Do you know what your travel personality is? Have you identified what you like and dislike when travelling? Everything sounds wonderful in the travel brochures, or in travel guides. And almost everyone you meet raves about the places they’ve been. So how do you sift between the hype and reality? And find a travel experience that suits you?

Flying over the Andes in South America in 2017

How much do you want to see when you travel? How busy do you want to be on your trip? Do you like scenery, wild places, stunning views? How about cities? Are you a museum and gallery person? Do you prefer history and high culture to rugged countryside? How do you choose to get around in a new place? Do you like walking? Being driven, or driving yourself? Maybe you prefer a cruise and don’t want to drive at all. How comfortable are you in crowds? Do you prefer luxurious accommodations or more modest self-catered cabins? Are you interested in research and planning your own itinerary, or would you rather someone do that for you?

Seriously, my friends, there are many, many variables that can make your dream trip a nightmare. It all comes down to knowing what your travel personality is. Or isn’t.

Hubby and I love to travel. And since we are deep into planning a trip for this fall, we’ve been talking a lot about what we want to do and see. And what we don’t. According to our travel personalities. So let’s dig into that shall we?

Strolling a beaver dam in 1985

We don’t mind roughing it, at least some of the time, when we travel. Hubby might still be keen on a month-long canoe trip in the wilderness, but I am not. I love being out in the bush. For five days. Five days is my limit. After five days, I need a cabin or a hotel room, a soft bed, a bathtub, and maybe a pedicure. After five days, I grow tired of woodsmoke, and bathing in the lake. I know. Hard to imagine, eh?

Looking at the photo below makes me laugh. That wilderness trip was part of our honeymoon in 1989. Five days on beautiful Booth Lake in Algonquin Park. For those of you not familiar with the name, Algonquin is a wilderness park a few hours away from us. No motorized vehicles allowed. You have to paddle, portage your packs and canoe, and then paddle some more to get anywhere. There are no picnic tables, no showers, no electricity. Just trees, pristine lakes, and lots of peace and quiet. Oh, and bears. I was scared to death of bears my first couple of trips. But as Hubby says, “The bears are always there. You just need to be mindful. And follow smart camping protocol.”

Hubby looks right at home doesn’t he? All tanned, sitting on a log drinking his coffee. While my face is sunburnt, my hair looks like a brillo pad, and I am covered in bug bites. The night we went skinny dipping after dark didn’t help with the bug bites. Ha.

On that trip the weather was beautiful, and warm, and the sun shone every day. We enjoyed our wine around the campfire. We slept soundly after our swim in our down sleeping bags. And I caught the biggest fish. But still, after five days I wanted to go home. So we did.

So you see, it’s important to know what you like and dislike on a trip. And how much of either you can take.

Honeymoon luxury. Algonquin Park, July 1989.

The first big overseas trip Hubby and I took together was to New Zealand and Australia in 2003. Hubby was retired and did all the planning with the help of a travel agent, and friends who had travelled there the year before. I worked until a week before we left, and then took a semester’s leave of absence from teaching. We travelled for three months. And we learned lots about our travel personalities. How we were the same and how we differed.

That first big trip taught us how far we want to travel in a day, and how many activities we can each handle without one of us getting cranky. Hubby can go for hours and hours without eating if he’s driving. But I can’t. Eventually I must be fed, or I get spacey, and dippy, and down-right annoying. Hubby gets impatient cooling his heels while I enthuse over some esoteric literary landmark. He’s learned to leave me to my own devices at such places. When we’re on the road for a number of weeks, I long for a shopping fix. So when we were in Melbourne in 2003, I happily shopped all day by myself while Hubby visited the Melbourne Aquarium, and went back to our accommodation for a nap. We met up late in the afternoon refreshed, and happily compared our respective exploits over drinks.

Somewhere between Cafayate and Cachi, Argentina, 2017

Another thing we learned is that we prefer to drive whenever we can. That way we can get off the main roads. Like on the two-day road trip we took outside of Salta, Argentina in 2017. We learned about this trip from friends who also love to drive. And it was absolutely worth a little white-knuckling when the road was slightly hairy.

You know, if we hadn’t persevered when the road, above, began to look particularly dodgy, we would have missed staying at the place below.

Finca El Carmen, Angastaco, Argentina

This kind of travel is not for everyone. Back roads may not be part of your travel personality. Hubby is a confident driver. And we’ve been on many dodgy, unpaved roads at home. In Ontario, in New Brunswick, in the Yukon, and once on a particularly harrowing dirt road into Telegraph Creek in British Columbia. But, for some, driving a road like the one between Cafayate and Cachi in northern Argentina would be outside their comfort zone. And that is no fun. So you need to know what you’re comfortable doing. And what you’re not.

Something else we learned on our first big trip down under in 2003 is we can’t always trust that someone else’s recommendation will suit us, even if that suggestion is from a professional. The agent who booked our flights, our cars, and a few tours for us also booked our first night’s stay when we arrived in New Zealand, in Tasmania, and in mainland Australia. Those were the hotels we liked the least of all the places we stayed.

