My trips, whether they be domestic or overseas tend to be shorter stays. I generally plan a lot ahead and look for good deals and book about 6 months in advance. Domestic travel wraps around a weekend and public holidays so generally 3-5 days in length. Generally as a result of my leave schedules and other work commitments, overseas trips tend to be around 1-2 weeks. Yes, you might think its a waste to spend so little time in one place, given that we travel overseas spending a lot of money on the tickets, time to get there, visas, etc.
As my stays are generally shorter, I plan a lot ahead. Accommodation I choose depends on the activities and sites I would like to do (I map the location of sights in Google maps) and then find the best location combined with the price. Once the locations are mapped, I get a general sense of their concentration so I know if I need to spend more time in a particular area or not. Accommodation I choose is mostly walking distance to as many sites as possible so I avoid spending too much money on transport.
I do like visiting museums and art galleries a lot so that is the first thing I look for. Then all other cultural sites such as temples, shrines, castles, mansions, monuments, gardens, interesting markets, lakes, etc. And, I try to savour some local cuisine. My research is a combination of google searches and blog sites, plus travel books. I do like to know more about a place if I come across something new and see the viability of visiting it. And yes, I’ve skipped a lot due to time restrictions of travel distances (which I sometimes regret).
My general rule of thumb is to stay as close as possible to all important places I would like to visit and then to start the day early. I like to walk a lot between these places getting some much needed exercise (although can be tiring) while taking breaks in between. By starting the day early, I get a chance to visit many places during the day time and still have some time to detour and come across something new. I remember walking about 7-8 hours one day when in Japan visiting many temples. As I try to cover a lot, its a go go go state as soon as I land. And sometimes I get all tired and let the world revolve around me by not doing much.
As you travel often, in my opinion, your tastes evolve. You become more open to ideas and cultures, you get used to different customs, you appreciate the journey and in the end it makes a better person.
What do you like to do when you travel? Leave your thoughts below…