A recent travel survey I completed got me verbalising how I like to travel...
Ideally, I would love to go and stay in a new country for a few months at a time, to absorb the culture, learn the language and explore the surrounds. I've done something like that once before - in India. More about that later. However, current restrictions on my travels mainly in the form of my children's education have forced me to limit most trips to a week to 10 days. My husband thinks homeschooling would be a good idea to avoid those restrictions but unfortunately that's not for me.
On these short trips, as time is of the essence, the idea of an itinerary appeals to me. Long before I set foot at the airport, it's a well-written itinerary that makes my eyes glaze over and gets me drooling. By the time I actually do the trip, I've already done it in my mind many times over. Then it becomes a matter of putting real, living pictures to the place names and brochure pictures, then adding people and experiences to the images.
That said, unless I'm planning to visit multiple destinations on my trip, I don't use a travel agent, mainly to save on middleman costs. A holiday typically starts with a yearning to go somewhere new. Take available dates, usually in the school holidays, and a bucket-list destination. Add cheap airfares, a decent, reasonable place to stay and a reliable tour guide thanks to Tripadvisor. Stir in a list of things to do in the place you're travelling to, mostly gleaned from some internet research (with some help from Professor Google of course) and voila, you have an itinerary. Sometimes, though, it's not as easy as it sounds and that's when I wish I was using an agent who would worry about the scheduling, transferring and prioritising. But it always comes back to the same question. Is it worth the additional cost?
Current places on my ever-changing bucket list include
Malaysia, Thailand, Morocco and Macchu Picchu. The last entry is mainly because of a separate 7-wonders bucket list. I've ticked off The Great Pyramid Of Giza, the Taj Mahal, Petra in Jordan, the Empire State Building and Victoria Falls from the blended list of Original, New, Modern and Natural 7 wonders. OK, I know I'm stretching it...a bit.
Some of my other answers from the survey: - My favourite destination in Africa is the Masai Mara/Serengeti. (I love the bush) - I prefer self-drive for local holidays. (You get to see more this way) - My first travel experience was the aforesaid trip to India at the age of 8. - My favourite journey was a Caribbean cruise. A 5 day trip around Zimbabwe as a teenager also comes close. We flew to Victoria Falls, Hwange, Kariba and Harare in turn. It was before the political situation became tense and was awesome. - The passport stamp I'm most proud of -it's a tough one but if I had to choose, I'd say USA, and my Schengen visa. - My ideal travel companion -my husband -we have similar interests. - And, the best meals I've had on my travels - India wins hands-down!
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