Hiking in the Grampians in Australia 2003

The best places we stayed in were ones we found on our own, or through the local tourist information sites. The photo above is from our stay in the Grampian Mountains in a place called Hall’s Gap. The lady at the local information site found us a cottage for three nights, complete with full kitchen, barbeque, and washer and dryer. We still smile at the memory of the helpful lady at the i-site who mused to her colleague: “Isn’t Frank renting out his cabin this week? It would be perfect for this couple from Canada, wouldn’t it?” You can’t beat local knowledge. And, much to Hubby’s delight, the next morning, he saw a pair of boxing kangaroos facing off on the trail behind the cottage.

Through a suggestion from a German couple we met in the Cook Islands, we discovered the cabins in caravan parks which seem to be everywhere in Australia. We drank our Shiraz on our own porch, and met lots of people at the communal barbeque areas. Most of these cabins were clean and comfortable, and some were even quite swanky. One beautiful rustic cabin had a jacuzzi. That was roughing it and living in luxury at the same time. Ha.

We don’t wing it anymore with respect to accommodation like we did on that first trip. Now we find what we want on tourism or booking sites, and book before we leave home. But we still like to stay in unassuming places, cabins, cottages, apartments… with cooking facilities if possible. Not so much in the cities, but in small towns and villages, we prefer to cook for ourselves. And we like quirky. Or something with some character. And most of the time we eschew high-end establishments.

View from “our street” in Motovun, Croatia.

If I had to choose one accommodation which epitomizes what we love, I think it would be a little place in the hill town of Motovun, Croatia, where we stayed in 2019. A tiny house with spectacular views down into the valley, and four small rooms on three floors. The kitchen and bathroom were on the ground floor, which had traditionally been where the animals slept. Then up steep stairs was a sitting room, and up another set of stairs a tidy, charming bedroom.

We had our own little terrace. And even friendly neighbours. Each night, except one, we climbed up the steep stairs from the car park at the bottom, made our own dinner, and enjoyed it on our own terrace. One night we dined in a lovely restaurant at the top of the town. We lingered over our coffee, looking over the terrace at the lights winking on in the valley below. And by the time we toddled home the town was in complete darkness. Luckily a few lights from houses illuminated bits of the narrow streets. We couldn’t stop laughing as we clutched each other for balance, but, seriously folks, we’re lucky we didn’t break an ankle on the cobblestones.

We’ve learned over the years that people almost always highlight the virtues of a place they’ve visited. When we asked friends about this city or that in Italy when we were planning our trip there, we received only positive responses. But when we returned from our trip and mentioned the crowds, or some other not-so-positive thing, the same friends said that they’d had the same frustrations. So we learned that even friends are hesitant to say anything negative. And now we dig deeper with our questions. Because what some feel is a mere annoyance, might be a deal breaker for us. That doesn’t mean that information and recommendations from friends is not helpful. We’ve had great suggestions from friends for places to stay and things to do on trips we’ve taken. We’ve just learned that the best information comes from friends whose travel personality aligns with our own.

We’ve also come to realize in our travels that we are not really museum or gallery people. At least not traditional museums and galleries. I think Florence in 2018 taught us that important lesson. If we hadn’t listened to friends and acquaintances who said you must do this and that, if we’d trusted what we already deep down knew about ourselves, we’d have had a much better time in Florence.

When we visited Croatia the next year we’d learned our lesson. There were several museums and other cultural sights we did not see. In Split, in Cavtat, and in Dubrovnik. We visited all those cities and enjoyed them in our own way. And in Zagreb we had the best museum experiences we’ve had in years. I love folk art and chose the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art, which we both loved. And after reading what my friend Frances said on her blog about the Museum of Broken Relationships, I convinced Hubby we needed to go. He was skeptical, but ended up loving it. This place definitely appealed to our quirky-loving hearts. If you’re in Zagreb, consider stopping by this place. I won’t say you NEED to see it. Because of course what YOU need to see and do depends entirely on your travel personality, doesn’t it?

Loma del Pliegue, near El Chaltén, Argentina

If you hadn’t already guessed, Hubby and I prefer countryside and small towns to cities. Of course we recognize that there are certain cities which should be seen. We spent a few days in Buenos Aires when we first landed in Argentina. And it was indeed fascinating and beautiful. But it was Patagonia that fulfilled the dreams we’d had of Argentina.

In Patagonia we hiked and walked and took a boat ride to see a glacier. We rented a car and drove from El Calafate to El Chaltén. We stayed in hostel-style accommodations in both towns where we chatted to all and sundry, fellow guests and employees. The young people who worked in both places were lovely. Helpful, interesting, and interested in who we were and what we wanted to do while we were there. The scenery was breathtaking. And we had some of the best restaurant meals in all of Argentina. Hubby had long wanted to go to Patagonia. And I was so pleased for him that our trip there lived up to his dreams.

And, and… although we did lots of hiking and walking, we still had time in the afternoons for Hubby to nap and for me to have quality book and tea time. Part of my travel personality is to be busy, but not too busy. If you think that a quiet hour or two on a terrace or in front of a cosy fire, with a cup of tea and a book is time wasted, then you and I have very different travel personalities. And that’s okay. Just remember that, even if we’re friends, we probably wouldn’t make good travel companions.

Boat ride to see Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, 2017

So, Hubby and I are in the thick of making travel plans for October. We’re off to Portugal. Right now we’re reading, gathering information, deciding where we want to go, and drawing up a tentative itinerary. We had thought initially that we might go with a travel planning company that friends used last year. But we abandoned that plan. Turns out that we still prefer to chart our own course. But I’ll tell you all about that, and the plans we’re making on our own in a later post.

