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If you’re considering an extended multi-destination or around-the-world journey chances are you’ve got a pretty advanced sense of adventure and a strong personality to boot. The first part of deciding where you want to go on your trip is to determine your traveling “personality”, that is, how you identify yourself as a traveler, your overriding pastime, your modus operandi even.
We’ve pinpointed a series of traveling personalities to help establish an identity that will create an overarching theme for your trip, a way to help divide up the world into those places you should see and those that aren’t as worthy of your time.
ADVENTUROUS – Bungee jumping in New Zealand. Running with the bulls in Pamplona. Dancing until 6 in the morning in Berlin. Heliskiing from the top of a mountain in Banff. Boating down the Amazon. These are the activities of an adventure traveler.
National Geographic recently published a list of the top adventure tour operators worldwide that may be worth a look. Of course, you don’t need to be a part of a tour to have an adventure, but if you’re not sure what adventure travel means or if you just want an idea of what kind of companies do operate tours, that’s a great place to start.
Recommended destinations: New Zealand, Brazil rainforest, Bolivia, Nepal/Tibet, Tanzania, India.
ROMANTIC – A perfect sunset on a secluded beach in the Seychelles. Gondola rides in Venice. A honeymoon for the storybooks. Travel can be an amazing way to connect with your partner, or even meet someone new! Here’s Travel and Leisure’s list of the 50 most romantic places to help you get a sense of what’s out there. The notion of taking off to far-flung places is a romantic idea in itself, so grab a bottle of wine and check out the sunset from the caldera in Santorini.
Recommended spots: Santorini, Venice, Paris, Buenos Aires, Goa, Bali, Phuket, Fiji, Tahiti.
INTELLECTUAL – Broadening your internal traveler’s encyclopedia. Art, culture and history. Days filled with museums, archeological sites, groundbreaking architecture and traditional experiences. If these thing are your style, the world awaits. There are destinations all over the world that will cater to the student inside you.
Recommended regions: Europe, India, Japan, Machu Picchu, Istanbul, Cairo.
FIRST TIME TRAVELER – Will this be your first time traveling internationally? A little nervous about flying overseas? Concerned that you don’t know what you don’t know? There are places much less of a cultural shock to ease you into the world at large.
Recommended stops: London, Paris, Rome, Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand.
DANGER JUNKIE – Live on the edge. Explore the off the beaten path destinations. Your ideal trip includes Ghana, possible brushes with the FARC in Colombia, or meeting some Maoist rebels in Nepal. Robert Pelton is your personal idol. You’re a risk taker and feel better finding destinations that give you the thrills you desire. Of course, we caution our travelers to read US State department warnings, as well as the warnings posted by other nations (many warnings can be colored by political agendas).
Recommended stops: Tibet, Colombia, Uganda, Papua New Guinea.
ALL OR NONE OF THE ABOVE – Many people want to include elements of every different type of travel in their around the world experience, and we certainly encourage you to do so. The best way to prepare for an extended journey is to be completely honest with yourself about what you want to accomplish and how you want to experience the world. The truth is that most travelers have some elements of all of the things we mentioned above in their ideal travel experience. It’s important to think about this aspect of your trip, not just what cities you want to visit or on what airlines you’ll be flying.
Now that you’ve decided on your traveling personality, the next step is to settle on your traveling style.
What’s Your Traveling Style?
In contrast to your travel personality, it’s a good idea to also determine your traveling style, to give yourself a jump on what places to include or leave off your around-the-world itinerary.
Here are the 5 traveling styles as designated by AirTreks:
Off the Beaten Path
You’re not the average tourist. You look to add more layers to your travel experience to give yourself rich cultural experiences every step of the way. You try things that more tentative travelers might skip.
Popular tourists spots are that way for a reason—history, beauty, craftsmanship—but some of the most rewarding traveling experiences have nothing to do with those things.
Some of them are as simple as a cup of tea with a local shopkeeper.
Sometimes the proposition of striking out on your own where you don’t speak the language is daunting, but it’s all part of the travel experience, one that will inevitably reward your courage.
What you do on your journey should fit inside your personal comfort zone but you shouldn’t not do something purely out of fear.
