We call ourselves travel addicts. This, however, is not to be interpreted in the same way as for a lot of other travelers, who indulge in lifelong or, at least, years-long travel. We own a house, work dayjobs, have a wonderful little girl and quite a lot of pets. Given our reasonably high mortgage, travel is not a straightforward affaire for us. And I suppose this is true for a lot of people. However, this doesn’t mean it makes traveling impossible. What it needs is:
1. Having clear priorities.
For example, I tend to focus on UNESCO world heritage sites. This might seem to be limiting, but it’s not at all. First of all, those sites are usually the most beautiful/interesting/jaw-dropping… But more importantly, they make for a perfect starting point from where you can build up your travel itinerary. That’s how I work. My wife’s priorities are more in the field of nature/landscapes… We complete each other’s travel plans and together, we come up with the perfect trip (for us).
2. Making choices.
Sacrifices sounds very negative, so I prefer to say choices. We can’t visit all of the sites we would like to see, because that would make our trip too long (and we have a budget to take into account). Very importantly, our little girl also has a voice in this choice-making. So we make sure there is enough pooltime and beachtime for her and try to fit in some cool acitivities (e.g. dromedary-back riding, like we did in Morocco)…
3. Finding creative solutions.
We need to take care of our pets as well, of course. If possible, we take our dog Túrin along, but he is not so fond of long car rides. Therefore we also rely on http://www.trustedhousesitters.com for a housesitter. Until now the experiences have been good. We also like to go couchsurfing, which is not only very budget friendly, but it is the perfect way to get to known the local culture and cuisine, and have a nice chat with a bunch of superfriendly people (www.couchsurfing.org).
4. Careful planning.
This is my favorite bit. At this moment, we are still not sure where to go to next year. Taking into account the budget, the moments that we are able to go on holidays (we both work in education, so we cannot simply choose) and the timing of next-years ramadan (for example), we had to eliminate some destinations…
I do like the planning, personally. Like I said, I first make a list of UNESCO world heritage sites in the country I want to “research”. I put those in a map (via Google maps) and on our Pinterest page. I then start to google/read the Lonelyplanet website/look on other people’s Pinterest pages etc. And I add any interesting spot to the map and the Pinterest page.
Our Pinterest board can be found on: http://www.pinterest.com/ourworldheritag/. ;-)
This is an example of a map I made last week for Tunisia:
The third step is to look into practical information such as the weather, health and hygiene issues, road safety etc. By then, we have a pretty good view of the travel destination and are able to compare it with other options. The whole proces is also a means to start dreaming about our next trip. I love it! :-)
– M –