Tomorrow we’re packing up the truck and heading up the Ottawa Valley for our early summer camping trip. We’ve had a few glitches already. June has been a trying month glitch-wise, my friends. But I’ll tell you all about that when we get back.

Hubby has strapped the canoe on the top of the truck and hitched up the tent trailer. We’ll be away for five days.

Because even if I’m not doing the wilderness camping trips anymore. Even if don’t have to carry a pack, and we have electricity, and picnic tables, and showers. Even if I can bring as much wine as I want, and books, and marshmallows. Even if we can get the best butter tarts in the area just down the road from the campground… turns out that the five day limit still applies. Turns out I am a five-day camper. No matter what.

I guess a five day limit on camping is just an indelible part of my travel personality.

Do you know what your travel personality is, my friends? Are you a camper? Do you like the wilderness for a limited time, like me? Do you like the wide open spaces when you travel, no matter where you are? Or are you more of a gallery and city person? Or maybe you’re both.

P.S. I wrote a post back in 2019 before we planned our Balkan trip. All about establishing our travel priorities. You can read it here if you’re interested. I found it interesting that, as a result of establishing our priorities and sticking to them, the Balkan trip was one of our best trips ever. You can read some of my posts about that Balkan trip, specifically about our time in Croatia, here, here and here.

P.P.S. You may notice some cosmetic changes on the blog this week. I’ve had to update my “theme” or template. I paid someone to do it for me, and I’m not sure I like some of the elements of the new look. Hopefully I’ll be able to correct those bits soon. 🙂


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59 thoughts on “What’s Your Travel Personality?”

  1. I like to travel – period. I find joy in being in the great outdoors, experiencing the vibe of cities, and learning about different cultures and history. If I can combine any of these activities with good company (myself included) and food; some exercise (body, mind and/or soul); and if in a city, some people watching and window shopping, I am a very happy camper! And like you Sue, I want to be busy, but not too busy or over scheduled. In addition, I have discovered that one of the best parts of traveling is planning the trip!

    1. Good company, is good … but not when there’s too much of it. No joke. I’m not sure that Hubby and I could travel with a group except for a very limited time. We tend to like it to be just we two. Having said that we have been on severl two or three night tours with a small group of like-minded convivial people. That was so much fun. But we were always glad to get back out on our own again.

  2. I think you are right . We all have a travel personality & although our tastes might alter with time & age , our basic personality remains the same . Max & I mirror you & Stu to a great degree . We like countryside or small towns , independent travel & unpretentious accommodation . We like to come home feeling we have got to know a place & with some idea of what it is like to live there . It seems a shame to travel in a luxurious cocoon of five star hotels & limousines & miss the reality but each to their own . The back roads & lanes we loved would have been very crowded had we all had the same travel personality. We always planned our trips ourselves & didn’t use travel agents but I enjoyed all that & we were prepared to sleep in the car at a pinch , though we never actually did . These days sleeping in the car is a non starter , I don’t think I’d be able to move the next day ! Perhaps roughing it is better for the youngsters & more careful planning is a good idea now . I’m looking forward to hearing all about your trip . I loved Portugal & found the locals very friendly with a good sense of humour.

    1. Us too, Wendy. We like to come home feeling that we’ve been “at home” in a place and know it at least a little. Aside from the tourist spots.

  3. My husband and I were in Portugal (small town in the Algarve) last month. We stayed in a gorgeous beachfront air bnb that had a hot tub overlooking the town square. We rented e-bikes and rode all through the Algarve every day. Visited every beach we could squeeze in. The weather was hot, sunny and perfect. The food was always delicious. And the local beer Super Bock became our favourite drink. It was cheap and plentiful. The locals all spoke perfect English and were friendly and sweet. We would go back in a flash and would recommend this country to anyone who asked.

    1. Would you mind sharing the name of the accommodation in the Algarve? We’d love to try it next year if possible. Thanks!

      1. I wish I could. They no longer rent it out. We were one of the last people to rent it. It was in a small beach town called Carvoeiro.

  4. I like traveling. We tend to book hotels ahead because we have had some bad experiences when we just wing it. One of the worst hotels was in California. We drove down the coast back to San Fransisco and stayed at a “cute” little inn along the road. It looked so nice! In reality, the worse bed I have ever slept in! so beware, just because the outside looks good, does not mean you will be comfortable. When we went to Ireland booking ahead did make me regret we did not stay 2 nights in The Burren. This was my favorite place in Ireland and we only stopped for a few hours. I would have loved to have stayed longer. So, planning ahead can work both ways! I am older than you and at this age (70s) I like comfort! My husband likes to joke that “roughing it to Linda” means staying in a Ramada instead of a Hilton! lol. Enjoy your vacation!

    1. The outside of a place definitely does NOT guarantee a good experience. We once stayed in a cute (from the outside) Australian pub. Which we have since dubbed Hell Hole Hotel.

  5. Oh, I forgot to say that we never travel with other people! Never! we did it once and never again! Not only did I have to try to make my husband happy, I had to try to make the other couple happy! Did not work at all!

