My idea of great travel might be completely different than your definition of a dream trip. And that right there is one of the many reasons why diversity is so amazing. As with anything, when you are true to yourself, you are at your happiest. Your personal travel style is one of those things and those differences make life more interesting. By travel style, I don’t mean fashion, but rather the ways which you like to travel. Instead of trying to fit ourselves into molds when we travel, how about travelling in a way that makes you feel great? Less stress and more enjoyment. And instead of judging others for not travelling the way we think they should, how about we hold back judgment and let people simply enjoy themselves?
I have a theory that the best way for anyone to travel and to get the most out of their trip, is to blend their travel style with reaching the edge of their comfort zone.
I think we have all seen it, the city girl in the woods for a camping trip of her nightmares trope. Yes, that one. Where a woman who hates dirt is practically sleeping in it. Now we know right away that is not a winning combination, or even a common and realistic stereotype, but we have seen it time and time again in the movies we watch and the books we read. For obvious reasons, a camping trip is not a good idea for someone who does not like the great outdoors, just as a city excursion may not be a great fit for a hiker or skier. We should apply this common sense to our own travels, but some of us simply don’t for a multitude of reasons.
I once met a man who bought tickets for him and his family to see Cats on Broadway back in the 90’s because everyone else was buzzing about the show and how amazing it was. This is not a man who appreciates theater or musicals or even travelling into large cities, but he spent a pretty penny on all the tickets anyway and ended up walking out of the show half-way through. As a person who loves musicals and would have loved to see Cats, this sounds absolutely crazy to me. Walking out half way through the show? Heavens, no. But that right there is one of the reasons why people don’t stay true to their travel style. The fear of missing out on something amazing, even if you don’t actually like the idea of it in real-life, does create some mishaps. As does the American way of keeping up with the Joneses. If all the people you know are doing something and raving about it, typically you will want in too, even if it is not like you at all.
Some people love luxury hotels and restaurants, while others prefer sleeping under the stars, or every combination in between. Some people are a complete mix depending on their mood and where they are.
When I travel I prefer to experience new places as if I were a local. I enjoy learning about the culture, the languages, the food, fashion, and the traditions. If the locals sleep in huts, you bet I would rather be in a hut than hidden away in some resort. If the locals live in a yurt, then I’ll live in a yurt for the duration of my stay. I’m a fan of Monastery Stays and Airbnb. I also prefer to dress like the locals as well. I want to be respectful and blend in than stand out for being rude or ignorant. Sometimes I like to go for long camping trips, and other trips I just want to feel fancy. My hair is also long and curly, so I prefer to stay where I can wash my hair every other day to keep it from becoming a complete mess. I’m more of a country girl than a city girl, but I enjoy the diversity and art found in cities. I feel comfortable travelling by plane, train, and boats, but driving in large cities when I do not know where I am going makes me feel stressed, unless I have an alert co-pilot. I like hot and muggy climates (I know how odd that is, believe me) and I get cold quite easily. These are all things that I know about myself, which helps me to plan trips that appeal to my interests. Some of the destinations on my wish list would make some people cringe.
Another reason why people plan trips that don’t fit their personality is because of the opinions of others. I have expressed interest in exploring Egypt. People who have never been or even read about the country have been completely against the idea, yet everyone I know who has visited (or even lived) in Egypt has had incredible experiences and have encouraged me to go. If you talk about dishing out thousands on an exclusive resort and tour, people will give you their negative opinions. If you share an interest in backpacking across Europe and staying in hostels, you will also get negative opinions. There will always be people who are envious, worried, and misinformed telling you what you cannot or should not do. Often it is simply a clash in travel styles. Do your research, know your travel style, be true to yourself, and you will have no regrets.
So how do you stay true to your travel style to make the most of your vacation days?
Learn your travel style. Try answering these questions with your first instinct response.
“When I travel, I . . .”
- prefer to sleep in a:
- like to wake up at:
- go to sleep at:
- like to eat:
- prefer the weather to be:
- like/ do not like to travel in places where there is a language barrier.
- am/am not a fan of travelling light.
- do/ do not like to travel with carry-on luggage only.
- am/ am not known to be an over-packer.
- I love/ do not love travelling to cities.
- cities make me feel:
- do/no not like to spend most of my time outdoors:
- small towns make me feel:
- My favorite thing about travelling is:
- I love/ do not love travelling for long periods of time.
- do/do not like to walk a lot.
- am/am not very active.
- like/do not like the idea of walking and being on my feet all day.
- look forward to/ avoid museums.
- am/am not adventurous when it comes to food.
- prefer/ do not prefer quiet.
- travel to rest/ travel to explore.
- enjoy/ dislike travelling solo.
- enjoy/ dislike travelling with others.
- do/ do not like meeting new people on trips.
- prefer my privacy/ enjoy sharing my space with others.
- prefer warm/ hot/ cooler climates.
- like to wear:
- always wear these kinds of shoes:
- prefer to travel by plane/train/ bike/ car/ rental/ bus/ boat/ other.
- am/ am not comfortable trying new things.
- would rather plan my own trip/ have someone plan it for me.
- prefer to take my time/ a fast-paced environment:
- splurge on trips/ keep a tight budget.
- like to make my own meals/ eat out often.
- feel that my travel goals are to:
- feel the most stressed when:
- feel happiest when:
Enjoying your next trip and planning accordingly all comes down to truly knowing what you like and what you don’t. Your travel style includes your favorite transportation, activities, weather, clothing, food, and sleeping arrangements. If even one of those is the opposite to what you feel best in, then you will not be comfortable when you travel. Sometimes breaching your comfort zone to experience something new is amazing and teaches you more about yourself. However, when you have tried something in the past and keep trying and it just does not fit, then maybe it is time to do what you like best instead. I’m not telling you not to try new things, please do! But, no one wants to come back from a trip feeling exhausted and miserable. When we travel, we do so to enrich our lives.
Of course, these questions do not cover everything. There are all sorts of factors that contribute to travel; including religious traditions, travelling with kids, with a disability, age, gender, and safety. But these questions can teach you a lot about yourself. Knowing what you like as well as what you do not like, keeps you true to your travel style, no matter how close or far from home you are. What is your favorite way to travel? Let me know in the comments.
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