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Are you an "island collector" or a repeat visitor

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May 28th, 2008, 05:58 PM
  #1
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Are you an "island collector" or a repeat visitor

As many of you know, I run a resort in Cayman, and one thing that often leaves me shaking my head is when posters note "I've already been to (insert island here), I want to try somewhere else".

Leaving aside the fact that it kills me that people think staying on Seven Mile Beach means that they should try another country rather than the totally different experience of (say) the other two Cayman Islands or the East End.....

....just wondering on balance how many of us prefer to "collect" islands, as opposed to those who have found their favourite and go back again and again... and of course those who are somewhere in between.

I guess I am letting my personal experience influence me. I've been fortunate enough to visit over 20 Caribbean countries and about 70 countries worldwide, so perhaps I'm about done with exploring and most always settle on the same place (in my case it is the Scottish Highlands, where my family lives... I just like the fact my Blackberry doesn't work!).

BTW, who has tried the various "where you've been" map applications on the likes of Facebook and Tripadvisor..almost as addictive as that traveller IQ quiz !

So... are you folks a) island collectors, b) repeat visitors to your favourites, or c) somewhere in between.. and, if c), what is the balance.

I'm about 70% "repeat" and 30% "new" on my personal / vacation trips, but then I have squillions of miles under my belt (for my sins) and travel is getting old for me.... building a new house and want to take my next vacation just sitting on the porch !

Looking forward to hear what folk think on this.
TomCayman is offline  
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May 28th, 2008, 06:29 PM
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Hi TomCayman,

Interesting question! I do find it fascinating that some folks just keep going back to the same island year after year, never wanting to try something else. But I guess, to each his own.

Personally, I think we are somewhere in between. Our goal is to make it to all the islands someday. We do tend to repeat islands initially, since we usually only do short trips and it leaves us longing to explore and experience the island some more. So we go back.

But then there is that one island that becomes our favorite which we will keep going back to, in addition to exploring other islands. Grenada in our case. Luckily we are now doing 2 or 3 trips per year, so that provides ample opportunities to work on ticking off islands from our loooong list.

As my logo on my website says:
Go travel. One island at a time.
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May 28th, 2008, 06:37 PM
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Island Collector... but hey I did take a day trip to Little Cayman and drove all the way to your East End, Tom!

I believe there are too many places to see and too little time to see them all.. so I will try to see as many as I can. There are a couple of islands that we'd go back to but later in life.

It goes without saying that we love the islands.. but they're also very convenient to get to from where we live, especially since we travel with our son. We've been waiting for him to get older so we can venture out further. At the age of 6, we think he's finally gotten it (lots of 'energy' but has calmed down quite a bit) and next year might be the year we start expanding his horizons... oh Italy?

I've been to a couple of Latin American countries, quite a few European countries, grew up in an African country, lived for a year in another.. all thanks to my parents who just loved to travel and experience new places. They passed that on to me.

To sum it all up, for me, I just find it hard to go back to a place I've been to when I could have had a new experience. Thank goodness, my husband feels the same. I hope travel never gets old for me!

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May 28th, 2008, 06:56 PM
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That is a good question! Although every island we go to we say “we must come back someday!” it’s just too tough to go back to the same place when there are so many other islands out there to explore! So we would fall under island collectors, although we swear that one day we will return to our favorites! Like mymoosie, we would love to see all the islands someday, but with so many out there, I guess we’d have to visit a different one each week!

The way we’re working through them is where we are in our lives. We did some of the more “adventurous” and farther islands before kids (Hawaiian islands (although not caribbean), St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Maarten, New Providence), and now that we have a little one (with one on the way) we’re looking for more “beachy”, closer and laid back islands at this point (Virgin Gorda, St. John, and now we’re working on some of the Bahama out islands over the next few years), then as our kids get older and can do more activities, check out islands like Jamaica, Anguilla (so we can check out all the great restaurants), Costa Rica (okay, so that’s not quite an island), do a moorings trip around the islands, etc. I’d love to get to Nevis/St. Kitts and down to Grenada too but we’re looking for closer islands right now.

I did a cruise once way back when which stopped in Grand Cayman, but I don’t know that that really qualifies as visiting. From pictures and posts I’ve seen it looks a bit too built up for us. We’re headed to Long Island, Bahamas for our next trip if that gives you an idea of the remoteness we’re looking for. Maybe when the kids are older we’ll visit the Caymans again-I’m sure they’d love the stingray tour.

So that’s our plans for now. Hopefully someday we can become repeat visitors to our favorites that we’ve traveled-probably when we are retired
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May 28th, 2008, 07:01 PM
  #5
 
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I'm with CaribTraveller- so many islands, so little time! I would not at all consider it "collecting islands" as "adventuring" or "seeing the world". I have been to some places I really loved and have repeated some but, in my opinion, there are too many places left to see (we are not "beach sitters" but rather like to get out and see as much of a place as possible- the fewer tourists, the better- we take the back roads). We are 85% new adventures every trip and maybe 15% repeat places.
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May 28th, 2008, 07:04 PM
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I fall squarely in the middle. There are some islands that I'm quite happy to have visited but will not have a strong pull on me to return, and then there are the islands that issue their siren call. If I've loved an island I'm happy to return to it (Grenada being the most recent example) but I also love exploring new territory.