    1. I think I may agree about never traveling with other people. Our very favorite people had very different ideas about what to do in Italy, and my husband is one of those go till you drop travelers and wore them out almost immediately. I was mortified, but by then it was too late. (I’ve learned to insist on my tea-with-a-book hour with him and to occasionally drop out on one of his climb to the top of the mountain no matter what excursions, and it works for me. But I agreed in my vows to travel with him, and our friends did not. Now we go together, but without friends, and talk about our separate trips over dinner and wine later.)

  6. What a fascinating tale this morning Sue. I love to travel, but we hardly ever wing it anymore. We do have a bit of different likes and dislikes on a trip, so we try to work around each other as well. I like the idea of your day in Melbourne apart for a bit of a break. We are off to a river cruise in Portugal in the first week of November, and actually going with a few friends, so we will see how that goes. As my husband says, we are not joined at the hip, so we can be apart from the group, then exchange stories at supper. I have been looking up ideas for the 3 days in Lisbon and another couple in Porto when not on the river.
    I have heard wonderful things about the country for years, so may wish we had gone for a more laid back trip, but it is a start.
    As for the camping, I have changed my idea of a fun trip from a tent to a more comfortable trailer, and then as you say about your 5 days, I am only good for that or less, depending on the weather and bug situation. Not sure if the sight of me trying to get up out of a sleeping bag on the ground would be a fun experience for any of us. Old joints….
    Have fun planning your trip, and keep us informed.

    1. I think that one of the reasons we don’t want to go on a cruise is the idea of returning to the same accommodation and the same people every night. Although I am aware that is what many people love about them.

  7. This is a fun post, and I hope you have both a great camping trip and a trip abroad this fall!

    My travel personality is definitely “meanderer,” but so is my personality generally. I have never been keen on ticking off a list, although I love museums and galleries. I’ve been very privileged to have seen many places so far in my life, with a longstanding relationship with Italy having developed in the last fifteen years with my Italian partner, and the odd bit being that because of his location I’ve also been more focused than I otherwise would have been on one city.

    The first ten years of my professional life after my first degree involved living in four countries around the globe by myself for work, sometimes working out of small towns in places where I did not speak the language, and also included a detour with a boyfriend to be a backpacker on a working holiday in Australia (working on farms and in one very smelly seafood canning factory with refugees, adding more knowledge to shape my wold view). I later returned as an athlete trying to make the Sydney Olympics (unsuccessfully, but no regrets about running with the kangaroos at dawn in the Brindabellas or competing in ocean swims with shark boats!). I took many detours, shall we say, in my youth, and I’m grateful for that, because that shaped my relationship to myself in helpful and persistent ways, and taught me to look at life problems from angles I wasn’t raised to see. It also fed a willingness to develop a relationship with the places I visit. On the other hand, I have a friend who is the complete opposite of me. He first left the country (other than to the US) in his fifties. He now goes on highly planned and highly expensive trips as he is trying to fit all of the things he wants to do in. You would think that that would be anathema to me, but he has done many very interesting and once-in-a-lifetime things and I love hearing about these adventures and very specific experiences. I enjoy imagining what it would be like to maybe add a bit more planning to my approach (unlikely, but one can imagine!).

    I agree wholeheartedly about unpretentious and quirky accommodations and building in time to just be or to just be alone and not need to rush anywhere. I find that drawing also helps me to slow down. But that’s not for everyone and I respect that.

    I look forward to reading the comments from your readers and to reading more about your travels!

    1. You HAVE been around, Stephanie. I think if we returned to some of the places we’ve been for a longer period I’d be more amenable to visiting galleries and museums. They just are not at the top of my “must see” list when time is limited. Although I have read travel memoirs of Florence back in the twenties where people stayed in a guest house for a month and strolled each day to explore a new and different corner of the city. That does appeal to me. Except perhaps not for the food prepared by the very English landladies. 🙂

      1. Ha ha ha boiled mystery meat, anyone? (Although, to be honest, my southern Italian partner, even after forty-five years living in Florence, continues to feel that the fiorentini and the Tuscans generally don’t know anything about cooking or good food. I used to think he was exaggerating, but over the years I’ve come to understand why he feels that way.)

        1. Oh PS completely know what you mean about museums and galleries. I tend to pace myself with those and am happy to skip museums or exhibitions on a particular trip when I don’t feel I could enjoy them. I don’t particularly enjoy crowds and I find that I get the most out of galleries if I focus on one section at a time, or limit myself to 1-3 hours at a time. I completely understand your approach. And I love camping, but haven’t done it in a long time and so I don’t know if I could make it beyond five days either.

  8. My travel personality has definitely changed with the years. I’ve gone from tents to tent trailers to motor homes. Gone from a power boat, spending the day exploring and fishing, to a much bigger boat that we go cruising for three months at a time. Our days of hopping on a Harley with a spare pair of jeans and clean underwear, no reservations, and no definite destination, except head east or west, are over. We now love cruises. I like to unpack in my lovely room that becomes home for ten days to a couple of weeks. I like to dress at night and dine in the various restaurants. I like the organized tours but HATE the crowds. I like seeing several countries and a variety of things, museums being my least favourite.
    We book Airbnb when traveling within Canada, even when visiting family. It becomes our home away from home, a place to kick back, relax with a cup of tea and read a book, or take a nap. The quiet mornings are the thing I appreciate the most.
    Roughing it is not in our vocabulary anymore. I like a touch of luxury, my room cleaned every day, and food prepared for me.
    As to traveling with friends, a big yes, as long as we have the same type of trip in mind. But it is same way, same day kinda thing. You do you, we’ll do our thing. If the two mesh great. If not, see you at dinner.
    All our adventures have been wonderful! So many wonderful memories.

