This week’s guest post comes from the blogger Pam from Organized! by Pam, where she shares why she prefers taking it easy when she travels. She writes:
I just booked my eight-day trip to Japan this December and naturally, I spend a hundred hours a day (okay, maybe about two to three) scouring the internet for eight-day itineraries that match my interests. For some reason, I never learn.
Every time I look for itineraries (in the hopes of simplifying the planning-a-trip-to-a-
Most of the itineraries that people share around the web seem like a nerve-wracking episode of Amazing Race.
These itineraries will have you waking up at five in the morning and running around several tourist attractions until midnight. Then repeat for the next seven days.
I get it. Visiting a different country, especially a country like Japan which has a lot of attractions, requires a lot of resources – time and money, more specifically. To be more cost-efficient and basically just efficient in general, it’s normal to want to make the most out of our trip.
I think the difference lies in how we define “making the most out of a trip.”
For most, it means visiting all the attractions in given country / area and experience all that can be experienced in that country – amusement and theme parks, historical venues, unique and one-of-a-kind activities, beaches, restaurants – the whole shebang. Economically, you’re really making the most of the airfare and the lodging costs with this style of traveling. If you can manage to visit 100 different attractions in a trip that cost you, say, $100 in airfare, that means that for every dollar that you spend on overhead costs (such as the airfare and lodging costs), you were able to check off a tourist attraction from your long Must See Tourist Attractions list.
If you were only able to visit 50 attractions (for example, you wake up late in the day as opposed to someone who gets up even before the first light comes around), then each attraction costs you about $2 in overhead expenses.
Seriously, if we’re talking mathematics here, making the most out of a trip is all about making the most out of your overhead expenses and the Amazing Race-style of traveling is your best bet.
Shifting things into my perspective (a.k.a. a less obnoxious way of saying “let’s talk about what I think”), making the most out of a trip is all about immersing yourself into the new place, the new culture and the new experiences. It’s all about taking the time to allow the new environment to create sparks of something inside of you.
I read somewhere that the difference between a traveler and a tourist is precisely this:
- A tourist is all about “touring” the new place and seeing what it has to offer, as an outsider looking in.
- A traveler will go into a place and attempt to understand it from the perspective of the locals.
So, when I travel, I usually prefer to dedicate an entire trip to just one or two key areas. Or maybe just one key area with a few side trips here and there. For example, my eight-day trip to Japan will be focused solely on discovering Tokyo and going to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka (originally, I wanted to stick within the borders of Tokyo but seriously, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is calling out my name).
Most people will think that it’s a complete waste of money seeing as a regularly-priced roundtrip plane ticket to Japan from the Philippines can easily set you back $500. And I understand where they’re coming from, but I can never trade-off:
- Sleeping in on a really nice apartment and waking up feeling refreshed and inspired. You cannot force me to wake up at five in the morning when I’m supposed to be on a vacation unless I really, really want to do something that requires me to wake up that early. This is justifies why I’m not averse to spending a decent amount of money for a good hotel / apartment since I do prefer waking up gloriously – cooking breakfast for myself, watching the TV and drinking a good cup of coffee, you get the gist.
- Taking leisurely walks and just following where my feet are headed. When I went to Japan last year for a four-day short-term exchange, I took quite a bit of walks in the morning. I would go to the nearby park, check out the supermarket and walk towards places that normally don’t show up in a map of tourist attractions. I can easily spend 30 – 45 minutes a day just walking around, more if I chance upon a good cafe to sit down and just be in the moment.
- Discovering new, hole-in-the-wall places. Small, homegrown cafes and shops don’t always make it into tourist guides. You can only discover these hole-in-the-wall places when you allot time for discoveries. You can’t do that with a packed 5AM to 12MN daily itineraries. Reading travel blogs can help you in this regard but nothing beats uncovering these places on your own.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks. I guess the main point I’m driving here is that when you give yourself the permission to be in the moment, you open up yourself to unique experiences and possibilities. Don’t you want to have your own adventures rather than just following the manuscript of others?
Author Bio: Hey there! I’m Pam Llaguno, from the sunny and humid little islands of the Philippines. I’m a 22-year old go-getter living two lives: one as an equity analytics analyst (yep, that’s right) in a financial intermediary company and two, as a graphic design freelancer + blogger. I love my home country and all its quirks but Japan has a special place in my heart and continues to be a source of mad inspiration for me. On my blog, Organized! by Pam, I document my days through photos and scrapbooks. I also share my design work and create tools to help people live effective, efficient and intentional lives :)
Be a part of my soul-tribe, Commune, and get your (free!!) copy of my insanely valuable e-book,’E-mail Sanity: Seven Tips on Inbox Freedom‘ right freakin’ now ;)