Isn't is great to have the internet in our lives? Now we can practically guarantee a great vacation because we can do enough research to tell if a place fits us or not. I'll probably never travel to Aruba or the Dominican Republic based on all of the reading I've done on those islands, but now I don't have to feel bad for not making it there. I can concentrate my limited time and budget exploring places that are better suited to my travel style and needs.
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May 28th, 2008, 08:46 PM
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I used to be an "island collector", however it was easy living in the USVI. That being said, as I grew older and moved to the Pacific NW, my focus was on my career and travel to the Caribbean was nil. After meeting my (now) wife and getting re-acquainted with Negril, this has been our destination of choice. Some due to ease of getting there, cost of airfare and lodging....but mostly due to the culture, color and Jamaican people. As we now have a young family, it has become an even bigger draw due to the easy vibe and beautiful beach. We know what to expect...time and money are precious commodities.
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May 29th, 2008, 04:19 AM
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I'm squarely in the middle. I've "collected" more than 20 islands. About half of our trips are to well-loved places. The other half are to new places (this year, for example, we spent 5 days in Anguilla, which was mostly new to us, and will spend a week on Long Island in the Out Islands of the Bahamas).

I know how very lucky I am to have the means to indulge my island escape fantasies repeatedly. I'm also fortunate enough to be a sailor, which allows me to explore many off-the-beaten path locales (e.g. Barbuda last year ... ahhhhhhh...). After all these years, we can guess fairly well which places will suit us and which won't; but we also have enough experience to make the most of a place that really isn't our style.

My heart keeps taking me back to the Out Islands (and there are SO many Out Islands we have yet to explore!), and in the Caribbean proper, I have to join mymoosie and ejcrowe in their love of Grenada. And yet, there are so many unexplored corners of the Caribbean yet to visit -- the San Blas of Panama, the Bay Islands of Honduras, etc. Can't wait to get there someday!
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May 29th, 2008, 05:18 AM
  #9
 
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Good post!

Being 23, I've yet to add a good number of islands under my belt. Not by choice, but by a young professional's wallet However, my first trip was to Jamaica, in Negril, and that gave me the travel bug. I then recently went on a cruise, which I also loved. Next year, I'm on my way to Playa del Carmen (just booked). There are a few specific places I want to visit first, but I also love cruises because I see a few islands and then can choose which one I really want to vacation on.
In 2010 I'll have to take a break from the Caribbean, as I'm going to South Africa for the World Cup, and that, unfortunately, will take all of the money I can muster together!
Some "must-sees" for me are Curacao, St. Maarten, St. John, St. Thomas, Roaten off Honduras, Barbados, and a few more! From this post alone it seems Grenada would be a good place to check out! Thanks again everyone for all the posts, they are helpful in many ways, including helping me get through the work day
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May 29th, 2008, 06:13 AM
  #10
 
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DH and I are more of the collector type. Time and money is precious and there is a big world to see out there. Our next trip is to St. Lucia (we leave tomorrow).

Our repeats for now are closer to home (NJ shore, UPstate NY). One day I hope we can travel more and work less.
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May 29th, 2008, 06:40 AM
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I fall somewhere in between. There are definitely islands I will return to again and again, but I also want to see as many as I can.

Though there are some islands that I do not have much interest in (e.g. St. Lucia). I am drawn to the islands with the blinding white sand and crytal clear water. So I guess I am a collector of the coral islands!
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May 29th, 2008, 06:41 AM
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My wife and I have been travelling to the Caribbean each year for the last 20 years.

Some of the islands were only cruise 'whistlestops'(Grand Cayman, St. Lucia, Martinique, Barbados, Playa Del Carman) The majority though were for at least 2 weeks vacation.

Tortola we stayed on twice, quite liked it but when we stopped there on our cruise in 07 we decided we would not go back as it had changed quite a bit from our vacation stays in 88 & 89. Jamaica we've been twice in the last 3 years. We have toured (independently) much of the island and would return again (I've now been 8 times since 79). Cuba we liked but would categorize it as a 'stay around the pool' type vacation (only because of the restrictions on touring around) and would reserve it for quick get aways. We prefer Curacao over Aruba. Provo (TCI) we really enjoyed especially the colour of the water. St. Martin..wouldn't go back. St. Kitt's was quite good. Our all time favourite I think would be Grenada. We stayed at the Blue Horizons in 04. The island is amazing especially the people and the closeness of families. Having seen most the islands we were interested in we have started to branch out. We toured Costa Rica for 2 weeks in 01 and would love to go back. Ireland and Scotland (02)were interesting diversions. Italy (Rome, Pompeii in particular) is another country we will return to. Just this January we did a 2 week trip to Egypt which included a 7 night Nile cruise. Excellent trip but probably would never get back given the distance and the fact that there is so many other places. I am presently planning our next sojourn which will be a Greece and Turkey combo.
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May 29th, 2008, 08:39 AM
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We love the islands and the Mexican Caribbean coast. We have been to several of the islands and our aim is to visit them all. However, we also have a special spot in our hearts for Jamaica and that is one we have repeated. The same is true for Mexico and that is the place we have repeated the most. We find the Mexican resorts to be a better buy and also really like the locals in that part of Mexico, especially the Mayans. Wonderful people.