    1. I really like your suggesiton about same way, same day when traveling with friends. The problem arose in that our fellow travelers told us they’d like to come along with us, after hearing about our past trips and then found our pace a little (!) too tiring for them. Before taking any more trips together, I guess we’ll need to provide them with a warning that we may be a bit more manic in our trips.
      I admit my husband can “do it all,” and I enjoy pushing myself a little and then having a relaxing dinner in a nice restaurant at the end of the day, and a deep breath with a large glass of wine.

      1. We make it very clear that we are going to do our own thing and that you should do yours. If the two overlap, great. We only travel with very good friends of like mind. Those that would like to come along but are not a perfect fit we put off, delicately, of course. Our vacations are for our pleasure but you are welcome to come along.

    2. Those are the very things that turn us off cruises, Joanna. We like to stay in different places, and dressing up is an anathema to Hubby. So it’s good that we all know our own likes and dislikes. Mind you… the Harley thing would never have been me either. I’d be scared to death.

      1. We are very different in that aspect. My days of packing light and heading off on an adventure are over Fortunately, my husband feels the same way.
        We quite often cruise with our kids & their spouses (our dollar). It’s a great way to get some time together as a family, everyone with their own space, pick their own activities, and meet for drinks at the end of the day,
        We all have to do it our way. Some hate to travel, some like to do it slowly, on their own, in complete control over bookings, while others like to hand the reins over to a company. Whatever we do is an adventure, an experience, a new course. Enjoy your trips!

  9. What a fascinating post which has whetted my appetite for planning a big trip. I definitely have a travel personality but it’s more in my sub conscience. Fortunately it is similar to my husbands. I like to find out a lot about places beforehand so when I get there so I have information and possible plans on what to see, but will then go with the flow as you can never be sure what you will come across. Our last short trip was to stay in Dubrovnik which in then end turned out to be a mistake. A lovely place with stunning views but we like a bit more quirkiness and less bustle. So more awareness of my travel personality will be the key.
    I live in England and we have had 2 TV programmes this year which show different sides to countries. The first was Road to pilgrammage, set in Portugal, with a group of celebrities, annoying at times but showed an insight into a different side of Portugal. The other was Race the world 3rd series with pairs of people travelling Canada with NO phone or credit card and aiming to get to different destinations in Canada all with just the money it would cost to fly across country. Canada will be a trip we need to plan and acquire the driving skills to cope with a big vehicle ie a motor home. But the challenge will lie in the planning, so we can be amazed at what we come across.

    1. Travelling across Canada in a race would be interesting, I think. Such very long distances. We always laugh that the time we drove out to Saskatoon, Sask. we drove for three days and we were still in Ontario. Driving across the top of Lake Superior takes forever. 🙂

  10. Such an interesting and thoughtful post, Sue! Especially fun to find out that we both did outdoor honeymoons — we canoed Vancouver Island’s Nitinat Triangle, camping on a beautifully pristine lakeshore, no one but us, sandy beach — and no-see-ums that feasted on me while leaving the new husband alone. Besides the bugs, that trip included a portage where the height-scared bride had to carry her pack over a massive fallen tree that served as a slippery-surfaced bridge way UP across a chasm. Not so much my travel personality, truth be told, although I cherish the memory 😉
    Much more to my liking are trips similar to yours but with less driving, more trains, more galleries/museums . . . and more shopping (window-shopping, at least).
    I’ve been to Rome many times now because of family, but still haven’t toured the Vatican nor been inside the Colosseum. Scandalizing to many, I know, but so far they haven’t suited my Travel Personality and I’ve learned to “take under advisement” others’ recommendations of “must-see” sites.
    My son-in-law doesn’t “believe in” eating more than once in a restaurant if he’s visiting a new city for a few days — he wants to try as many places as he can. If we find a place we like, we happily go back and love building that recognition factor that makes us feel as if we have a tiny foothold in a new place. We both compromise when we’ve travelled together, and/but this seems a prime example to me, on a smaller scale, of Travel Personalities that differ — where there’s no judgement about which is right or wrong, and where it’s good to know which personality you are!

    1. I’d forgotten that your honeymoon was a wilderness one too. I’ve followed Stu down some rocky, root-y and steep portages before… but never clambered across a chasm on a log. We like to return to restaurants if we can as well. In Italy we did that a couple of times. And they always remembered us. That was so cool. Our favourite story about something similar was in Paris when Stu was recognized by the guy at the vegetable stall near our flat. If he saw us that week, he’d yell, “Hello Canada.” P.S. The Vatican was one of our least favourite parts of Rome. So crowded.

