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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Travel Styles - How do You Travel?

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

My lifelong friend, Roger, asked a question on a post. Do I plan and research before I go somewhere or wing it? It's a good question for anyone to ask themselves before embarking on adventure or vacation.


I'm a bit hesitant to answer because sometimes it comes across as an indictment against those who approach travel differently. I never intend any comments like that. If you read this post

youll know I know everyone has their perspective. Their perspective is true for them in their circumstances. My approach is no better or worse, only different.


So what are the approaches to travel?


Staycation


This may be a destiny location or may be in your nearby city. Some people go to a hotel location and never, or rarely leave the hotel property. I mean if you have a room like this, why leave?


People might spend several hundreds of dollars per night for a luxury hotel. The hotel may have all the services they're looking for. If a heated pool, sauna, spa services, wonderful restaurants, room service and upscale toilets (I had to throw that in), is what you think is a great vacation, why leave the hotel property?


I used to think this was the least desirable of all travel. But, as I age, I'm beginning to see some value in that. I mean, I use points, but still the hotels I stay cost that amount and I barely use the services! But now, as my arthritic back is getting worse, I find myself staying in the hotel more during the day.


The Package Touring Traveler


This type of traveler wants a stress free vacation. They want everything planned for them. They will buy a package where all the tours are pre booked. All of their time is carefully planned afore time.


I used to really detest this type of travel. I still do really, but less now. I enjoy the spontaneity of travel and, for the most part, don't enjoy the hot crowded tourist spots these tours cater to.


But, I don't criticize anyone who sees this differently. I don't work. Those that do, don't have a lot of time to devote to planning. For ease sake they are happy to leave the stress of a vacation to someone else. Let someone else do the driving and planning.


After taking a recent bus tour in Korea, something I haven't done in awhile, I actually enjoyed it. I forgot to renew my International Driver's Permit so I couldn't rent a car. I was forced to leave the driving to others. But I enjoyed meeting like minded travelers on the bus. So, although this is still not my kind of travel, I can see going this route more in the future. Especially as I get older and may want to remove the driving stress.


Planned Travel


There are travelers who may do self tours but plan and research everything in advance. Most, or all, their days are pre-planned. They have invested their time to finding the hot spots to see at the location of their destination.


I actually started as this type of traveler. I wanted to know how each day would go and I spent a lot of time researching everything about the place. The problem with that travel, for me, is you'll likely only be visiting the tourist traps and miss a lot of local treasures.


But gradually I found myself diverting from the plan. I would find from a local some lesser known gem of the area and go that route. Or I would just find pleasure in simple interactions with the locals. I morphed from this type of traveler to the last category (last category I can think of a anyway).


Unplanned Adventure Travel


For the past years I have grown into this. I pick a destination without plan. I travel to the place with a rough idea of where I might go, but often change it while I'm there. I take domestic flights impromptu within the country because they are so inexpensive, both in dollars and points. No need to book ahead usually.


I often decide that morning what I'll do. These have led to some of my greatest memories. Some examples:


  1. One day in the Philippines I decided to walk down a random village street. They had a village center where women and children were singing Karaoke. I watched and smiled and they waved me over. I sang a silly version of "Hello Dolly" in Louis Armstrong style thinking it was funny. They applauded like I was serious. Great time!

  2. Taking a boat ride up the Amazon to stay with a native tribe. That led to numerous expeditions into the jungle as a learning experience. Totally impromptu.

  3. Visiting a native tribe In Zimbabwe. The chief took me in like I was an old friend. I posted that here: https://www.kirkstravelstories.com/post/zimbabwe-tribal-experience

  4. Joining the water festival Sonkran in a small Thailand village. That led to a lot of interactions with locals I never would have dreamed. I posted some of the photos already here;


There are many more examples but that's a flavor. Even the Zimbabwe bread Incident I posted a couple days ago was totally off the cuff.


The best memories seem to be born from these moments. Even less spectacular moments like a drive through a village or over a mountain. Or the drive along the Mekong river.


I have incidents I'll never write about. Like the time I got into it with some Malaysian taxi drivers and a different Malaysian taxi driver saved my butt. Even though I was right in the argument, I took it too far and played the fool. That could have cost me more than I bargained. I won't post the details to that because it's too embarrassing, but totally off cuff. But memorable!


So many incidents. I feared when I started this blog I would quickly run out of stories. Won't happen. My limiting factor is how fast I can write them.


Interactional adventure travel can be quite addictive. It's a kind of a high. It will leave you wanting to do more adventurous things.


Roger mentioned he would be leary of being robbed in some of these places. I never have been. But, I know this sounds strange, but I really wish I had a good mugging story I could share. The story (if I lived to tell it) would be worth the hundreds of dollars it cost me. I really mean that too. Great stories are priceless.


But, I know I'm slowing down now. The great adventures are likely behind me. I haven't even posted the most interesting ones yet. But, I quit working early because I knew my body would only hold up so long. That's playing out now.


On my current trip to South Korea I have no compelling stories. I actually spent as much time writing up travel stories as going out and exploring. My arthritic back and hips will not afford me old opportunities. So now I will slowly slip into the above travel categories.


Bottom line: There is no right answer. There's only your answer and what's right for you. What type of travel you enjoy is all that matters. But, having experienced all of them, I will tell you impromptu adventure traveling is the most memorable travel you will experience.

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