Saturday, December 09, 2006

What's Your Perfect Travel Holiday?

The reasons we travel and where we like to go are often unique to the individual traveler, but there are only a few broad categories. Here are my decidedly unscientific observations. What catgegory do you fall under?

Kick Back, Relax, Don't Bug Me for a Week. Budget: $
You want to get away from it all, whether 'it' is a job, a family situation or depressing winter weather. You don't want to have to think at all -- just have someone come out to the beach or find your hammock to tell you when dinner's ready, or pass you the sunscreen or bring you a drink. All-inclusive sun destinations were custom made for you.

Holiday Time is Play Time. Budget: $$
You love to (pick one or more) ski, surf, hike, bike, kayak, climb, do yoga, fish, golf, cook, knit, build a home with Habitat For Humanity, teach English, or otherwise volunteer your time and skills-- whatever your hobby or passion. Your idea of a perfect holiday is the freedom to more of the same, but with different scenery and different people. One of the small group specialty tours is your best bet. You get the comfort of having someone else handle the details while you get to indulge to your heart's content and hone your skill(s).

Culture Vulture, Shopping. Budget: $$$
You adore museums and art galleries, designer shops and fine dining. Your ideal holiday is rubbing shoulders with the well-heeled crowd. You tolerate camping only when you can pitch your tent in the lobby of a 5-star hotel. Believe it or not, there's a small group tour for you, too. Fashion week in Milan, studying French in Paris, soaking up history in Athens, a week at a spa.

All of the above. Budget: $-$$$$$
While some travelers are comfortable only in their specific 'zone', many of us happily cross over, taking from our holiday time whatever strikes our fancy, and combining various 'types' to get the most value for our vacation dollar. We add a few day tours to an all-inclusive holiday, or layover a few days in a stop-over city (London, say, to catch a few plays and do some shopping), or hike and bike, or plant trees for a week, then spend a few days stretched out in a hammock under a palm tree.

What type of traveler are you? Whatever your type, I challenge you to expand your horizons: Volunteeer for community service in Peru, then go walkabout at Manchu Pichu. Stir yourself from your beach chair, and visit a school or a coffee plantation in Costa Rica.

And if you're already an eclectic traveler, you're well on your way to becoming a global citizen. And that's a good thing, Martha!