We also travel to Europe on a regular basis and there we are mainly "collectors", but we have returned to England over and over as well as Italy, which is my DW's favorite European country.
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May 29th, 2008, 08:49 AM
  #14
 
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We have been Island Collectors. Living on the west coast, it's a commitment to get to the Caribbean and we feel there is always something new to learn and experience on the different islands. That said, we did our first repeat late last year when we returned to Nevis.

There are definitely places we will return, but for now, the pull of "unexplored" islands for us is too great.

BTW, I'm jealous of mymoosie (and others) who can make short trips to the islands! Because we tend to go to the smaller islands, it's always on extra leg. The fastest we can get there is about 14 hours. Like, I said, I'm jealous! Boo hoo, poor, poor pitiful me.
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May 29th, 2008, 09:58 AM
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What an interesting and fun question!

I'm 100% island collector when it comes to outside the US travel. I travel for work and rack up miles/points so each November we "pick an island" (or two!) and off we go. So far Bahamas, St. Thomas, St. John, Aruba, Puerto Rico, Vieques. This year we're headed to St. Kitts and Nevis. Cayman, Curacao, Costa Rica, BVI are all on my "must do" list. I've fallen in love with a few (St. John, Vieques) but can't give up the lure of seeing another view and another perspective. For me, it's also about exposing our kids (five and eight) to many new faces, foods, cultures and stories.

But when it comes to travel in the US states, I'm pretty much a creature of habit. Each summer we hit the same Outer Banks beaches. Each fall we visit the same Blue Ridge trails. I love the comfortable pattern of a repeat too.

I'm looking forward to my daughter (5) getting just a wee bit older (calmer? quieter? LOL!) before we take them to Europe. But that's on our list too.

I'm addicted to travel. =)
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May 29th, 2008, 10:01 AM
  #16
 
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I am both - which I guess would put me somewhere in between. While I too share the 'so many islands, so little time' philosophy, the home of my heart is in the British Virgins, and so I find myself back there twice a year. But I want to see everything, so I try to squeeze in at least one, and usually two trips to some new islands in the course of the year. I'll be visiting your island in January, Tom, with 3 days on Grand Cayman and 4 days on Little Cayman.
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May 29th, 2008, 10:14 AM
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wonderful question. really enjoying reading the answers. i tend to be a creature of habit. i always want to go back to where ever i've been. fortunately my usual travel buddy wants to go someplace new each time - well as long as snorkeling is involved. so i guess i'm in the middle. if i had unlimited funds i would choose to travel at least half the year for the next 20. i'd love to see everyplace!! - tom your 70 countries 20 islands just makes me drool.
off to buy a lottery ticket.
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May 29th, 2008, 10:34 AM
  #18
 
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Great thought provoking question. We're relatively young and started collecting island about 10 years ago. We started with Anguilla and were hooked to the Caribbean. Have yet to take a vacation to Europe. Been to Hawaii. We've visited about 7/8 islands with two visits to Eleuthera. We are now focused on the out islands with Long Island being on the hit list this year.

We now know we love off the beaten sort of places with wonderful beaches and so other islands on our hit list for the distant future include Barbuda, Bequia, and maybe Nevis(quaint/quiet). Also hoping to visit Italy and Ireland in the next couple years.

Our dream (more mine than my husbands) is to buy property on one of our favorite islands and become repeat visitors. We will see how that plays out....
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May 29th, 2008, 10:37 AM
  #19
 
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Between, but heavy on the repeat. I've been to Mex and several islands, but to Jamaica 20+ times...however always spend at least some time in a new area, it's a large island

For non-beach vacations I tend to try new places, "collect" as you might say...Europe, Alaska, Taiwan have been stops in the last 3-4 years, all obviously quite different.

I also tend to choose destinations where I know someone or have some special reason to go - a friend's band playing (Amsterdam one year), a family member residing (Alaska last summer, London a couple of years ago), etc. I prefer the type of "insider" travel that those kinds of connections provide.

That is why, in part, we return so often to Jamaica, having made many friends there we now have places to visit/stay and friends willing to show us their special places...
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May 29th, 2008, 11:26 AM
  #20
 
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I guess I'm in the minority here...but I have transformed into a "repeat offender."
For years my husband and I have traveled the caribbean and Mexico and been many places. But five years ago this November something magical happened to us...we found
ANGUILLA! Since then we have been returning to the island every year always staying at the same resort. There is something so magical about the beaches and the people there that we can't bring ourselves to go anywhere else.
It is our home away from home now and I plan on returning each year no matter what.
Tom-one side note. I will eventually return to GC as it holds a most special place in my heart. I was lucky enough to honeymoon there for two weeks. Thanks for the great question.
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