Kayaking at Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge

Choose Your Adventure: Defining Your Personal Travel Style

Kayaking at Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge

Traveling teaches us that the world is full of different types of people. We all have our own tastes, customs, and preferences. When we’re traveling, it’s important that we respect these differences and recognize our own affinities so that we can get the most out of our trip. So before you choose your adventure, it’s worth asking yourself a few questions that can help you define your own personal travel style…
Family at victoria falls
Who's Going? 

Who’s going on a trip obviously has a major impact on determining how we should travel. So before settling on a trip or scheduling your itinerary, the first question should be who’s coming along with us.

Custom travel gives us the luxury of choosing an itinerary packed with things that suit our personal preferences. But when it comes to family travel, everyone should get to have a voice in where you go and what you do there. Parents, grandparents, children and friends will each have their own passions and limitations. If everyone’s needs aren’t considered, it could have a negative effect on their attitude towards the trip.

Every travel style has its positives and negatives to consider when you choose your adventure. At first glance, custom travel might seem easiest because we only have to think of our own interests. But there’s also a lot to be said for traveling with family. Traveling with someone we love, fulfilling their dreams, and watching them grow in the process opens us to explorations we might not otherwise have.
Trekking Inca Trail
What Do You Want to Do? 

The activities we experience while traveling are just as important as where we go. So regardless of whether we travel solo, with family, or as a group of friends, we have to consider what activities will make a trip most enjoyable.

If visiting museums, admiring architecture, and sampling different cuisines are high on the wish list, it would make more sense to explore cities rather than spending most of your time in national parks. Birding expeditions are exciting for avid birdwatchers, but may try the patience of wine and food enthusiasts.

It’s often more about the things we choose to do on vacations than where we go that makes our trip a success. We typically tell friends and family stories about all the fun and interesting activities we experienced on our travels. So choose your adventure based on what you want to do first, then work with your travel planner to decide where to go.

When Do You Want to Travel? 

Choosing when you want to go is vital before choosing where to go. July and August might be fantastically beautiful in certain places like Alaska and the Canadian Arctic. But in Patagonia it’s the depths of winter, and many of the best hiking routes are closed, and it’s also hurricane season in places like Cuba.

For some people being hot might be a dealbreaker, while others feel that bundling up against the cold is the antithesis of a wonderful trip. We all have different thoughts on what constitutes ideal weather. Our travel style can help us decide where we’d have the best time, depending on the season in which we plan to travel.
Cuba Voyage guests
Where Do You Like to Hang Out?

This may seem like an obvious this to consider when you choose your adventure. But sometimes wanderlust makes it easy to lose our sense of self when we see our photos of far-flung destinations.

If you’re not a fan of crowds and skyscrapers, then you shouldn’t spend much time in a bustling city. If the occaisional creepy-crawly is going to ruin your holiday, then spending a week exploring the rainforest might not be for you. Those plagued by seasickness will likely prefer land-based expeditions, while those who like getting away from it all may enjoy small-ship expedition cruises.

No matter how beautiful a place may look in commercials or your friends’ social media feeds, no destination is perfect for everyone. Knowing yourself and your travel style will help you decide where you’d prefer to spend your travel time.
Andean village in Bolivia
Why Are You Traveling?

Knowing what we want to gain from your travel experience is important when choosing your adventure.

Active travelers like to combine nature with a healthy adrenaline rush. Cultural travelers love to try new foods, practice speaking a different language, or learning a traditional craft. Nature travelers are recharged simply by being in the great outdoors, surrounded by the flora and fauna of a foreign place. Others may simply have the goal of resting and relaxing.

Traveling these days offers an incredibly wide range of choices. We can cruise remote places with turquoise seas and hardly another soul in sight. We can immerse ourselves in the cultural traditions of an ancient city, swept away in bustling markets. The general purpose of your trip will guide your decision on where that trip should takes you.

Of course, with International Expeditions, you may do all of these within the course of a 10-day journey!
Exploring the Okavango Delta by boat
How Long Will You Be Done? 

The length of our trip plays a huge role in how we feel while we’re there and when we get home. Many people like the thought of taking a brief break from their day-to-day routines. Others yearn for more immersive adventures, and a weekend jaunt simply will not satisfy their craving for exploration.

How long we can travel is relevant to our travel style, and factoring it in changes the sort of adventures we can undertake. An increasing number of empty-nesters take a “gap year” to go on round-the-world journeys. Some people prefer a magical week in Havana, then a quick flight back to the comforts of home. There is no wrong or right travel style – only our individual preference.

Considering all these questions before you choose your IE adventure may seem a bit like homework. But in taking the time to define our travel style, we give ourselves a much better chance of picking a vacation that’s perfectly suited to our particular tastes and circumstances.

Jonathon Engels is a traveler, writer, and vegan gardener. Born and raised in Louisiana, he has lived as an expat for over a decade, worked in nearly a dozen countries, and visited dozens of others in between. His interests include permaculture, cooking, and music. More of his work can be found at Jonathon Engels: A Life About.