It is the thrill of getting to a destination that we seek.
Travel is merely connecting the two dots.
And yet, the travel is part of the experience.
Here are some tips on how to optimize the experience both while traveling and when you reach your destination.
- Do your homework.
Find out where you are going and what the options are for getting there.
- Incorporate your destination objectives into your planning.
Are you seeking an outdoor experience or more of a lifestyle diversion? How important is it for you to be with your family? Are your interests divergent (you like golf, your spouse hates it and would rather go sit on a beach and read a book etc.
- Remember to shop for the cheapest way to get there, but do not make a decision just based on price.
The extra $200 per ticket that would have gotten you there direct, or in a premium seating would have been worth it, and would have prepared you much better for the trip.
Rule of thumb-anything over a 5 hour plane ride deserves looking into what I call "comfort options", like a paid upgrade, non stop route, lounge access etc.
- Avoid guided tours.
Unless you are travel timid, or disabled or have special requirements, they make no sense.
With so much available on the internet, you should become an expert at designing your own trip.
And as to tour operators getting you the cheapest fare-the difference these days is not material, since airlines will give you the same deal.
The one area it makes sense is to explore if they can get you business class seats for much less than what the airline is charging.
- When at the destination, do what the locals do-eat at local restaurants, take the public transport, visit a local pub etc.
Your experience will be much more enhanced.
We often go to Europe and one of our favorite pastimes-cheap and priceless--is to walk the city or village we are in, and explore local shops, and drink coffee or wine at the roadside cafe.
- Do not waste money on trinkets.
Buy something of lasting value-a local artist's work, art object or pottery the destination is famous for.
And here is a tip.
Ask the waiters or bell boys at the hotel, not the concierge.
That way you will avoid tourist traps and get something unique.
When in Brazil, we shopped for a bird sculpture made entirely of gemstones--and got it for less than $400-the tourist shop was selling the same thing for over $1,000.