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Travelers....2 types on this forum. Which one are you?

Travelers....2 types on this forum. Which one are you?

Apr 9th, 2006, 06:43 AM
  #1  
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Travelers....2 types on this forum. Which one are you?

I'm finding that there are 2 types of travelers on these Travel forum sites....those which travel extensively abroad (I'm from the U.S.) and those which are here to gather input on planning "the trip of their lifetime". Which one are you? Unfortunately, I'm the latter (not by choice, mind you!). For all us Newbies which are planning the trip of a lifetime, please be kind to us. I'm a newbie and have gained a wealth of info from you seasoned travelers. Thank you! For those of you who are "amused" by our quest of narrowing down places to visit or who want "around Italy in 21 days"....please be kind. We don't have the luxury of jetting off to Italy and spending a week in each location to soak it all in, however that continues to be our dream....
adventureseeker is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 07:10 AM
  #2  
 
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adventureseeker--

Sometimes circumstances change and people move from one category into the other. I had travelled in Europe for several months right out of college. Then came marriage, 3 kids and a single income for many years of parenting. There was no way in the world we'd be travelling abroad because all of our money was going to supporting our family.

Things changed when our youngest spent a semester abroad in her junior year of college. By this time, the 2 others were more on their own and we were a 2 income family. I said to my husband that if our daughter was studying abroad, we were going to visit her. At that time, since we hadn't beeen able to do this for the last 25 years, I assumed this would be my one trip to Europe. We kept having to pare down the ambitious itinerary I'd planned because it was just too jam packed. Finally I told my husband that if I had to eliminate Prague from my itinerary, we'd just have to take a second trip. He agreed that we could after the last was out of college.

We got bit by the travel bug and have been travelling extensively in Europe ever since. And, we frequently do what originally I could never have imagined. We will stay put in one place for close to a week, and often an off-the-beaten path place, rather than running around trying to see it all and do it all.

This doesn't mean we are rich. We are budget travellers who have figured out how to stretch a dollar and who know that how much money you spend on a trip has nothing whatsoever to do with how much fun you have. So, yes, we've moved into that category of those who travel to Europe frequently (we take 1-2 trips a year), but we also don't take expensive beach or golf or resort vacations in the US.

We have found that if you know how to do it, a European vacation can cost a lot less than a US vacation. For example, we are from Minnesota and visited Paris in March for a week and a half. Our plane tickets were 50 cents less than tickets to Phoenix would have been on the same dates. Friends flew to Las Vegas and paid more for their tickets than we did. In Paris we rented a very nice apartment that averaged out to $90 a night. Having an apartment enabled us to save money on food by bringing in some of our own supplies for meals.

Obviously there are lots of people on this forum who spend tons more money than we do and who feel they need 4* or 5* hotels and super deluxe restaurants. But, don't let their expectations and requirements intimidate you. If you can be happy with a lesser standard, then perhaps at some time you can make another trip, and this won't be your trip of a lifetime.
julies is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 07:24 AM
  #3  
 
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And I'd like to second the point made by julies. With agritourism and hostels and inexpensive (usually country) b & b's, European travel can be much cheaper than travel in the U.S. Especially if you are flying at non-peak times. People always wonder how I can go to Europe so often, but have no qualms about staying at high end hotels at Disney World or Las Vegas with their whole families (FAR more costly). So, to answer your question, I am in the "travels abroad as often as I can" category.
Guy18 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 07:24 AM
  #4  
 
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I completely agree adventureseeker. I do, however, recall something "said" to me when I first sumbled on this place.

Question: I'm coming to Scotland for 10 days. What should I see?

Tempted Answer: If you don't know, why are you coming?
sheila is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 07:29 AM
  #5  
 
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I think another way to put the question is:

"Do you view travel as a trip to the all-you-can-eat buffet or do you like quality over quantity and are willing to pay accordingly?"

Even when I don't have 21 weeks to travel, I don't do a lot of sightseeing. I mainly travel because I'm interested in culture, so many of my trips are planned around visiting new places, many with rich histories, so it would be pointless for me to race through them for "the highlights." And when I visit a place like Italy or Japan, I don't try to "see it all" let I end up overloading and getting cultural indigestion.

Also, I've travelled enough to know that many of the "must-sees" are an incredible disappointment. Who writes those travel books?

