Still basking in the afterglow of my recent trip to France, it reminds me of how I used to travel. Rushing from place to place, trying to see and do everything I could possibly squeeze into whatever time I had. Always thinking, I have to do this now because I will probably never come back again. With my itinerary overflowing and a dizzying array of stops, I needed a vacation when I returned home.
It was all very exciting and I had no desire to slow down. I was also much younger and had enough energy to get me through even the busiest schedule. Now, all of that has changed. Slowly, over the years, I found that I wanted to take my time, do a little less and spend more time enjoying my new surroundings.
This trip was a perfect combination of activities and relaxation. My family rented a lovely home in the countryside just outside of Paris. Beautiful, peaceful gardens and close proximity to visit the city. To be able to wake to the sounds of birds chirping and know that the only thing on my agenda was to sit and have coffee in the garden was divine.
Now, as I’m planning my travel, I keep the schedule very light and open. I plan to have one or two activities that I would like to do but nothing set in stone. Flexibility is the key; I want to be able to decide what I want to do and not be tied to a strict schedule.
I also plan my transportation very carefully, allowing extra time for travel delays, recovery of jet lag and any others issues that inevitably arise from travel. I’ve learned how my body reacts to long, overnight flights and now plan accordingly. It is so much more pleasant to arrive knowing that I have a couple of days to rest and acclimate to my new environment before I have to move on.
I love to book a nice, quiet hotel with a restaurant and room service so I don’t even have to leave my room if I’m so inclined. Usually, after the first day, I’m ready to go out and explore a little. Walking around where I’m staying always gives me a good sense of the local area and gets me energized for more activities.
One of my favorite things to do in any area that I’m visiting is to go to the market. Preferably outdoor, but any nearby shop will do. Even if it is only to pick up a few light snacks to take back to my room, I love feeling like a local and not a tourist. The absolute best is when I have a kitchen, which is why renting an apartment or house is fantastic. I can cook and shop and it makes me feel right at home. It is a wonderful way to experience a new place.
I do enjoy seeing the sights, just at a different pace. For me, this type of travel gives me more pleasure and much less stress. These are the experiences that I remember and enjoy long after the trip has ended.
What is your travel style? Have you changed how you travel over the years? Do you like a full schedule or is it more relaxed? Share you experiences and join the conversation!
Wishing you Happy Travels!