Travel is not one-size-fits-all. There are as many unique ways to travel as there are places to travel to. Travel is about finding what works for you and finding ways to make it happen. Near or far, budget or luxury, day trip or long-term; there’s a travel style for everyone.
Solo vs. Group
Solo: I’ve done very little solo traveling myself, but I can see the obvious benefits. You have complete independence and control of the trip. You get to choose where you eat, what you do, and the pace of your travels. On the other hand, you will be responsible for the full price, you may have to deal with feelings of loneliness, and be more conscious of your safety. I think it’s something everyone should experience at least once in their lives; finding yourself in a new place, needing to rely on the kindness of others and your own capabilities can lead to strength and confidence that may be impossible to attain otherwise.
Group: This style can be so broad. Traveling with a group could mean traveling as part of a tour group made up of complete strangers, a group of friends, or with members of your own family. Just like solo travel, group travel has its own pros and cons. Pros can include splitting the costs, sharing responsibilities of planning and carrying out the trip, and knowing you have someone with whom you can talk and laugh with. On the contrary, group travel can run into problems such as drama and disagreements, and depending on who your traveling with, splitting expenses could end up costing more if your partners travel more extravagantly. The key to successful group travel is discussing expectations for expenses and plans ahead of time and everyone being flexible.
Couple vs. Kids vs. Multi-Generation
Couple: Leaving the kids behind can be hard, but can also be incredibly rewarding. Most of our traveling these days is done with our kids in tow, but Nate and I make it a priority to get away, just the two of us, every couple of years. If you’re willing to let go of the kids (knowing that you’ve left them in fully capable hands) couple travel can be a perfect combination of fun and relaxation, allowing you and your partner to reconnect and rediscover what drew you to each other in the first place.
Kids in Tow: We have worked to build our lives around travel to open the world to our kids and let them experience life around the globe. One of our greatest fears is that our kids will live and die without ever knowing that anything exists beyond our front gate. Bringing the kids along can be stressful, tiring, and frustrating. It can also be THE MOST rewarding experience, as you watch your kids interacting with people who are as different from them as could be, exploring new lands, and creating memories that will last their whole lives. Read more info on planning travel with babies and teens. And for more info on family travel, check out TraveLynn Family.
Multi-generation: Some of my favorite childhood memories are from trips my family took with my Grandma and more recently, trips that my kids and I have taken with my parents. And now we have another trip coming up with Nate’s mom and step-dad, that we can’t wait for. Mixing generations can be difficult, with different schedules, interests, and energy levels, but can also lead to new perspectives and improved relationships. Like I mentioned in Group Travel, make sure to discuss expectations ahead of time. Bonus: Grandparents make excellent babysitters, so you and your sweetheart can have a few minutes to explore on your own! Check out A World of Travel with Kids to read more about the benefits.
Local vs. International
Local: Not all of us have the means to travel around the globe at present, but that doesn’t mean that travel isn’t an option. Many families make it a priority to explore every inch of their surroundings. Living on a small island in the South Pacific has given us the challenge of island fever. Exploring the island extensively has proven to be a highly effective cure. Chances are, there are places you have yet to explore in your own area. These would make perfect day-trips or over-nighters.
International: I do think there’s something so valuable about experiencing life outside your own country. Being exposed to new languages, new customs, people and foods, makes us more open-minded, accepting, and grateful for what we have. Seeing a place on TV or in pictures can only show us so much. You need to be on the ground, immersed, to fully experience a place. When traveling internationally, be aware of local customs. Keep in mind that you are an ambassador for your home country, people will associate your actions and attitude with where you’re from, for better or for worse.
Budget vs. Mid-Range vs. Luxury
Budget: We’ve had a lot of experience with budget travel. Nate’s idea of a good place to stay for the night is the oldest, cheapest, most run-down place in town. LOL There have been a couple places where I slept in a sleeping bag, instead of climbing in between the covers, but it cost us next to nothing. However, there have been more clean and lovely, while still inexpensive, motels/hostels where we’ve felt perfectly safe and comfortable. Check out this post on ultra low-budget travel.
