This week's "Travel Tip," is to get a good guidebook!
Inevitably, no matter how much I think I know a place, I come up empty-handed every now and then. Of course, it's always when you want it to happen least! So, come prepared.
I believe in guides. I believe in experts. And, I believe the right guidance from the right person is invaluable. But, what's right? For me, right usually comes in the form of Rick Steves guidebook. But, there are many great ones out there, like Frommer's, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, DK Eyewitness Guides, and others.
The important thing is that you're not taking your advice from popular opinions, like those on TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor is only good, in my opinion, when there are tons and tons of reviews and they all point in the same direction - good or bad. If it's unanimous, that's not to be taken lightly. But, everyone's got an opinion, informed or not.
The guidebook writers I mentioned base their opinions on thousands of hours of travel and make comparisons based on having tried myriad options. They're not just pulling it out of thin air with nothing to compare it to.
Take Joe Schmo. Mr. Schmo went to Edinburgh once, stayed at one hotel, ate at a restaurant or two, took one car service, and only went to the most touristy of places because, without a good guidebook, he didn't know there were better places he could have gone. Mr. Schmo returns home and thinks, Edinburgh sucks. I'm never going back there. Then he jumps on TripAdvisor and rants about how bad everything was.
Then take Johnny Guidebook. Mr. Guidebook has been to Edinburgh dozens of times, has stayed in many hotels, B&Bs, and castles, has eaten in every major dining establishment as well as a lot of the minor ones, has taken every form of transportation imaginable, and knows every nook and cranny in Edinburgh. He knows where to go and where to stay away from. He knows what's a tourist trap and what's an authentic, immersive experience. Mr. Guidebook returns home, gathers his notes from his latest trip to Scotland, organizes his thoughts, compares his experience with his many trips to Edinburgh in the past, then sits down at his desk and begins to write a thoughtful, wise, energetic, inspirational story about how amazing Edinburgh is!
Who's opinion seems more valid to you? Joe's or Johnny's?
Don't be a Schmo! Get a good guidebook!
Ballooning over Cappadocia, Turkey - known for its distinctive “fairy chimneys” (tall, cone-shaped rock formations) clustered in Monks Valley - is EXACTLY what we mean by an EXTRAordinary Adventure! Have you been yet? Tell us about it! Share your travel story!
To view the show transcript, click on "Read More"
Interest in travel to Europe is up 29 percent this year over last, according to internal data from Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison website. Lucky for you, Europe is our thing!
Breaking it down by demographic:
The Most Popular European Destinations By Year-Over-Year Growth?
So, where will YOUR travels take you!? Mykonos perhaps? Let me help get you there! Contact me today!
What's "Soft Adventure Travel" anyway? I'm glad you asked!
I think if I had said "Adventure Travel," you would have a picture in your mind of what that is. Hiking, biking, camping, snowboarding, skiing, scuba diving, white water rafting, etc. But, there is an implication that to participate in Adventure Travel, you have to be very physically fit. I know I wouldn't try climbing a straight-faced cliff! I'm just not that fit.
Soft Adventure, on the other hand, can be about those activities as well, but it's those activities and others in a far more approachable way. Soft Adventure is also not just out in nature. Hiking through cities as opposed to taking cabs is one way you can remain active while taking in the sights. Another is cycle tours. Yet another is a segue tour. Yes, even a segue tour is Soft Adventure. You're getting out there! You're moving and exploring. You're not just sitting on a beach with a Piña Colada or in a spa with a glass of Champagne. (Not that I don't love that too!) In fact, Soft Adventure could even mean riding in an ATV or yacht.
Unlike Adventure Travel, Soft Adventure Travel is more about the exploration than the physical exertion. It's about getting off the beaten path. It's about not going to the tourist traps. It's about getting out of your comfort zone. It's about experiencing new sights, sounds, taste, smells, and feelings - not the plastic existence of our normal, everyday lives.
Take some of my own travel experiences. We hiked up to Cochem Castle in Germany the hard way. We only found out later that there was an easier way to get up. Oh well. Adventure! Or, how about Smithsonian hopping in DC? Talk about a workout! But, we also took a yacht exploration adventure around St. Maarten. I was totally relaxed that, but it was still Soft Adventure Travel.
You know, when you think about it, really all I'm saying is that if you take any ordinary vacation and amp it up in the right ways, you can have an EXTRAordinary Soft Adventure Travel experience. So, how do you amp it up? Hire me and find out!
One caveat, though. If you have health concerns or mobility issues, Soft Adventure Travel may not be right for you. Not to sound like a drug commercial, but do please check with your doctor first before engaging in any activity that could lead to you hurting yourself.