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!
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.
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).
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.
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!
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??