much fun! Sometimes the best stories come from incredibly long layovers or being stuck on a stopped train. I’m also so glad I’m not the only one who’s had to convert to the minimalist backpack. I won’t even get into just how long the process is in going from what I want to pack to what I can afford to pack – but it works! I’d much rather save the airline fees for something more fun along the way 🙂

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