You might call me a Travel Agent, and actually, that is how I refer to myself, but often I feel more like a match maker. With the proliferation of dating shows I couldn’t help but see the similarities between how people choose a mate and how they choose a vacation and very often a hot tub is included in both scenarios. In my reality show, I help potential travelers sort out their resort choices similar to the T.V. host who helps sort out potential suitors. Also, like the T.V. Host, I help my clients decide which destination gets a “first date” and if all goes well, whether it gets a “second date”. So let’s have our first contestant….
The Love ‘em and Leave ‘em Traveler: Travel can be fickle. One year a destination is in vogue, new and fresh and the latest and greatest. These thrill seekers are unwilling to commit to a single destination. They refuse to limit themselves to one style of travel. Beach lounging, European bon vivant, grand adventures, why choose one when you can have them all? This type of traveler lives for the thrill of discovery and bragging rights and their approach is definitely more of a love ‘em and leave’em and move on to the next big challenge. From a Travel Agent’s perspective, you get to live vicariously through their experiences. These travelers will never settle down. They continue to “date” and each vacation is to a different destination. They don’t commit, because this type of traveler knows that there are so many different experiences to be had. Cruisers could fall under this heading but I consider them to be serial daters of the vacation universe. Unwilling to commit to just one island or one country, they choose itineraries that allow them to pack once and visit several destinations. They spend a few hours flirting with a new area before moving on to the next island. Multiple city or country tours via motor coach, the fancy word for bus, offer the same opportunity. This type of travel is actually great for people with limited time who wish to see as much as possible.
The Going Steady Traveler: These travelers tend to fall in love with a resort or a place and they usually fall hard and fast. It starts out as a major crush. They swear that they’ve found “the one.” They remain loyal as they continue to visit the same location over and over. They introduce the destination to their friends and family, convinced that this will be a lasting relationship. But, travel trends are fickle. Hotels fade in and out of style. The traveler gets bored but remains faithful for a while until they eventually are tempted by something new, something, perhaps, completely different. Eventually, they decide to end the relationship. It’s not the destination, it’s them. They just need to see what else is out there in terms of vacation options.
The Committed Traveler: These travelers pledge their devotion to one particular destination: They revisit the same country, the same island, the same beach and sometimes, even the same hotel room over and over again. They are comfortable in a monogamous travel relationship knowing what’s waiting for them when they return year after year. They have their favorite restaurants and bars. They may have settled down with one particular resort where the manager and staff know their preferences, their favorite room, the type of view they prefer and a place where everybody knows their name. When they want to shake things up they reserve a room with a different view. This type of traveler likes the predictability of knowing what to expect, confident in knowing they will get a great meal at their favorite restaurant. That’s sort of an “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?“ approach. However, I guess that’s why time shares have become so popular.
Me, I’m kind of a love’ em and leave ‘em traveler. I like to have a good time, take away some good memories and then move on to the next destination. Since it’s impossible to see any one location completely thoroughly without pulling up roots and transplanting yourself for several months or years, the best any of us can hope for is a good overview. I’m not talking about the “If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium” type tours but it does require allocating more than a minimum 5 days to visit a new locale. Sounding a bit like a hypocrite, I also tell people that 5 days in Italy is better than never getting to Rome at all. So, what are the pros of revisiting a location? Confidence tops the list. You’ve already been to say, Paris so you have a sense of familiarity that perhaps allows you to eschew the escorted tour this time and strike out on your own. You have more freedom, can move at a slower pace, linger a little longer at a restaurant or museum or sit in a local park. Since you’ve already seen the major tourist areas you can visit smaller lesser known towns and get a much better understanding of local life. I certainly have had my share of repeat visits. Some were based upon an invitation when a country was unveiling a new tourist concept that they were eager to share with the travel community. Some were based upon necessity, such as escorting a group of people on a trip to Walt Disney World or Caribbean Islands such as Jamaica. Are there countries that I would willingly go back and visit again without any purpose other than I really enjoyed my time there? Sure, absolutely. At the risk of being a kiss and tell Travel Agent, I loved England enough to visit several times and if the opportunity was presented I would happily consider another rendezvous with London. Between you and me, I feel the same way about Istanbul. So, how do you know when you’ve found the right “match?” Perhaps, it‘s true that when it’s really right, you just know.