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Mary Jun 7th, 2002 09:12 PM

Time and travel-your rationale
This really is not a question, but I am curious to see if my husband and I are alone on this subject. We started traveling internationally when my kids left for college and my parents passed away. We were'nt needed home as much and we're still young and healthy enough to make the most of it on our own. The catch is we are not retired and there are alot of places in the world we want to see. We're in the planning stages of a trip to Spain and I posted questions on this site about itinerary. Most of what I heard was that Spain must be done slowly, because its so beautiful and to cut out most of what we want to see because we want to savor each place we visit. Italys beautiful as is France and Israel and Turkey, but we can't see it all so we just try to see as many highlights as we can in the time we've got. So we spend 2 days in Seville instead of 3. I still get the idea and see the major sites. Why do so many people on Fodors think this is such a bad way to do it. I've got great memories, and there are so many more countries I want to see while I can still move around easily. Maybe we've got ADD and need constant change. I don't know. I always thought we planned our trips well till I started asking for advice here. Are we alone in wanting to see as much of a country as we can or do most of you pick one or two places and assume you'll be back? And yes, I am feeling a bit defensive.

Rex Jun 7th, 2002 09:35 PM

I think that your ideas are fine. Especially the notion of choosing one country (or at most, a second country for a little "palate refreshing - - say, 2-4 days after 7-14 days somewhere else).<BR><BR>I think it is fair to compare several of the countries of Europe to (in alphabetic order):<BR><BR>California<BR>Colorado<BR>New York (the state)<BR>North Carolina<BR>Ontario<BR><BR>and there is no right or wrong way to travel to these detinations either. Stay a whole 7-14 days in the same condo? Fine and dandy. Move around 2-5 times in each week? No problem with that either.<BR><BR>You have good reason to feel a little bit defensive, the way things are sometimes painted here - - but even better reason to feel self-confident in traveling the way that YOU think is best for you.<BR><BR>Best wishes,<BR><BR>Rex<BR>

Audrey Jun 7th, 2002 09:46 PM

Mary,<BR>My husband and I are also "go-ers". We both like to keep busy and don't seem to get overwhelmed by trying to do too much. The one thing that saves us, though, is that we always travel without any real set plans. I make reservations for the first night or two and a rental car but thats it. After we pick up the car its all up in the air. This works for us but I know it isn't for everyone. We may do three towns in two days and then spend three days at the beach. The freedom and adventure are the best part for us. And yes, we do stress out a little but we just like to figure things out for ourselves.<BR><BR>I think that most people on this forum give advice based on their own experience and preferences. When you post on the forum asking for help planning trips, you have to take the suggestions in the spirit they were intended and with the knowledge that we all have different ideas of the "best" way to travel. Don't feel that you are doing it wrong or that you can't get great help here!<BR><BR>Audrey

Sue Jun 7th, 2002 10:14 PM

Well put, Audrey. I see nothing wrong with the way you choose to travel, Mary. By sampling a lot of what a country offers, you get a good overall view and may discover a region you want to come back and explore in depth. If you had never seen that region, you wouldn't know that. I used to enjoy traveling like you do, but now that I am retired, I like to go a little slower. But I still like to sample from time to time.

wes fowler Jun 8th, 2002 06:36 AM

I first began traveling to Europe in my late twenties, a good many years ago. That first trip, of three weeks duration, was devoted exclusively to Paris; no day trips to Versailles, Giverney, nothing but Paris and its neighborhoods. I realized then that it was impossible to "see it all" no matter how often or how long a time one can devote to travel. As a result, in subsequent travels, prior planning and significant research dictates where I will go and most importantly, Why. <BR><BR>For example, I made an initial journey of two weeks to the Netherlands to appease my curiousity about a country that is essentially man-made. After reading Simon Schama's "The Embarassment of Riches", I returned to the Netherlands for an extended stay to learn more of its history, culture and society. Same country, same length of stay but two entirely different reasons for the visits.<BR><BR>My choices and reasons for travel are dictated by curiosity, a need to educate myself, a desire to expose myself to the artistic accomplishments of others and to bring history to life. I don't look to travel for escape or diversion, but I certainly don't begrudge those who do.

s Jun 8th, 2002 06:45 AM

Hello Mary!<BR><BR>You do a great service to all Fodorites! We need to remember that *my* preferences are not *your* preferences! I'm one who likes to stay in one place for (at least) six nights, but I know I'm a bit of a stick-in-the-mud!<BR><BR>By the way, you are really not in the minority. Many folks follow Rick Steves' itinerary advice (whether they follow his lodging recommendations or not . . . ) to cover a whole country or region in 14 days or less - and Switzerland in 10 days! I can barely get started in a country in that time!<BR><BR>Anyway, I hope you enjoy your samplings of Europe -- any way you want to have them!!<BR><BR>s