  11. I think I am an ‘all over’ traveller. Sometimes I want to see all the sights and be a tourist..other times, I want off the path and discover my own. I love Europe and all the museums, churches & history. Then again, get me out of the cities and let me wander an old cobblestone street in an old town or village. I like looking at old doorways and have lots of pictures. I spent a month in Portugal this past winter. Rented an apartment and went to the big cities…but my favourite days were when we discovered the little towns, a restaurant that set up a tables on a side street, a mountain hike with a dirt path weaving through cork trees and having to cross the stream. The best days had little discoveries with no plan in mind…sigh…
    Heading back to Europe next week on a river cruise. Going south down the Danube to see snippets of Hungry, Croatia, & Romania. We will be the tourist since there will be limited time to wander on our own. And that’s OK. My son and his wife live in Asia. Planning a trip to Asia in January to meet up with them. What will we do and see? Not sure but we’ll do it together. Enjoy…

  12. Such a great topic, Sue! Camping is in the rearview mirror at this point in my life, but I’m also not a fancy hotel person. If we’re going to be more than a day or two in any one place, we like to rent an apartment, rather than book a hotel. This is not because we’re staying “home” and cooking – one of our great pleasures when we travel is discovering the food of our given destination, so we have fun sorting through the “best of” and “hidden gems,” and eating our way through a city or region. We’ll often build our travel around a play, a museum exhibit or some other event – in fact, we’re off to Dublin tomorrow for a few days, and will see Siobhan McSweeney in Beckett’s Happy Days, which was our excuse for making the trip. England last month was to see one of our favorite bands, the same band that had us on a Danube cruise last summer (and will have us in Ibiza next Spring!). We love to travel by train when possible – so much more relaxing than flying, and we generally wind up in the city center of where we’re going, rather than the outskirts. Since we’ve been here in Portugal, we’ve taken several trips with friends and rented a house, and combine evenings going out with evenings staying in, which makes for a great balance.

    Like you, we are at a point in our lives where we pretty much know our travel personalities, and make a point of listening to our inner voices, rather than trying to tick off the must-sees of the guidebooks or of well-meaning friends.

    I hope your camping trip is fabulous!

    1. We are loath to give up camping altogether. But this trip is the tester to determine if we are done with the tent trailer. I guess we’ll see. It must be great to be so conveniently placed to take short hops of a week or so. We’d love to be able to do that. But travel from here is such a big deal we always make our trips long and less frequent.

  13. Dear Sue, How did you know! Sitting in a casino in Deadwood, South Dakota while hubby trys his hand at gambling. We traveled up to visit eldest daughter and her family while her husband teaches at the college for the summer. We are staying in a hotel, as the daughter’s airBnB has stairs. We have camped for years, tents, campers and pull trailers. Now days we still love to drive far, but need comfort for the night. Happy travels all.

    1. We have never visited South Dakota. Or either Dakota. I’d love to take a long trip out west on both sides of the border. Maybe one day.

  14. Well, I think I can safely say, the “roughing it” route is not for me. We have spent many a Canadian winter in an RV in Florida, the only amenity missing was a dishwasher.

    We do enjoy a three or four week stay in Spain or Portugal. Late Spring is our favourite time, and we often stay within a short commute to a city, such as Malaga. Most hotels have apartment like conveniences and all the services of a hotel. We book trips to sites of interest (Gibraltar, Tangier etc) but do a lot of just “living” locally. We always use public transit or walk, really getting to know the area.

    Another vacation that is currently on the back burner is a cruise, the Mediterranean and Adriatic being our favourites. It’s a different vibe but so easy.

    I must add, we have never had a bad trip. I think we are not fussy or don’t have any expectations. Even a week of rain in Spain didn’t deter us. We just got wet.

    We’ve lost some precious travel years due to Covid, and I’m sure many feel somewhat robbed as we do. So it’s time to get moving again.

    I really enjoyed reading about your travel adventures, and wish you many more. I’m looking forward to hearing about your trip to Portugal.

    1. Rain does not deter us either. We walked around much of Ireland in our Gortez pants and jackets one summer. And our kindly landladies always had a turf fire and a hot cup of tea ready for us.

  15. Now I’ve got to let my husband read this post and see there are all these different ways to enjoy a trip. The best things to me about a trip are finding that place to have my daily coffee and watch the world go by, visiting places where the locals go, and I would like to try visiting the same restaurant a few times on just one trip. My husband always finds us somewhere to hear some music on a trip if possible. Thank you immeasurably for this post!

  16. Though I can camp for many more than five days (no longer wilderness, but with the luxury of our very small but comfortable trailer) our travel personality is much like yours. Though we took a very enjoyable and educational small group tour to Israel, I am usually our travel planner. We do enjoy cities and famous sites, but we also love exploring out of the way places and learning about life in different places. Even in cities, we usually choose small guesthouses. No four and five star hotels for us. Looking forward to hearing all about Portugal. A couple of days in Lisbon a few years ago gave us a tiny taste of a country that I’d love to see more of.

  17. We are from Iowa and are interested in traveling to Quebec City, Toronto, and/or Montreal. Do any of you have suggestions for us concerning any/all of these? Note: we are not “high end” vacationers yet are not hostel voyagers either.

