Monday, 10 October 2011

The Holidayers!

Almost everyone I've met in my life loves to travel, and I don’t mean commuting or flying around for board meetings (although some of those can be fun too). It’s the sort of travel that involves exploring an unknown place or going back to the same spot coz it feels like home; experiencing new thrills or seeing a familiar face; jumping off a cliff into the sea or soaking up the sun in an old armchair. It’s what explorers did thousands of years back and it’s what we do today when a coffee break just isn’t enough. Whatever be the motive, travelling is something we all look forward to.

Often I find myself sitting at airports and train stations, looking at all those people around me - single ones, couples, in groups, with families - and wondering where they come from and where they are headed. So I thought I'll put my observational skills to test and profile certain types of holiday travellers and while I am at it, give out some handy travel tips (TT) as well! Want to find out what sort you are? Read on...

1. City Slickers: These are people who are headed to the big cities; New York, Bombay, Hong Kong, LA, Sydney, London, Singapore etc. They are headed there mostly because they have friends or family living in those cities. Who wants to spend on a hotel in a metropolis, right?! So you come to visit family/ friends, have some fun, go clubbing, eat fancy meals, shop your guts out and at the end of the week when you’re totally partied out and there’s no money left, you just go back home. Or, if you've travelled really long and hard to get to one of these cities, you might consider packing in a weekend at some nearby touristy destination coz you don't want to go back feeling like all you did was see the inside of bars and malls. 
- Take gifts for your hosts and don't scrimp, they are saving you those hotel bills after all.
- Always carry an extra bag or two for all the shopping you will come back with, especially a cabin-sized one so that you can cut some kilos from the baggage limit.
- If you are going for ten days, pack for WILL check out and buy the millions of fashionable things available out there.
- Ladies, take those high heels along - a black and a silver or gold. They will dress up anything, even an old pair of jeans. 
- And make sure you pack plenty of accessories, this is your chance to get them out of those boxes you have been hoarding forever! 

2. Retreaters: These are the ones who want to kick back and relax, and pay extra for being isolated from modern day conveniences like cellular coverage and Internet connectivity. If you don’t know how to turn off your own phone, then you deserve to pay extra, don't you?! An exotic spa in the Himalayas, a chateau in France, hot springs in Iceland...well, even that yoga retreat on the outskirts will do just fine. The idea is to get far from the madding crowd.
- Hone your negotiating skills and ask for complimentary spa treatments and activities available at the resort, beforehand. It's that much harder to get freebies once you're already there, duh!
- Buy that book you've been meaning to read in advance, don't wait to find it at the airport bookstore.
- Make sure you have a fresh holiday playlist on your iPod.
- Leave the check lists, mental notes and other worries behind (yes, you did shut that bedroom window and the gas is turned off as well!)

3. Trippers: It doesn't matter where they go as long as it's away from home. The beach is a popular choice but they'd be just as happy on a mountain. Whether it is Goa or Simla, Ibiza or Napa, the idea is to kick back and have some fun...much like the city slickers, except not in the city! A quiet holiday is not what they are looking for either; show them the best bar in town, the local flea markets, a good seafood joint or a great biking trail and you'll find them perfectly happy.
- If your partner and you don't share the same likes, then invite along others who do, or just go solo. 
- Pack extra swimsuits and beach wear. 
- Don't forget to apply the sunscreen, no point just carrying it!
- Take things that you never get a chance to wear...that extra low cut blouse or the see through shirts. 

4. Touristers: These are the hardcore travellers; the ones who looks at maps, worry about visas and air fares coz this is their big vacation. Their list would have names like India, Italy, Croatia, New Zealand, South Africa, Greece, blah, blah. They save up for them hoping that they'd have covered a fair bit of the planet before it's finally time to leave. So when they do get out there, the plan is to not stay holed up in hotel rooms, but cover as many places and sights in each trip.
- Be quick to make friends...on the shuttle, in the hotel, restaurants etc. Who knows you might end up saving money on carpools and find some great company as well.
- Chat up the locals, they'll always know more than the guide books can ever tell.
- Carry your own water. Wouldn't you rather spend those couple of bucks on magnets and other souvenirs??
- Remember to charge your camera. It's the one thing you tend to leave for the end and usually don't end up doing!

5. Backpackers: They like things off the beaten path. Give them a mountain to climb and a hole in the earth to take a dump in and they'll be perfectly happy. For them holidays are about becoming one with Nature, experiencing the thrill of the outdoors and just taking life as it comes. Campers, trekkers, bikers, backpackers...they are all the same breed. Filled with a sense of adventure and heaps of adrenaline, they are the no-frills lot.
- Pack according to the weather obviously and take ONLY the essential: cargo shorts/ pants, waterproof tracks, a windcheater, a warm jacket. If it's cold - gloves, cap and muffler.
- Choose your footwear with the utmost care; do not wear a new pair or you'll be sitting alone on the mountain top with shoe bites!
- The Rule of Three: wash, dry, wear! You'll never need more than three pairs of these, and that's a luxury - underwear, socks, t-shirts.
- Don't forget to pack a medicine kit - include pills for fever, stomach upset, headaches, nausea and an anti-allergy. Also a couple of band aids and antiseptic. Ask your doctor for a list.
- A mosquito repellent could be handier than you think, especially if you are camping out at night.

So did you figure which profile you belong to? Or do you like to flit around the spectrum like me?

1 comment:

  1. Nicely done. I think I'm a combination of Retreaters and Trippers. I love to go to places where I can completely shut myself off from modern day electronics. The mountains are my first choice, of course. But I'm not partial to only fancy retreats, if the place is clean and has character, then I'm game.

    I like the sense of exploration of Trippers too, especially when it comes to going to places like Goa and Bangkok, where one really wants to chill out with a beer at every chance one gets!


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