Sue Jun 8th, 2002 08:18 AM

Mary<BR><BR>Someone once pointed out that we human beings have various ways of determining when we are 'right.' He went on to evaluate the strengths and pitfalls of each 'system.' One 'system' is that of uniqueness - we have a tendency to assume that if we can only think of one solution, then that solution must be the right one. On the one hand, this gives us the confidence to go with such solution as we can think of, but on the other, it tends to make us close-minded to the idea that other solutions can exist. But as Wes points out, even if one thinks that there is only one solution to a problem, (and of course there is usually more than one) people have different travel problems to solve. <BR><BR>For example, my husband and I want breadth, context, and geographic variety. To meet these goals, we design 'survey' trips, tours involving several different places in a relatively short period of time. I don't dispute that spending relatively more time in a given place allows for more depth, but of course, we aren't looking for depth but the opposite.<BR><BR>Just reading this makes me realize what a complex task giving travel advice really is. And of course, everyone posting here is an amateur. <BR><BR>So, bottom line: get what you can out of this board, contribute what you think will be useful (I guarantee, SOMEBODY will find your experience useful) and above all, don't forget that this is the board where there are passionately debated 55 post long threads about whether one should wear white sneakers in Europe. : - )

Julie Jun 8th, 2002 11:14 AM

I think travel is kind of like work--it expands to fill the available time. I look back now at trips we took while we were young and still working and see oodles of one night stays. As our experience expanded and our concerns about work vs. travel changed, we started spending a bit longer in the places we found we really liked. Two and three day stays start showing up in those trips. Now that we are retired and have the luxury of more and more time to spend, we also seem to schedule longer stays, shooting generally for 4 - 5 days in an area with days trips. My husband has always wanted to travel this way, and he's gradually molded me to his way of thinking. Every now and then a one day, on the way stop shows up between longer stays. I must say I do enjoy the longer stays more, just as I've always enjoyed my life more with each passing day. On the otherhand I'd certainly not trade the memories of our wonderful earlier, whirlwind trips for anything either. To each his own, for whatever time they're in.

Mandy Jun 8th, 2002 12:01 PM

Mary, my husband and I are now at the point where we find cruising very appealing because we are tired of hauling luggage, finding the hotel, waiting around in restaurants for a table (for every meal), transportation, etc. <BR><BR>We greatly enjoy our time in port and have identified many places we want to go back to. In the past, we have camped out (!) in undeveloped countries, traveled to cities on business, etc. <BR><BR>I think it's all about where you are in your life. The important thing to me is to continue traveling to broaden your horizons. I enjoy the research as much as I enjoy the trip itself. Also it's wonderful to come home again!

what's Jun 8th, 2002 12:46 PM

Am I alone in wondering what Rex had for lunch or are we just going to ignore his bizarre response?

Melissa Jun 8th, 2002 12:53 PM

To each his own, for sure!!<BR><BR>When I travel to a new place, I tend to pack my schedule with tours and's crazy, it's almost like work, not a vacation! But I do it to sample as much as possible and get an overview of everything. But I do it with the thought that I will be back, and (at that time) will savor the things I like at a more leisurely pace. Then again, if I never get to go back, I've at least seen as much as I could.

Patrick Jun 8th, 2002 12:56 PM

I have become a travel fanatic. Before retirement I usually took two, sometimes three weeks and generally concentrated on one area. Samples: one week in London and a week traveling a circle in the country. Two weeks in France, 2 to 3 days each in Nice, Lyon, Dijon, and Avignon and 5 days in Paris.<BR>The plan was to continue doing this and eventually after retirement be able to go to a couple of places and stay long periods of time.<BR>Since "early semi-retirement" several years ago, we have made annual trips -- usually three to five months in Europe. But I still find myself liking the two to four day format the best. I can't miss a full week or even two in London, and a full week in Paris, but otherwise we really enjoy hopping around for just a few days in each location. Most people think we must go crazy living out of a suitcase for five months, but it really doesn't bother either of us. We love traveling by train if visiting cities, or traveling by car if spending more time in smaller towns. Sometimes we arrange the trip to be half by train and half by car, or whatever. I keep thinking one of these days we'll go somewhere and stay a month, but we really can't figure out where that might be in Europe -- although we do enjoy spending a month in New York City and/or a month in LA each year if possible. So many places keep calling us, and neither of us is very good at sitting and relaxing, so we continue to hop about.