    1. Ah… I am so sorry, Linda. I never did get back to you about your trip to Canada. So sorry about that. Life got in the way, I guess.
      As to your questions, Stu and I have never travelled to Toronto together, except for an overnight stay before we hopped on the sleeper train for Alberta. A wonderful experience, I must say. We dined in the dining car and slept in berths, just like in the movies. 🙂 Also we’ve never been tourists in Montreal. I travel there for shopping but usually stay right downtown near my favourite shopping destinations, in a very standard hotel. If I were travelling to Montreal for a non-shopping experience, I think I’d look in Old Montreal for accommodation. Lots of interesting building and cultural experiences in both cities, but I am the wrong person to ask.
      Now Quebec City is another matter. We’ve stopped there several times enroute to the Maritimes or to the Charlevoix region and the Saguenay. If you are planning to stay in Quebec City when you are in that part of the province, I’d recommend staying within the walls of the old city. We’ve always done that. The inns and guesthouse are quirky and quaint and less expensive than many of the luxury accommodations found outside the walls. Park your car and leave it for the duration of your stay. Quebec city is good for walking, and strolling after dinner, or whenever. We always love it. Lots of Canadian history here.
      If you have more time drive up the Saint Lawrence along Highway 40, through the Charlevoix area. Baie-Saint-Paul is a lovely small town that has become quite an artists’ community. And further up the river Tadoussac, at the mouth of the Saguenay River is interesting and historic. You can take a boat ride up the Saguenay River to the fjord and stop at L’Anse-Saint-Jean. We stayed at L’Anse-Saint-Jean for a week for years and always found it to our taste. Tiny, scenic, and with a few lovely little restaurants and wonderful old historic houses. We always drove to L’Anse-Saint-Jean, and then when we were leaving took the ferry across the Saint Lawrence from Saint Simeon to Rivière-du-Loup, and carried on east. We love travel in Quebec. There are many more areas that are lovely outside the big cities. But then again I’m biased. Big cities are not really my thing when travelling.
      I’m sure that others on here will have other recommendations too. Good luck with your planning.

  18. With the cost of living and the astronomical cost of travel these days many of us can only explore our local environs.
    The travel you all do here is an extreme privilege out of reach for many.
    I say this because I think people in a certain income bracket and social circle think everyone jets all over the world. Far from it.

    1. I hear you, Dee. There are not many of us in my extended family who have the money and time to travel. It is expensive. But it doesn’t have to be beyond the reach of those on modest incomes. As retired teachers my husband and I are not rich. But we saved over the years so we would be able to do what we have done. Having said that I agree it’s a privilege to be able to travel. And we should never take that privilege for granted.

    2. Dee, I hope you don’t mind me adding a comment here (and Sue, you too!). I can appreciate your perspective. Growing up, I never travelled, as we did not have the money. I was able to travel widely in my twenties and beyond because of the work I chose, which continues to permit me to do that (and somewhat necessitates it, actually). What I wanted to add though is that although travel can be exciting, at this point in my life I would say I enjoy travelling around my home environment and doing completely free things in my own community just as much as I have ever enjoyed travelling abroad. There’s so much beauty all around us and so much that having a sense of wonder can do, wherever you are. I know it can be tough when it is difficult to make ends meet in an inflationary and unstable economic environment, and when one sees others doing big trips, but I do think that expensive or distant travel is often greatly overrated. Exploring your own backyard is a lovely thing. All that said, I agree that it’s important for those of us who do travel abroad to appreciate our privilege.

  19. My husband and I started our married life on a 3-week long camping trip starting in Southern California and crossing into Canada for the beautiful Banff and Lake Louise area. On our twenty-fifth anniversary, we spent a month in Europe, meeting up with our two young adult sons who were backpacking for three months. Their accommodations became more comfortable once the parental units joined their travels! We used tips from the Rick Steve’s travel guides and had a trip of a lifetime in quaint spots and delicious mom n’ pop establishments. Our yearly family trips are to the Eastern Sierras for trout fishing. Sometimes camping and sometimes renting a condo. The grandchildren have inherited their Papa’s love of fishing and the beautiful Sierras.
    Now, in my new season as a widow, I have booked my first tour. I’m headed to Israel with friends from church. This will be next year during my seventy-fifth birthday. I agree with another commenter that planning is a lot of the fun…and so is getting fit for all the walking!
    Wondering, Sue, if you might do a post on your traveling clothes? Could you share tips for quick-drying fabrics, shoes, layering, etc. Or perhaps refer us to some resources? Perhaps your readers could chime in? It’s been a while since I’ve packed light and set my sights out of the USA.
    Thank you for this post and creating even more anticipation for more travels in my future.

    1. I usually do a packing post before we travel. Planning outfits and packing as lightly as possible. I’ll probably do that in September. But I may do a shopping for the trip post before that. I so so hope your upcoming trip is wonderful, Charlene. It will be bittersweet, I’m sure. 😊

  20. My travel personality is definitely non camping. As rough as it gets is our PEI cottage and it’s pretty swank for a cottage. My husband is a planner and he likes to know where his head will rest at night so he prefers to book ahead. I like to stay in one place as in Air B&B and do our own cooking or take out and do day trips. It’s nice to have the option in the evening of going out or staying in. The days of driving for hours on end are definitely over. We are thinking of going to Portugal in a year or two, perhaps staying for a month during the winter. A lot of our Canadian friends are choosing it over Florida these days.
    For the lady looking to travel to Quebec City I would not stay in the walled city. It’s far too $$. Quartiers like St-Roch offer fantastic restos and less expensive but still lovely accommodations. It’s still easy to access the old city on foot. As well in Montréal or Québec City take a food tour! We loved ours in Québec City( bilingual but can be done all in English and probably other languages) the guides are lovely and knowledgeable. Be prepared to walk! Second Baie St-Paul, it’s so beautiful there and lots of good restaurants. I wish more anglophone Canadians would travel in Québec, there really is so much to see and do. Most people speak some English or will try. Even on tiny Île aux grues an elderly gentleman was fascinated that we had driven ‘all the way from Ottawa’ to visit his lovely home. Ça valait la peine! It was worth it!

