While most people like to travel, the concept of an ideal trip varies wildly from person to person. While some people like staying in glamourous all-inclusive hotels and sitting on the beach all day, others prefer to wake up early and see as much of the area’s sites and culture as possible.
What I want to know from you, is if you think there’s a right and a wrong way to travel.
I’m assuming that the majority of you reading this site fall more into the second camp, preferring to spend time interacting with locals and seeing the sites instead of sipping margaritas on the beach (though you may like to do that from time to time). For me, as I’m guessing is true with many of you, if I don’t come back from a trip thinking, “Man, I need a vacation,” then I didn’t fully experience the destination.
If I’d asked this question last year, I think that I would have emphatically said that there is definitely a wrong way to travel; however, having worked as a travel agent for a few months earlier this year, selling mostly high-end, all-inclusive vacations and cruises, I actually have slightly changed my mind.
So, while I don’t necessarily believe that there is a wrong way to travel, I do think there is a huge difference between going somewhere and experiencing somewhere.
The majority of vacationers who go to all-inclusive resorts or take cruises don’t ever get out of that bubble. Even if they go off the resort briefly, they are still with their group, meaning that they are getting manufactured culture at best.
Back in April, I visited Ocho Rios, Jamaica, for a work conference. While I may have spent my time differently than the customers staying in the same high-end resort, I don’t think that I experienced any less culture than they did: none.
This experienced really opened my eyes even further to the reality of these types of vacations. After all, while the resort was nice (though definitely not a 4.5-star property as claimed), there really wasn’t anything to distinguish it as Jamaican. I could have had the exact same experience in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, or even Florida.
I often had people come into my shop and say, “I want to go to an all-inclusive, but I don’t want to go to Jamaica. I’ve already been there.” Had they really though? If you get more culture in the airport than you do during your vacation, can you really claim to have been to a destination?
I think not.
What do you think? Is there a right way to travel and a wrong way to travel? Or is there only one way to actually travel in the first place?
Let me know in the comments section below.