“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”– Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad / Roughing It
Travel is a rewarding thrill, not just because you see new places and experience different ways of life, but because, through learning about the lives of others’, you learn more about your place and your way of life. One of the basics you are apt to discover is your travel genre.
In other words, what compels you to set out for new shores? Why do you travel?
If your holidays are just a break from work and chores to enjoy a book on the beach, then, by all means, you’re likely travelling for seclusion. If you’re interested in meeting people, experience street good and taking in the local colour, you’re probably travelling for culture. Climbing mountains, scuba diving, and jungle trekking? Sounds like you might be a nature traveller.
Most people travel for at least one of seven reasons:
Each of these travel genres offers its own rewards, but it’s important to remember that how we travel is just as important as why we travel. Keep these tips in mind as you plot your next getaway. Here’s how you can determine your own personal travel genre.
Travel is a give and take
Perhaps the most important decision you will have to make when you travel is what you are not going to do. Given the wealth of possibilities you can enjoy when you travel, plotting your itinerary can feel like a bit of a zero-sum game. Do you want to spend an afternoon in the cafes, museums, and shops downtown? That’s a day you won’t spend at the beach. Feel like hiking a nearby forest? That’s time you won’t spend snapping photos of the local architecture. These choices define who we are as travellers.
Visiting a new place with limited time and funds often requires that you be selective about what you do, what you see, and where you go. Too many travellers try to reject this reality by cramming their holiday so full of activities and attractions that all must be rushed and none can be really savoured. Unfortunately, this only proves the underlying point. By stuffing your itinerary, you’re deciding to sacrifice relaxation and quieter moments.
So, what do you sacrifice and what do you make time for? How do you make the most of your travels? One way to streamline your priorities is to determine your travel genre (and, in keeping with our theme, which travel genres you are not).
Where are you headed and why?
Your travel genre can determine the experience you choose to have at your destination, but you need not box yourself in permanently. If you’re flexible, your travel genre can shift depending on where you’re going. Conversely, those who know what they want may find their travel genre dictating which destinations they choose. Ultimately, the best way to plan for your next holiday is to use your personal travel preferences to select a destination that both satisfies your travel genre while offering something new and exciting.
Are you a fixed seclusion traveler? You may find yourself forgoing the labyrinthine shopping centres of Tokyo or the museums of Paris for the beach bungalows of Bora Bora or the mountain lodges of the Alps. History travelers may take a pass on the bright lights of Singapore in favour of the Acropolis ruins of Athens.
However, those who prefer some variety might travel to Vietnam for the street food culture, then head to South Africa to experience the wildlife of Kruger National Park, then to Tibet for a meditation retreat. You don’t need to limit yourself!
The point is that you don’t need to commit yourself to any one travel genre, but doing so can help you prioritise what you will and won’t have time for during your holiday.
Look back on your past holidays. Do you notice a trend? Have you written down a bucket list of places you hope to visit in the future? Why do you want to go there? What is it famous for? Maybe your travel genre is all you need to make sense of your plans.
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