15 types of trips you need take
When I get asked for travel advice from family and friends, rather than telling people where they should go, I ask them what type of trip they really want to take. Instead of just focusing on the where, I like to also think of the why and the with who.
I believe it's important to plan your travel thoughtfully. Instead of just using your two weeks to fly to a resort where your friends have recently gone, or to a place you saw in a magazine - consider what are you wanting to achieve over your lifetime of vacation days. There are all different types of trips to take, so here are ideas that will lead to you being a more well-rounded traveler and provide some experiences you may never have thought about having.
An American Road Trip
Everyone need to experience driving down Route 66 on a sunny day with the windows down and the radio blasting! America is such an enormous and stunning country, you might not realize just how much it has to offer until you take your first cross-country road trip. I spent two months driving from the east coast to west and back with my hubby right after we got engaged. (Spending all day together in a Honda Civic for 8 weeks is a GREAT way to make sure you like each other enough to get married!) The best thing about a road trip is you are in complete control of where you go, what you see, and how long you stay - it’s a true nomad vacation. Plan a general direction of travel, but then see where the wind takes you everyday. If you’re looking for a place to start - my personal favorite was the American West, where you can stop and visit several of the National Parks. All you need for this trip is tank of gas, a map, and a sense of adventure.
A Solo Trip
You need to travel alone at least once in your life. There is nothing more empowering and important then taking a trip with the person you know best in the world - you. There are a lot of places that are perfect for a party of one. I personally love being in a European city alone. There is so much to see and do that you’re never just sitting around, and no one is there to judge you for eating three cones of gelato in one day! You will learn so much about yourself on a solo vacation, and enjoy every selfish minute of it. Even if it’s just for a weekend - be bold and book a ticket to the place you’ve always wanted to see.
A Bananas, BFF Trip
Everyone needs a super fun, kind of ridiculous, memory-making trip with their best friends. Like the Hangover - only lets not loose anyone. Maybe it’s your bachelor/bachelorette party, or a holiday weekend off work, or your a milestone birthday celebration. Or maybe it’s just because it’s miserable and snowy in February and you need to get away! This kind of trip is the more the merrier - rent a big house on air B&B, a fabulous villa, or hotel suite and party like it’s 1999. This type of trip is all about fun with your favorite people and something you'll remember forever.
Combining travel with learning is rewarding on so many levels! You get to learn about a destination, about yourself, and whatever you’ve come to accomplish. Imagine coming back from holiday with more to show than photos. Whatever you’re interested in - or want to make a hobby - consider a retreat. You could learn to surf in Costa Rica with Surf Safari, become yoga-certified in India, or become at pro at website development in Bali with the Institute of Code. Whatever your interest is - there is probably a retreat for you just a Google search away.
An Adventure Trip
Vacation doesn’t always have to be about R&R. Take one trip in your life where you’re on a mission for adventure! This trip is about having a true experience doing or seeing something you have never done before! I promise you won’t regret getting a little dirty and doing something thrilling. Go on a walkabout, hike through Peru, take a safari, walk the PCT a la Cheryl Strayed ! The point is to get out in the wild and do something wild. It will probably challenge you, and definitely will change you.
A Backpacking Trip
It’s a right of passage, best done when you’re young, fearless, and don’t mind sleeping in hostels. If you're European, this is probably your gap year. If you're American, try to do this before or during college. There’s so much to learn about the world, and about yourself from a trip like this, that you should do it as early as you can. You don't need a big budget - this types of trip means hostels, rail passes, and cheap eats. When backpacking you should have a general idea of where you want to go, but not a rigid schedule. You're going to meet people and learn things along the way, so you'll want the freedom to decide last minute where you're heading next. If you don't have the time for a long trip, consider something short like backpacking the Norway in a Nutshell Route.
A Heritage Trip
I didn’t realize how much visiting Holland would mean to me until I arrived in Amsterdam among a sea of other tall, blond, bicyclers who loved giant pancakes. I remember looking around and thinking “these are my people!” I also didn’t expect dinner in Hungry to bring me to tears, but when I had a dish of chicken paprikash that tasted like I was back at my grandmother’s house, the tears came! Visiting the land of your ancestors will bring out emotions in you that you didn’t realize were there, and really gives you a sense of understanding of your family history. If you haven’t already - do a little family tree research before your trip to make it extra meaningful. Take this trip to see, experience, and also to learn.
