“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Augustine of Hippo
Are you eager to travel abroad independently, but overwhelmed by the encyclopedia of possibilities? You need to know more than what is possible; you need a plan. And you would prefer to know in advance precisely what you will be doing, and how, for a number of reasons. First you may want to know what your trip will be like so that you can look forward to it–anticipation is always a large part of the enjoyment. Also you want to know exactly how much your trip will cost, and what trade-offs and choices you will need to make to get the most out of your travel budget.
The Kind of Travel You Don’t Want
But, although you need and want to have a plan, you may have outgrown constrained and scripted bus tour travel, or you may never have liked it in the first place. You may have been abroad before, but on a group tour that ended up in a disappointing blur by the time it was over. Or perhaps you opted to strike out on your own, but became frustrated that you were missing out for lack of a clear idea of what you were doing.
These less than optimum experiences even may have discouraged you from future traveling. Still, at some point, you may hope to discover a different style of travel that is more immersive and engaging. Even though you know what type of travel does not meet your expectations and ideals, the vision and possibility of what travel can be may still intrigue you.
What Makes for a Trip That is Unforgettable?
For a trip to be unforgettable, first and foremost it is essential that you travel independently, but with a well-designed trip plan, preferably one that has been personally carried out and perfected by actual experienced travelers who can point your way. Second you need the freedom to adapt the trip plan to your likings, your schedule, your physical stamina, your special interests.
Third, it is key that your movements from place to place be manageable and comfortable. In France, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe, this means traveling by train. In the USA and Canada, you will need the right mix of cars, trains, trams, trolleys and boats to keep your trip relaxing and fun. Fourth, you will need to have enough time in each place to actually “be there” and make yourself at home-to locate your favorite bakery, outdoor market, wine shop, cheese shop, deli and cafés.
Fifth, your trip will be made more unforgettable when you connect with the locals and experience their country, city or village through their eyes. Sixth, you will benefit from some pre-planning about how to balance your budget, alternating between splurges and economies (like picnics, which can be delightful in themselves). And seventh, your memories will be preserved even longer when you bring home treasures that will call to mind your experiences and encounters every time you use them or look at them.
Silent Guides to Support Your Travels
Join us on a series of remarkable and memorable 2-week Great Trips (with 1-week versions also available) to France, to Italy, elsewhere in Europe, and in the USA and Canada. Your trips will be rich in experiences you will remember forever… experiences that will have an impact on you and your approach to life. Each of these will be a “trip of a lifetime.”
History to walk around in. Phenomenal food. Parks and cafés. People-watching opportunities. Eating outdoors, with views of cathedrals, or rivers, or châteaux, or the tides coming in. Villages and old towns, some walled, some tiny, some medieval, some situated within a larger city, some perched on hilltops. Children in the squares, laughing as they ride the town Merry-go-Round. Fountains and gardens, with benches for pausing. Outdoor markets. Charming shops. Unexpected encounters. Vivid memories.
With a Great Trip book as your guide-on-the-side and companion, prepare yourself for a new experience in international travel, with no “get back to the bus”! You will not be traveling in a group. But you will not be alone out there on your own either. And so the quality of your experience will significantly surpass that of any group or ad hoc trip you’ve taken in the past.
You will know exactly what to do, why you want to do it, and how to do it, every step of the way. As you read a Great Trip book, you will begin to envision your trip in vivid detail and anticipate being there. You will be guided through the process of making the optimum arrangements without breaking the bank, then preparing yourself well for a successful journey, with clear information about needs you will encounter during your trip and options to address those needs.
Then you will be ready to embark on a kind of travel that will immerse and absorb you so completely, you will return home already planning where you want to travel next. You will feel well-prepared, well-guided, safe, confident, empowered and inspired to set off on your own travel odyssey.
Carolee Duckworth is an avid traveler, an experienced trip designer, and co-author of the book “Your Great Trip to France: Loire Chateaux, Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy & Paris,” now available on Amazon. Please join our “Great Trip Travel Insider” network at www.YourGreatTrip.com to be notified when each new trip in the Great Trip series is available, and to receive updated travel tips, discounts, and the free booklet “How to Pack Like a Pro.”