5 Star hotels in Rome … World Class chefs in Paris … Exclusive shopping sprees in London…
There is alot to be said about “Luxury Travel” .. Of course there is. 10,000 articles in magazines, blogs, and internet posts a month tell you where to find the most luxurious hotel, the most decadent spa, or that exclusive island get-away filled with pampering and a fulfillment of all your desires.. All inclusive resorts that include a relaxing massage at the end of the day.. romantic dinners on your private balcony .. or maybe, even, a private driver to show you the sights.. Luxury .. It is possible, especially if you bring an extra suitcase full of money..
Then there is the other side of the coin.. the far end of the spectrum.. “Budget Travel” .. A vision of hostels, 1 star (or less) accommodations, eating out includes a restaurant on wheels and a, quite possibly, some kind of “food on a stick”. No frills here.. just a place to sleep, a shared bathroom and trying to vacation on 15 bucks a day.. It can be done..and if you follow all the online advice, use some common sense, and are prepared, it can be done quite easily and with a reasonable degree of comfort, if not privacy.
But what about the people like me? The “In-Betweeners … The people who love to travel and want to be comfortable. Affordably comfortable.. We aren’t afraid or unable to pay for the extra couple stars.. an occasional taxi ride or eat out at a nice restaurant.
In my mind, there are basically three types of In-Betweener:
1. The Budgeter – This guy has EVERYTHING planned and paid for before he
leaves on trip. The plane tickets, the hotel, the transfers, the tours and,
quite possibly, meals.. He has travelers checks in the exact amount
he is allowed to spend.. Restaurants, tourist attractions, taxi rides,even,
souvenirs have all been included in the budget. Nothing is left to chance. This is
both good and bad.. good because it alleviates a lot of petty worries but bad,
because we all know, that the unexpected has been known to enter the vacation world..
2. The No Planner – With this type of traveler we reach the other end of the scale. Other than transportation, nothing is planned.. All out, fly by the seat of your pants adventure. You have seen them.. they are the ones asking the taxi driver to take them to a reasonable hotel.. They don’t have a reservation but hope for the best.. They are at the front desk asking “So..what’s there to do in this town?” They experiment ..they follow whatever path takes them. They are there for the experience..and that works until the credit cards are maxed ..or they run out of cash.. But they will cross that bridge when they get to it.
3. The True Betweener – This is where I am.. the true In-Betweener..Hotel reservations at a 3 or 4 star hotel.. breakfast included, of course. Airport transfers taken care of in advance … and maybe a pre-booked Hop-on/Hop-off bus tour to visit the “must see” sights. No real plan after that.. we know what we want to do..we know how much we want to spend.. but if we do a little more or less…or spend a little more or less, that’s ok.. It’s a vacation, not boot camp. We want our comfort. We want our privacy. We want time to enjoy and relax without breaking the bank. We are looking to experience the local life and indulge ourselves in local fare and celebrations. But while we may eat at a pizza slice off a food truck, we are also not adverse to a Michelin fine dining experience. We do a little research, we make a few plans.. but we also just explore and enjoy.
Which type are you?