How do you decide what your next vacation will be? Do you cruise the web looking for vacation deals? Do you depend on your friends to recommend possible destinations? Is the Travel Channel the only TV you watch? I don’t know about you, but in my next life I want to be Samantha Brown. If you’re like me, there’s no telling how you’ll get your next traveling inspiration, but here are a few of my favorites:
- Timeshare Offers and Free Travel Deals – A few weeks ago Bill and I sat through a sales presentation for a free cruise. What’s a couple of hours on a Friday evening when the pay off is a cruise. Fast talking timeshare salesmen have told us that 50% of the people that come to a property will buy and the other 50% are freeloaders. Me, I’m a freeloader. Among the vacations I freeloaded was a week in Hawaii with a rental car in a four star hotel, for the price of airfare and a couple of hundred bucks. Anybody who will put me up in Hawaii for a week and give me a rental car is welcome to 90 minutes of my time. Free travel will always get me interested in a destination.
- Major Occasions for Family and Friends – People are always getting married, having kids and graduating from college. My friends and family are spread out all over the world and I wish I could be there for all their events, like starring in the school play, soccer games and birthday parties, but that’s just not practical. However, there are situations that are command performances and when they come along I rarely miss the opportunity to turn the occasion into at least a long weekend – and when possible, I make a two week vacation out of it. When my nephew graduated from Wharton, I managed to use the graduation as a starting point for a vacation that took me to the Brandywine Valley, the Hudson River Valley, the Adirondacks, the Thousand Islands and Niagara Falls.
- Business Meetings – If I have to go there anyway for business, why not enjoy it. Even if all I can do is take in a few good restaurants at the edges of the day, then that’s what I’ll do, but when possible, I throw in a few days before or after the business demands to do a little sight-seeing. The best situation of all is when my husband has to go for business and I tag along. I’ve been to several cities that way and love it. He’s engaged with whatever business brought him to town and I gorge myself on museums. He likes museums too, but he only wants to go to one a day and spend a few hours there. Me? I rise with the chickens and museum myself all day long.
- Sports – I married an adventurer. From time to time he’ll dream up something he wants to do or to try in sports. Our last vacation was launched because he wanted to try out a ski resort he could drive to rather than fly. The result was a two week road trip in New Mexico and Texas. I saw the Smokey Mountains because he wanted to try hang gliding. Para-sailing got me to Monterey, California. Go, Bill! Go!!
But when it’s time for vacation and there’s no really compelling reason, except that you really need to get out of town, that’s when I curl up with a good travel book. I spend most of the day on a computer, so the thought of shopping for a vacation destination there doesn’t feel like fun.
Sometimes the book I curl up with is one I bought to prepare for a previous trip. Time never allows me to see all the attractions and sites I want, so if I’m wishing for a long weekend, I simply pull out my ancient copy of Texas Off the Beaten Path. My copy came out in 1994 and opens automatically to North Texas. Imagine that!
Other times my aspirations are larger. That’s when A Thousand Places to See Before You Die comes out. As I’ve visited the places in this book, I highlight them, but far too many pages are still pristine. I open the book to any page and within moments I’m planning an itinerary. I so envied the young couple who was selected by the travel channel to star in their series taken from this book – the emphasis is on young, because there is no way that they really understood the magnitude of their travels. My ultimate travel wish is to take one of those cruises that takes an entire year to travel around the world, but chances are if I did, I’d just sign up for the next year and do it all again.
So how do you decide where you’ll travel next? I’d like to know. And you never can tell. The next time you read my blog, I might be writing about you!