What is Travel Style? Is it important to know yours?
I believe it is.
By knowing your travel style, you can travel smarter, cheaper and in a way that is more personal and meaningful to you. Travel allows you the opportunity to learn about other cultures, ways of life, places, people’s stories.
It also provides you with the opportunity to learn about yourself.
Discovering your Travel Style
After travelling a few times, your travel style will start to emerge. It won’t take you long to realise what you like and don’t want.
Your travel style isn’t a word or a label. It is the way you like to travel.
To understand sooner, ask yourself as many questions as possible to narrow down your particular style.
- Do you like to do all the trip planning or let someone else do it for you?
- Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
- Do you like being in groups? Or prefer your own time?
- Do you like luxury accommodation or is cheap and cheerful more your style?
- How much time do you want to spend in each location? Does a tour offer you this option?
- Do you like being flexible or follow a plan?
Whatever your style, be very clear about what you DO NOT like before you start researching. That way you will be more focused when sifting through the mass of information out there. And not getting caught up in the things that won’t suit you.
You can download my Free Travel Planning Checklist that includes a questionnaire to help you find your travel style.
Be completely honest with yourself. There is no point in booking a dorm room in a hostel to save you money if you are a total introvert and like space and time to yourself.
Why is it important to know?
There are different types of travellers.
There is no right or wrong way.
You could be someone who likes an all-inclusive holiday, laying by the pool or on the beach. Or you could be someone who throws their backpack on and heads off into the unknown. You could be a solo traveller, travel with your family or love a trip away with friends or your other half.
For me, it’s important to get more out of travel than just a holiday.
I understand the appeal of the all-inclusive holiday. I have enjoyed those types of holidays too, but now I want more. Rather than visit a location for a day, I want to discover more. Find out more about a country, one place at a time.
To take my time and discover the rhythm of life in each location, get to know someone else’s backyard a little better, and relish the differences in the world rather than looking for the sameness.
Knowing your Travel Style will help you:
- Have better and more meaningful travel experiences
- Save money
- Feel no angst and ill feeling toward incompatible travel companions
Learn through Experience
Years ago, when my children were small, we took them on an all-inclusive holiday to a resort in Fiji. It was beautiful and relaxing for us adults because the children were occupied part of the time at the kid’s club, and we had fun times together on excursions organised by the resort.
The Fijian people were lovely, welcoming, excellent for the kids and friendly. One of the servers we saw each morning at breakfast invited us to her village located next to the resort. To walk around, say hello and see their way of life.
To say it was a shock is an understatement. I am grateful that my eldest child could see how people lived differently from us. A life without luxuries. Simple to the point of impoverished. But the local kids ran around playing, laughing and were happy. Everyone was welcoming.
I loved that part of our holiday the most. Getting to know the staff and seeing their homes. I wanted to explore further, but we were restricted.
It left me wanting more. I didn’t want to be stuck in a resort, having people wait on us all the time. I wanted to get to know them, as people not as staff.
And that is when I started to learn what my travel style was.
I realised that for me, to go on another holiday like that one would be a waste. I would be longing to do more, see more.
Organised Travel Groups
Not all organised travel is the same. Organised travel can include and mean several things.
Group Tours can include small and large groups. It could mean Bus Tours or Boutique Group Trips.
Not all tours are the same. There are a lot of boutique tours/trips run by smaller companies or individuals that offer an independent style of travel, with most of the details organised for you.
You can find tours and trips based on themes that interest you – Painting, Food, History, Writing, Diving and Adventure to name a few.
My business, Travel Charm, hosts small group tours for women. The trips are a good balance of organised sightseeing, and free time to do as you please, or join me exploring our destination. My trips are for women only, and for a particular age group. Make sure before you book a tour that is going to be the right fit for you.
Some group tours allow for some independence with free days like mine; others have a fully planned itinerary.
It certainly is worth getting to know your travel style before you book.
If you do like your space and time, it would be prudent to book a single room and ensure the itinerary has free time to allow you do to do your own thing if you choose.
You can combine Independent and Organised travel.
Maybe it’s a trip for a group of friends, or a sporting group, or family group, that one person has planned and organised.
Even though you don’t have the same restrictions as a tour company’s itinerary, (and hopefully they won’t leave you behind if you don’t follow the itinerary) you are still following someone else’s plan.
Or fighting to follow yours.
Years ago, it was easier for me to tag along on trips that other people had organised. My anxiety was controlling my life, and my confidence was at zero.
