Counterintuitive tips on how to have a great trip

Travel Forums General Talk Counterintuitive tips on how to have a great trip

1. Posted by Peter (Admin 7237 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I came across this interesting WSJ article today on "how to have a great vacation"

I say interesting, because a lot of the advice is not really what you would expect.

For example (I'm paraphrasing):

1. Limit your choices - people who don't know all the options often are happier if whatever option they chose doesn't live up to expectations. If you know more options for things you could be doing, you end up feeling like you may have missed something better. Ignorance is bliss I guess.
2. Do less of the things you love - Repeating anything, even the most enjoyable things, often ends up leaving you not enjoying that thing. If you just like lazying around on the beach all the day, then the suggestion is to mix that up with some other things. Otherwise you'll just end up worn out doing that one thing so much.
3. Do some things you think you'll hate - It seems the logic here is that it will just make everything else seem more fun. Which is a bit odd, but I think there's also a chance that the thing you think you'll hate may just turn out to be an unexpected delight.

Any other tips you have on ensuring your travels are as enjoyable as possible? Last thing we want is to head away for a break, only to come back even more exhausted than when we left.

2. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2959 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Those don't immediately sound like good ideas to me.

Limiting your choices - for me the worse disappointment is missing something I would love to have seen (quite often my idea of must-see is not mainstream) because of not having done enough research. I'm fortunate enough to have a terrible memory, so months later when I'm actually doing the trip I'm not going to recall what the alternatives are that I'm missing out on.

I think 2 and 3 are sides of the same coin, and are about discovering what you like. I'm long enough in the tooth to know that I love seeing landscapes and get bored quickly with cultural dance shows. Shaking things up at this stage in my life would not give a good result. :) But starting out travelling, yes try everything, even the things you don't expect to like.

As I get older, I'm learning to adjust the pace a little, and some trips are deliberately low-key. On a recent week in Scotland we'd planned options to fill each day, but went at a slower pace, largely due to weather, maybe did a third of the planned options, but still had a great time. Similarly, my next trip is to the Isle of Man, an island I've been to about six times over the years. Previously we've taken a car and explored the island's walking options from end to end; this time we're doing it cheaper as foot passengers on the ferry, meaning we're relying on buses whilst on the island. This is fine for reaching tourist spots but not so good for getting to the more remote start points of walks, so we're reducing our aspirations a bit. We're staying in two centres - four nights in Port Erin in the South of the island, to use as a base for three walks from our door, then four nights in Douglas with a plan to take a bus each day to a different village for a walk from there. And with the key logistical advantage that we're walkable to the ferry on our morning of departure, not reliant on the first bus of the day turning up on time.

[ Edit: Edited on 30 May 2024, 07:46 GMT by AndyF ]

3. Posted by BeateR (Full Member 299 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

This WSJ article seems to was written by a very joung people. And for this age maybe it is the right recommendation. We, my husband and me, did about the same as we startet travelling, about 50 years ago. We tried everything, only to see what we are interested in. And during all the years of travelling it went more and more clearer, what we like and what not. So after a few years we skipped visiting Museo or culturell dance-shows or old churches, a.s.o. We stayed more and more in the nature, hiked, camped. And the older we get the more we avoid big cities. And we are not lying on th beach longer than half an hour.
So I think everybody has to find her/his own way of travelling. And if you want to drowse your days on a beach and this is the perfect holiday for you, why shouldn't you do it? Its everybodies own decision, it is everbodies own and only live.

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6. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1627 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Key quote from the WSJ article: " In general, research shows that satisficers are happier in life because they avoid the problem of choice overload."

In other words, it's best not to overplan a trip. Set a basic itinerary, then prioritize the few things you really must see and experience. Leave the rest for discovery as you travel. It's an adventure.

7. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 2623 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I don't agree with the idea that this was written by someone young.

I don't think they mean not to explore the possibilities. I make a list of the things I really want to do/see and a list of secondary things that would be nice. And if I can't do something for some reason (like the thing isn't open on the only day we are there), then I have an alternate idea or two. And I try to group the things I want to do with other things that are nearby that would be nice. So I am limiting what I intend to do or try to do and not trying to do everything because I know I will not have the energy to do everything. Which also means there is something for me to do next time I come.

I am lucky I think in that I love to take photos and I love to take photos of a lot of different things. I like museums and architeure and I also like natural things like mountains and meadows.

The only thing I would say was written by someone young was to do stuff that you hate. I'm too old to waste time with stuff I know I won't like. I do hate lying on the beach (all sweaty and sandy). I love the water, but not sitting looking at it. Unless I'm on a boat.

So the planning is where you discard some of the options. But it is wise not to be too focused on your plans or you may miss smelling the flowers.

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