However, it costs so much to travel, I understand why people want the "all-you-can-eat-buffet" once they get there. And it takes a couple of trips to realize that other people's idea of a good time may not be yours -- but you already seem to know that. Don't let other people talk you out of your travel style. It's your money. Your time. Your vacation.
nessundorma is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 07:33 AM
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PS: Please also realize that "trip of a lifetime" means something else to me than it does to you. It means the trip I enjoyed most rather than the trip where I saw the most places.

nessundorma is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 07:42 AM
  #7  
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Julies...I appreciate and loved your post. You bring up alot of excellent points. Thank you for sharing your thoughts...and giving a very realistic meaning to "If there's a will, there's a way".

adventureseeker is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 07:43 AM
  #8  
tod
 
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adventureseeker - I think Julies put it pretty well and speaks for a lot of Fodorites on this forum.
We may have started out on a budget for our first couple of trips, but
as the circumstances changed and our family flew the coup, we now find ( in my case at least) I am able to travel fairly comfortably and with not too much worry about expensive restaurants.

I don't go to the far end of the scale and consider hotels in the 5 star catorgary but don't have to spend at a one star either!

tod is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 07:52 AM
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I agree...what a lovely way you have with word Julies.

We are much the same as your family, for years when our children were small we stayed in Ireland for summer holidays, we have memories of those times we will hold in our hearts forever as it represents a time when our children were innocent and life has changed in many ways in Ireland in those short years. It suited our budget and needs at the time, now we have a bit more disposable income and our children are in college ( which brings more debts)! but we have a foreign holiday in summer, and two short trips abroad in the year, we dont go to luxury hotels or fly first class, but we enjoy every minute of it. I consider myself very lucky to be able to do this. To be very honest I enjoy the planning and reading about our destinations nearly as much as the actual trip!
lucielou is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 08:03 AM
  #10  
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Ness, your last post is very thought provoking and very true. I am viewing and planning this trip as my "trip of a lifetime". One that requires me to passionately engulf myself in this amazing place called Italy. I hate to admit it, but this trip is 18 months away (yes, 18 months).

I thrive on planning my trips early on by learning and discovering all I can. The anticipation of a trip for me is almost as beautiful as the trip itself. I have never been disappointed (but allow for it!). I have already begun opening my eyes and exploring Renaissance Art, reading all I can (my current list is 77 books long...the gamut from travelogues to history), watching movies (old and new) set in Italy, surfing the web (my Italy bookmark keeps growing), learning the beautiful language and most importantly... gained so much from this forum. The posts which mean the most to me are the ones where travelers have passionately detailed an experience they had or felt in a certain place. Some have brought tears to my eyes. I'll continue to tweak our itinerary and add/subtract as it seems fit (up until the day we leave). And...if we were leaving tomorrow, I'd be so incredibly pleased with what I have thus far discovered.

I can't wait...for this "trip of my lifetime".

A bit of a romantic, probably, but I'm as hopeless as they get!
adventureseeker is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 08:05 AM
  #11  
 
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I travel extensively in Europe. I too, started my travels on a budget. In 1983 for my son's graduation from high school, I gave him a one month trip to Europe. The only catch was that I went with him. I had many bad things to happen to me so I said I would NEVER go again. Well, the next year we tried again. Now I travel to Europe 2-3 times per year. My sister travels with me at least 2 times a year so my hotel expenses are half. When my son goes I still pay all expenses even though I'm sure his income is at least twice mine(I should say my husband's income)
We stay in three star hotels so we don't blow a lot on rooms. Also, my sister and I don't eat much, so there's not a lot spent there either. The most of my money is spent on shopping.
scatcat is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 08:10 AM
  #12  
Neopolitan
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Let me say that over the years while I was working I only went to Europe twice, each time for 1 week as part of teacher packages. So just after doing an early retirement just before age 50, I planned a "trip of a lifetime" with my partner to Europe. It was 5 months long. We covered 14 countries, mainly traveling with Eurail passes. We stayed in a total of 51 hotels, often for as little as 1 or 2 nights. There are many people who would shudder at the thought of doing all that. WE LOVED EVERY MINUTE.