    1. That has not been our experience staying in B&B inns etc in old Quebec. But we’ve not stayed there for a few years. The last place we stayed and I forgot to mention is Île d’Orléans. We were there a few nights in a wonderful old place. Cycled all over, ate well, and loved it.

  21. Oh my goodness my favourite topic I could ramble on for days. I am currently planning 8 weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia after 5 years grounded due to cancer and covid. How wonderful to be able to travel again. It is a privilege but does not have to be so expensive if you choose how to do it. Coming from Australia, just getting anywhere is a long way and often a big chunk of money. But Australia is an expensive country to live in so traveling elsewhere is often quite affordable, $50 a night accommodation impossible at home but not so in Asia. I love how most of us are looking for interesting accommodation rather than chain type hotels. We also love to return to the same eating places over and over and become regulars for a short while. Time spent people watching in a streetside café or bar is never wasted.
    Sue on the camper I wonder if you have thought of a teardrop? We have an off road one so can go pretty much anywhere in it, but the main reason we like it is the bed on wheels aspect, you pull up and set up is very minimal. Comfy bed high above the ground. You do need to have a level of flexibility getting in and out but you are probably ok there. You can check me out at tallulah_teardrop_travels on Instagram if you want to have a look. You might find you can go longer than 5 days with a comfy bed :).

    1. I’ll check that idea out, thanks Cathie. Although I have to say the bed in our tent trailer is pretty comfortable. I love camping. There’s something so freeing about it. Makes me feel like a kid. But after a few days I just want an indoor bathroom and the comforts of home.

  22. Yes, agree, there are many travel personalities and wow, you are such an intrepid and fearless traveller. We are very different as I love museums and art galleries and cities and yes, cruises, but hey I am in my late 70s so a little luxury seems to be the best thing ever!

    However, I was a much braver traveller in my youth and actually worked in a foreign country for 2 years travelling back and forth from Switzerland to the UK by train and ferry – never by air once. And when we were married we drove around France a lot staying in camping sites with the kids – we did that for years. But now a cruise takes me to foreign lands and that’s how we like it.

    Great post – really fascinating!

  23. A brilliant post! Thank you, Sue, and other commenters for such an interesting discussion.
    Yes, travel is a privilege-something I don’t ever take for granted.
    We’ve been so lucky to have had so many memorable experiences travelling at home (in Australia) and overseas.
    We used to wing it but now tend to book all accommodation beforehand, enjoying quirky smaller places and exploring at our leisure.
    We’ve been tossing around so many ideas for our next adventure, going off on multiple tangents, we’re now on about plan B23!
    Having enjoyed many self-guided walks (with the luxury of luggage transfer, accommodation at small inns, etc) we’re keen to explore a 50 day hike (such as the via francigena).
    Love the discussions about travel personalities!

  24. This is a fun post, and so wise.
    My favorite trip, ever, was one to Scotland that my son and DIL arranged. We spent almost no time in cities, most of the trip was in the tiny towns, villages, and countryside of NW Scotland and the Orkneys. I think we visited one little (thatched cottage) museum, a few castles, waterfalls, a seaside cave. It was grand. And no camping, I admire that you can do five days!
    One word of caution: friends traveled to the UK this spring, and found there was an upper age cap on renting cars. This was a policy of the car rental agencies, not legal. I think it was either 70 or 72.

  25. It is a wonderful post with so nice memories. I’m sure you’ll both make the best trip plan for yourselves and enjoy it!
    All things change and I change with them. I’ve liked camping (but the other half of the holidays has to be with shower,running water,nice acommodation and culture events!), from tent to trailers….Later,I’ve liked to have an apartment,to cook,go to farmer’s markets,sip wine on the terrace,live with locals….for a while,drive from place to place,explore nature….
    Now,I like to be in a nice hotel in the centre and ( all of next things were always very important to me) to visit an exibition or two,go to the theatre,drink coffee and watch people,explore restaurants…..
    I don’t like to travel with more than one person and always like to have time for myself. 

  26. It really does help to know your travel likes and dislikes. I’m not much of a camper, although I appreciate the outdoors and know that some campgrounds have the most beautiful spots, spots that would be hard to find in other forms of accommodation. I’d consider a night or two of camping, but infrequently.
    We don’t stay in luxury accommodations. We always think of the nice dinner(s) we could have if we spent less on a place to stay. We like AirBnBs and simple hotels.
    We tend to book a night or two on arrival and before departure and wing it for the rest of the trip, so that we can change our plans on a whim. That approach has had wonderful and awful results.
    We try for balance in travel experiences. I like museums and galleries, but not too many. They can be exhausting. I like shopping, but not too much of that. Eating out is wonderful, but sometimes you want a break. We will purchase cheese, olives, and bread at a market and make a meal of it, or cook if we have a kitchen.
    I haven’t worked out a good packing arrangement yet. I still overpack. I need to work on that.
    Have fun planning your trip to Portugal. I am looking forward to reading about it.

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