mj Jun 8th, 2002 01:00 PM

Mary,<BR>With age comes widsom. <BR><BR>The SO and I ('probably in the same age group) use this forum to get ideas and, on occassion, offer suggestions.<BR><BR>(Translating Rex - I think)<BR>The way you travel is...the way you travel. We travel by road trips, sometimes roaring thru a country(ies), sometimes not. At the end of the day, you pays your money and you takes your chances. So far we've not been disappointed and, I doubt, you guys have been (disappointed) either...<BR>hth,<BR><BR>

shayne Jun 8th, 2002 06:28 PM

I have great respect for the way you travel! Some people like to vacation just to relax. I need to move around and see and do things. I cannot imagine spending a week at a beach resort, just laying around, eating and drinking. Yet many people love these kind of vacations. The attitudes of many people on this site are quite amusing. For many, the thought of doing more than one thing in a day seems too hectic. God forbid being in Paris and visiting the Louvre for 2 hours, Notre Dame, Ste. Chapelle, AND the Eiffel Tower, ALL in one day. I've done it and did NOT collapse from exhaustion. For many here, these would take a week to visit!<BR>

Mary Jun 8th, 2002 08:10 PM

Thank you, thankyou thank you all who wrote back! I know I'll never be a lay on the beach and order drinks for a week type of vacationer. Maybe a weekend, but its nice to know that I'm not alone trying to see as much as I can in a day. I think just to endure 8 to 10 hours on a plane you've got to have alot of curiousity about the rest of the world. I mean to satisify that curiousity as well as I can, as long as I can. Hoprfully, when we retire (if we retire) we'll have more time available for relaxing in one place for a time. Right now this feels right to us, and we really do have fun. I have gotten good advice here, and I'm just going to remember I'm as much of a traveller as anyone else here. My way may just be different from theirs. Thanks all again.

Rex Jun 9th, 2002 07:47 PM

I give. What was bizarre about my response?<BR><BR>

jpw Jun 10th, 2002 12:16 PM

shayne, I don't think you should pat yourself on the back so much by presuming others who don't want to visit 4 major sites in a day are lazy and you are not. It's probably because others want to study and view things in more depth that you do. If you saw all those things in one day, you viewed them very superficially. That's the difference, not that you are so superior to others in your energy. The Eiffel Tower may be the one thing in that list which may be superficial, but even there, most like to view the neighborhood and surrounding area, not just race from site to site to say they've been there, done that.

Sue Jun 10th, 2002 01:16 PM

Rex, not to worry, I think perhaps the poster meant 'abstract' not 'bizarre.' Let me feed back what I understood about your answer, and you can correct as required: the states you mentioned, you picked because they are popular tourist destinations. I think you're saying that we tend to be fairly relaxed about how we design domestic vacations, but have more rigid ideas about European ones for some reason.<BR><BR>Jean, the trouble is that we none of us can conclude anything about how much time someone spends if we don't know what their goals are. If someone desires to see the works of many different painters at the Louvre, then I agree that to spend the day there reflects how long it would take to do this, not how much energy they have. But if someone's goal is to see only the works by Vermeer at the Louvre, then spending 2 hours at the task wouldn't necessarily mean that this meant that they only took a superficial look at those paintings. So, it's easy to jump to conclusions about energy OR superficiality, when we don't have all the facts at our disposal.

JJ Jun 10th, 2002 01:31 PM

Mary,<BR>You'll regret having listened others that "spending only nnn days at xxx will not do justice, visit there some other time, etc, etc." You may not have that that next time everyone keep talking about and that fateful day may come much quicker as you think as I found out. I was on my way to visit places after kids left for college, after few years of that, one day my body no longer allows me to travel any more. Just like that. Cherish each opportunity and travel without regret.

Santa Chiara Jun 10th, 2002 01:32 PM

I am coming from a little different perspective, which is a combination of all the above. When I traveled in the eighties for work, I would combine work with travel. Therefore, I thought nothing of driving throughout all of Andalucia in a week (and why not an overnight to Tangiers, and this was with elderly mother and young son)., Then I started traveling to Italy annually for two or three weeks at a time, during which I never went to another European country, but enjoyed and got to know Italy, particularly Tuscany, really well.<BR><BR>I now live in Italy, and it still amazes me how much I have yet to see.I work, of course, full time, but even doing weekend trips and vacations, it overwhelms me how much I yet have to do and see. <BR><BR>I like beaches, but as a colleague said, my ideal beach is one near ruins, museums and street life. I can appreciate trying to capture as much as you can in one trip, but for me, at least in France and Italy, you could spend a lifetime and never ever be bored. <BR><BR>If you have the time and money, then do sample, but also realize to really understand a country, especially one in which you feel at home, you need to spend a lot of time there. <BR><BR>Not a definitive answer I know. To each his and her own way of travel. May you find yours.<BR><BR>

Mary Jun 10th, 2002 01:52 PM

JJ, I know what you're saying, and really what started us on travelling to other countries was when my father passed away suddenly. He had plans, he was so young at heart and then he was gone. I didn't want to wait until we could travel for a month or months at a time, because you just don't know what the future has in store for you. As I stated in my original post, I've been to some amazing places and only saw them for a short time, but my memories are fantastic and my curiousity to see more of the world just grows with each place we visit. I know how tricky life can be, so I'll just keep going on my short trips as long as I can, until circumstances change for better or worse.

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