I had some great times on those trips, but I also had times when I wished I could be doing something else, staying in different accommodation and doing different activities.
I wasn’t brave enough to do that on my own.
It took a long time to build the courage, to face my fears and anxieties, and finally travel the way I wanted to.
I was in my 40’s!
If you find yourself in that situation, it may be worthwhile discussing your expectations with everyone in the group before the travel planning process starts. It’s hard planning trips for groups and trying to consider everyone’s preferences, but it’s essential for a successful trip. The organiser may appreciate knowing your feelings.
Group Travel Advantages
Although I am not a huge fan of any group travel, except mine, of course, there is one thing I encountered that was a real surprise.
Different ideas and perspective.
I love that when you travel with a group of like-minded people, everyone has a different view on things, or an idea they would like to explore or place they want to see. I have travelled with creative people, and you never know what someone will want to do or why.
If you are open-minded and listen to others, you may find yourself doing something you would not have thought of yourself. I love that!
I like that even though I am travelling with a group, spontaneity and surprises still happen.
Independent travel includes solo travel, travelling with a companion (maybe a friend or spouse) or any travel that does not involve you being on an organised, guided tour.
By choosing independent travel, you choose flexibility, freedom, and total control.
As with organised travel, there is not one way to be an independent traveller. Some people swear solo travel is the only way to go. They can choose where to go, what to do, where to eat and everything else exactly the way they want it. There are no compromises to be made.
Others travel with friends or a spouse.
Some like to see where travel takes them, others book day tours to join. Again, there is no right or wrong. Whatever works for you is right.
Oh, how I aspire to solo travel!
Finding the Right Travelling Companion
Keep in mind that finding a suitable travelling companion can be hard and you could be surprised to find neither your friend or your spouse compatible travelling companions.
Travel is personal.
Travelling teaches us about ourselves.
I believe that when we travel, we become more of who we are, away from our everyday lives, routines, and expectations.
So, it isn’t a surprise that the person closest to you at home, like your best friend or spouse, seems completely different when you travel.
I am fortunate that I have people I can travel with that are fantastic travel companions. When you find your perfect travel companion, don’t let go. They are like gold!
My friend Kathy, a great travel companion
There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when travelling with someone else:
- Is their budget like yours?
- Do they have similar likes, interests?
- Will they want some independence to do their own thing? Will you?
- Can you comfortably share a room together?
- Are they available to travel when you can? For the same length of time?
I think we have all been on those holidays with someone we were not compatible with and how bad that can be. It could be minor constant annoyances, or it could be bigger issues. Either way, it can be disappointing.
Choose your travel companion wisely. Perhaps a few weekends away together first might be wise.
Learn to Compromise
Unless you are a solo traveller, you will need to compromise. But if you choose your travelling companions or tours wisely, your compromises should be minimal.
Most of the time you will have to sacrifice something. If you don’t like planning but are an independent traveller, you are going to have to do some organising or hire someone like me, a Travel Planner (blatant plug there I’m sorry), to organise travel the way you like it.
Or you may be someone who loves organised travel and tours and will have to sacrifice spending extended time in each destination.
It may take you a while to find out what your style is. You can make it easier by taking the time to understand yourself more. And be honest about what you like and don’t like.
Would sharing a room with a stranger be a problem? If yes, then save the extra money and pay for a single room.
Do you like being in groups? If no, then it would be silly to book yourself onto a 20-day tour with 20 other people. There would be nowhere for you to escape!
Read reviews on each tour company before booking anything. Most large tour companies attract a particular kind of traveller, e.g. Contiki are for younger travellers.
Budget can be a huge factor. If you want to travel without the big price tag, then independent travel is the way to go.
There are many clever money-saving ideas that you can implement by being an independent traveller. You have a multitude of accommodation options available from hotels, hostels, Airbnb, camping, B&B’s, and guesthouses and more. You can even try housesitting and house swapping.
It’s not one size fits all.
Independent travel may be for you, but solo travel may not be. Organised tours may not be your preference, but you may find small group tours that attract like-minded people and suit your desire not to have to plan anything more for you.
Be honest about what you like and don’t like and what you will put up with and make sure you research thoroughly before making your decision.
Don’t worry too much; travel is a wonderful experience no matter how you achieve it. You don’t know what you don’t know, and the only way to find out is to try.
I have never taken Travel for granted. Travel is a precious gift that allows me to explore the world and the opportunity to grow as a person and learn more about myself.