Although we thought it would be a trip of a lifetime we were hooked and we've been back to Europe every year since with one exception -- in 2001 when we took 5 months to drive to Alaska from Florida. Incidentally I will agree that our vacations in the US are always more expensive per day than our vacations in Europe (not just the trip to Alaska, but the many other trips in the US we do as well).

I know what you were implying by your original question. Many "newbies" are put off when they come here with a proposed itinerary and they get slammed by people telling them it is too much -- that they should just pick one country or just two cities. I myself just recently told someone they did border on the insane for a proposal that was clearly as much total time in the air or on busses or trains as actually on the ground somewhere. But many of the posters would have totally discouraged me from that first trip we did, and I have never regretted it for a second.n Don't give up your ideas if you have thought it out and still feel it is what you want to do.

I see nothing wrong with trying to cover a lot of ground on a first trip. Sure a week in Rome is better that two nights. And no you can't really see all there is to see in Paris in three nights -- not even a fraction of it. But sometimes those first trips are more about getting a feel for various cultures and areas, and seeing as much variety or "foreigness" as you can see.

I once got slammmed for doing this analogy, but I'll do it again anyway. Today the "in" thing in fine restaurants is tasting menus. You may get an individual taste of up to 15 tiny courses in an evening. "Refined foodies" love it. So why do so many "refined travelers" scoff at the idea of getting a tasting menu of tiny tastes of a variety of places?
 
Apr 9th, 2006, 08:12 AM
  #13  
 
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adventureseeker, there are many folks out there who think and act just as you do. Great fun, isn't it?

degas is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 08:12 AM
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It seems to me that the various travel styles are often a function of age. I see travelers in their 20s planning whirlwind excursions that would kill some of the older folks--like me. We have been fortunate to have traveled in Europe 22 times over a span of 40 years. Clearly, we have changed our style as we have become older and more expereinced.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 08:14 AM
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Neo, to answer your last questions... because at a restaurant you are in one place and have the opportunity to do it.

To sample many places in small doses, you lose a lot of time in the travel between them... so that the visit becomes a trip of trains, planes, and autos rather than in-depth into a place.

I don't know if I've answered the question you asked, but I've answered the question I read.
surfmom is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 08:16 AM
  #16  
Neopolitan
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Oh, and on a personal note, after 38 years together, my partner will celebrate his 76th birthday and I'll celebrate my 60th birthday in Europe this summer. We have planned a two month trip -- nearly all one week or 10 day stays in apartments in our favorite European cities. He now has some early stages of Alzheimer's. I realize this could be our final trip to Europe, but like each one I know it will be our best yet.

Travel styles evolve and change over the years for a variety of reasons. I just want to say that you need to make the most of every precious second you can travel and do it YOUR way. Good Travels!
 
Apr 9th, 2006, 08:17 AM
  #17  
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Neopolitan...

"Trip of a Lifetime" is definitely 5 months... Fabulous! What a dream.

Degas...
Eloquently put..love you.
adventureseeker is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 08:18 AM
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lucielou, you could have been describing us! Except that our vacations when our kids were small were in the midwest of the US rather than Ireland!

However, I have to confess that when we began to take more extensive trips with our kids it wasn't so much because we could afford it as because we knew our time to travel with them was running short! And I have absolutely no regrets about that. The wonderful trips we've taken with them are well worth pinched pennies elsewhere!
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Apr 9th, 2006, 08:19 AM
  #19  
cmt
 
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In response to the initial question of this thread, I fall into neither category.
cmt is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 08:22 AM
  #20  
Neopolitan
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surfmom, I don't think your answer is really comparable either. But admitedly I was already out on a limb trying to compare a meal with a trip to Europe. Sure you lose time traveling between the two, but a meal takes place in a couple hours. The tasting trip can take place over a couple weeks. And while with the meal a taste only lasts a minute, a taste on a trip can easily last a day or two. I'd maintain that a two day taste of Paris is a lot more satisfying that a 30 second taste of a divine caviar. And if it took me five hours to get to that taste of Paris after a taste of somewhere else, so what? But of course others may disagree.

And about losing that time traveling -- it's one thing to spend all day traveling to a place just to spend a night there, and then the next day traveling all day again for just one night somewhere else -- and spending two full days somewhere then doing a four hour train trip through the countryside to get to another place where you'll spend two or three more days. And sometimes that travel (particularly by car or train) can be half the fun and experience of the trip itself.
 

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