Suggestions on how to get off the beaten path:
- Try the town at the bottom of your 101 Places to Visit list.
- Go to a village as opposed to a city.
- Try your second choice of continents.
- Maybe redefine the term “beaten path” altogether.
While it’s not be easy finding places not worn thin by other adventurous travelers, it doesn’t mean you can’t get away from the camera toting masses, perhaps right in the middle of the most visited city of all. Check with your travel consultant for help discovering that proverbial and elusive “hidden gem”.
Traveling in Style
You need a little comfort. There’s no shame in wanting fancy sheets and a warm pool every once in a while.
If you’re going to be on the road for several months, you just may not want to always stay in the cheapest, flea-bitten hostel you can find (or maybe not at all). A strong shower and a comfortable bed are a godsend after a few months, weeks or even days of traveling on the cheap.
Many of our clients like to book a splurge or two into their trip, even if they’re trying to keep their costs down as much as possible.
If you’re looking to manage your budget, you might consider doing this in parts of the world where a splurge isn’t that expensive. For example, maybe during your travels through Europe you’d stay in budget hostels, but the night you arrive in Jaipur you might hire a car to pick you up at the airport and drive you to a 5 star hotel built into an old palace.
Here are a few other ways where you might spend a bit more money to have better experiences:
- Book a mountain trek in Nepal
- Book a safari in East Africa
- Take a boat trip to Antarctica from Ushuaia
- Take a tour across the Silk Road
Or else, travel in style for the duration of your journey. If you want to fly business or first class, AirTreks can accommodate that, often for a discount.
With Specific Intentions
You have things to do, places to be, going from place to place with an angle, an agenda, those with weddings, studies, volunteering, practices or business to attend to. This is you.
For some people traveling isn’t about aimlessly wandering the world, bouncing from tourist site to tourist site — they hit the road with a mission. It gives them purpose and a sense of responsibility to themselves to pull it off.
Of course, as an individual, this can mean any number of things — maybe your life’s dream is to climb K2 or to take a perfect honeymoon including a resort in the Maldives and visit to the Eiffel Tower.
Or, maybe you have a meeting in Shanghai on Monday and a meeting in Bangalore on Thursday. Perhaps you’re on a wedding tour, paying respect to friends in Phuket and family in Rome, or maybe you just got accepted to study at an ashram in India.
Whatever your “must do”, it can form the linchpin of your trip and something to build the rest of your journey around.
You have a plan to get to international destinations and it gives you a reason to be there, all the while engaging with the world and the best of its culture.
Immersing yourself in local culture
Getting in touch with a place takes a little time. You’re the type of traveler that likes to move slowly, to connect with locals in ways you wouldn’t normally do on a traveling whirlwind.
The Peace Corps is not the only way to immerse yourself in cultures around the world, although it’s certainly one way. Some people want to stay in a place over a long period of time to experience what daily life is like.
A great way to stop, recharge the batteries and get in touch with a local way of life is to rent yourself an apartment in a city of your choice. It slows you down and allows you to connect with a city from a local’s perspective, as opposed to the frenetic life of the tourist, seeing as much as you can every day.
Perhaps get a job, do the “Metro, Work, Bed” for awhile to see how the other half do it.
Teaching English is a popular and easy method if you have the birthright of the English language on your tongue.
You use the time of your travels for the greater good.
As countries around the world develop faster and faster, and as we as a global community start to see our impact on our environment, we feel that integrating some aspect of responsible travel is essential to your world journey.
Lonely Planet defines responsible travel as:
“Minimizing your impact and maximizing your connection with people and the environment. It’s about making a positive contribution and having the most rewarding and inspiring travel experiences of your life.”
Our ground partner Global Basecamps offers sustainable tours, treks and accommodations all over the world. Many volunteer organizations also offer conservation projects such as tagging sea turtles, beach cleanups and cultural preservation efforts.
Independent travelers, the majority of AirTreks’ clients, have a vital role to play in fostering a universal attitude of respect by helping to support local cultures in maintaining the world’s pristine environments.
If you want to immerse yourself in local culture on a smaller scale, there are other ways you can do so. Edward Hasbrouck recommends visiting a local English school and volunteering to be a conversation practice partner for the day.
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