Mid-Range: Occasionally, we’ve ventured into the middle range. These are the hotels and restaurants that aren’t the absolute cheapest, while not being outrageously priced. And it all depends on your perception; what we consider mid-range others might still consider budget. This style offers a wide variety of travel styles within itself. The important thing is to create a travel budget and find the accommodations that will work best for you.
Luxury: Lifestyles of the rich and the famous, right? We haven’t ventured into luxury travel so far, but if golden archways, satin sheets, and caviar and champagne are what you’re used to, there are destinations that are willing to trade luxurious comfort and pampering for your cold, hard cash. Wondering if luxury travel is possible with families? Hop over to Wandermust Family to see.
Vacations vs. Long-Term
Vacations: I consider vacations anything from a day-trip to a few weeks long. You cram as much adventure or relaxation (whatever you’re looking for) into a short amount of time. Vacations can be a great way to recharge your batteries, giving you short breaks from the mundane. Example: Our upcoming trip to Australia, we’re trying to do as much as we can within two weeks.
Long-Term: This is more sustainable. We had it explained to us as, “Real life, just doing it in different places around the world.” For us, for now, Nate took a job in American Samoa so we could experience a new culture, new surroundings, and a new way of life, while still working a 9-5 job. For others, it might look like a sabbatical year in a new place. It could be a family RVing around the US. Others might jump from place to place every few months, but always staying on the road. Different people make it work in different ways, some living off of savings or retirement, others working online, while others take up odd jobs in whatever place they find themselves.
Business vs. Pleasure
Business and pleasure don’t have to be exclusive. Nate used to travel a lot for work. I had the opportunity to travel with him, on one of his trips to Washington DC. He would go to a few meetings in the morning, maybe afternoon, while I would do things I was interested in. Then, we would get the rest of the day enjoying the cities we were in together. While other trips Nate’s taken, have left little to no extra time for sightseeing. And other times, we’ve made the decision to leave all work behind and be fully present.
By Land, By Air or By Sea
Land: There are so many options for traveling over land- car, bus, train, RV, motorcycle, bike, hitchhiking (not recommended in all places or for all people). Traveling over land can be a great way to see a country in between airports. In most cases, you have the freedom to travel at your own speed, stop when you want to, and have lots of opportunities for taking pictures. Land travel can also be much slower, though. So, if you’re limited on time, land travel may not be the style for you. Although, overnight trains or buses can be great options, as opposed to taking a red-eye and getting to a place in the early morning before anything is open.
Air: In some parts of the world, air travel can be incredibly affordable and convenient. It’s not unheard of to find flights around Europe and SE Asia for under $50 USD. I’ve even found some as low as $12! When compared with gas prices, that makes it way cheaper to fly than to drive. Certain airlines make flights incredibly comfortable and luxurious, if that’s what you’re looking for. Air travel is also very safe, so please don’t let fear stop you from going to new places.
Sea: We’ve been having so much fun getting to know the cruisers who come through our port. This is something that people actually still do- sail across oceans and around the world! You’d be surprised by how affordable this travel style can be. We’ve met everyone from single guys, to families, to retired couples, to research groups spending a semester at sea. Other sea going options are: Cruises (great for getting small glimpses of many places in a specific area). Or working as crew for larger cargo ships (maybe not as glamorous, but when at port, the crew gets to disembark and spend time exploring new places, too).
Other Travel Styles
I could keep listing travel options indefinitely. When you’re young, you could travel as a foreign exchange student or with a church or school group. If you’re heading to university, spending a semester or two in a study abroad could be an option. For those who want to make a difference and still see the world, you could check out volunteer tourism, especially those in the medical profession, animal lovers, or those with passion for helping children, you could work/volunteer teaching in schools or helping in orphanages. Already love traveling and want to make a career out of it? Travel writing could be the style for you.
Whether you’re you’re stuck at home or ready to set sail, you can find a travel style that will work for you. If you’re not sure, which one is right, do some research. You can find inspiration through Pinterest and Instagram. You can find information on these travels styles through the links provided and through other travel blogs online.
Which travel styles have you tried? And how did they turn out?
Which styles are you planning for? Tell me about it.