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Make Your Next Vacation about the Journey

Photo of Santorini by Abir Anwar via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

There’s no one solution for how you should spend your next vacation. Are you looking to explore? Relax? A combination? If you know you want to take a trip, but haven’t been able to settle on one destination, perhaps the answer is to choose a journey instead.

Here are some ideas:

Take a Cruise

I love traveling on the water. Overnight ferry trips, river cruises and sea journeys are the setting for some of my favorite travel memories. The tradition of traveling by sea is intoxicating in itself, plus there are thousands of destinations that are best visited by water.

For an awesome journey, where luxury, convenience and interest are all combined, take one of the all inclusive cruises that ply the Mediterranean, Caribbean or other spectacular, watery region. Especially for family vacations, or times when you really just need to get away and not be bothered with a ton of details, all-inclusive cruises give you the pleasure of the journey without preplanning hassle.

Another great thing about cruises is that they are a good way to meet pals on the road. Many cruise ships organize activities, tours and themed events where you can socialize with friends you brought on the trip, or meet new friends. This takes away the pressure of feeling you need to hang out with your travel buddies for every minute of the day, as you might if you were taking a train journey together, for example.

But for me, it’s the remote destinations that cruise ships reach that are the real selling point–from villages on the Yangtze River to tiny Greek Isles to the fjords of Norway–cruises will give you a better view than any land-based travel or fly-in junket would.

Take a Road Trip

Not a big fan of boats? Traveling by car is one of the best ways to explore a region and maximize the time you spend on your trip. Plotting a route through interesting areas, navigating scenic byways and making spur-of-the moment decisions about where you’ll go next can be the ingredients of the trip of a lifetime. For example, whenever I travel to Australia, I enjoy planning a few countryside drives and stopping off wherever catches my attention along the way.

Road Trips are also a way to get the most mileage out of your vacation while sticking to a budget, as long as you don’t mind sacrificing some luxuries. For example, if you bring along a cooler, a quick stop at a grocery store will provide you with ice and the ingredients for sandwiches, wraps or other meals that will be cheaper than eating in a restaurant. You’ll save even more money if you bring a tent and camp a few nights along the way instead of booking in to a hotel. However, you’ll have to take into consideration the cost of fuel and the wear and tear on the vehicle (and camping fees and equipment), or rental costs if it’s not your car.

Hit the Rails

Traveling by train is another great way to see a lot of scenery, and it’s more friendly to the environment than going by car. There’s something relaxing about watching the countryside slide by from a train window. The rocking movement of the carriages on the tracks, the hum of the engines and the interesting glimpses when you stop at stations along the way all make up a unique kind of trip for you to enjoy. Long train journeys, unlike road trips, also provide good scenarios for meeting other travelers, and talking to locals.

Some of the cross-continental road journeys are epic, and come with price tags to match–tickets on the “Ghan” which runs from Adelaide to Darwin, Australia, start around $1,500 AUD one-way. In contrast, however, taking the train across India in an air-conditioned sleeper carriage will only cost you around $35 USD to get all the way from New Delhi to Kolkata.


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Beth Green

Beth Green is an American freelance writer who has lived in Europe and Asia since 2003. She grew up on a sailboat and, though now a landlubber, still enjoys a peripatetic life. She writes blogs, articles and suspense about travel, expatriate living, and many other topics. A social media addict, she’d love to hear from you about your favorite travel experiences.
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