An All Out Luxury Trip
Five star, all out fancy, no expense spared. Everyone needs a trip like this once in their life; because having a personal butler is kind of amazing. Do it for your honeymoon, or another life milestone where you just want to treat yo’self. This is time to upgrade your plane ticket to first class, or book one those dreamy, over-water bungalows. If this is going to require years of saving up - then make sure you do your research before you pick your destination. You don’t need to break the bank to travel in first-class style. There are so many in the world where a 5 or even 6 star hotel is under $300/night and your money goes far for food, shopping, and extras like a day at the spa! For starters - check India, Southeast Asia, and South America for luxury on a budget.
Take a vacation in your own town! In your busy day-to-day how often do you get to actually enjoy the place you live? Sometimes plane tickets or long drives just aren’t the cards - and when that’s the case don’t underestimate the value of a staycation. Take the weekend and truly pretend like you’re on vacation - that means no cooking, responsibilities, or obligations. Book a hotel or B&B, make reservations at that restaurant you’ve been wanting to try for ages, and spend the day finally visiting the art museum or even a tourist attraction that sounds cool. The trick to a successful staycation is to really get away from your day-to-day routine!
On A Boat!
Whether you take a sailing trip, an overnight river rafting expedition, join a yacht week, or book an all-inclusive cruise, seeing a place by boat is a different type of trip than by land, and will give you a different perspective of where you are. Your boat is like a moving hotel room, which makes seeing a lot of places in a short time easy. It also eliminates all buses, trains, and taxis from your holiday. Traveling this way is a welcome change to those of us who are used to unpacking and repacking every few days while on a trip! Some places, like French Polynesia, or the fjords in Norway, are extra special to explore by boat - so plan wisely!
A Volunteer Trip
Take one trip where you give back to this beautiful world! There are endless possibilities for where to travel to how to volunteer your time and skills. There’s no right or wrong way to do this - you can go for a weekend or for months and volunteer at orphanages or planting mangroves or help building houses or a number of things for every skill-set. The experience of actually giving your time and energy and getting involved in the place you are will be best the souvenir of all your travels.
A Romantic Getaway
Sometimes, you and bae need some unplugged together time. I'm talking bubbles baths and champagne and no agenda other than cozying up in white, fluffy robes. It's hard to do at home - so for this escape, pick somewhere remote, like a beautiful island or a charming B&B in New England, and splurge on a nice hotel room. Book a fantastic dinner spot or something cool you can do together - like a cooking class or a hot air balloon ride. The key to this trip is not to plan anything too complicated or exhausting. This is not a honeymoon - this is just a few days uninterrupted days away to Netflix and chill.
A Disney Trip
I don't care how cynical you are, or if you've never seen a single Disney movie in your life - Disneyland is magic, and everyone needs to go there. Most people go either as a kid, and/or wait until they have kids and take them. But I suggest leaving the family at home, and going as a couple or with a small group of friends to really experience the magic without strollers, crying toddlers, and queues for character autographs. I've been to every Disney park in the world, and they are all incredible, unique and worth a visit. Even if it's just a day-trip! You'll be surprised to find just how much caters to adults. Some of my favorite parks that are more adult-themed are Tokyo's Disney Sea, Disney World's Epcot, and Disneyland's California Great Adventure Park. Grab some mouse ears, and get ready to experience the happiest place on Earth.
An Epic Beach Trip
Crystal clear water, soft white sand, giant palm trees, and sunny skies. Everyone needs to experience an epic beach trip, but I mean an EPIC beach. I never met a stretch of sand I didn't like - but there are some places that are completely other-wordly, and that you need to see because it will WOW you. Think Shipwreck Beach in Zakynthos, Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, Rangiroa in French Polynesia. This trip is about relaxing, reading, and getting ridiculously tan. All you need to pack is your swimsuit collection, SPF, and sunglasses. At Gili Lankafushi in the Maldives you actually aren't allowed to wear shoes! If you're the kind of person who can't just lie in a lounger doing nothing for a week - then tack on a stunning beach to the end of an adventure trip - like visiting the Seychelles after an African safari!
Off The Beaten Path
Once in your life, instead of going to Italy for the seventh time, go somewhere a bit unusual. A trip a little off the beaten path will surprise you in so many ways! You might be the only American around. You might be the only tourist around! You'll find food is more authentic, people are less westernized, places are less built up, and prices are more reasonable. On a trip like this, you really have a chance to dive into the culture and experience a place as a traveler, not a tourist. Be prepared for backlash from your friends - I got a LOT of strange looks when I shared we were going to Rajasthan for our honeymoon. But don't let that scare you! If you need some ideas of where to go, top of my list are currently Papa New Guinea, Bhutan, Albania, & Chile.