Friday, August 5, 2011

Travel Blues

I really enjoyed this weeks column by the Frugal Traveler of the NY Times called When You’ve Got Those First-24-Hour Blues. I think I suffered from this sometime when I had been in a city for a number of days so was not always constrained to the first 24 hours.

I consider myself a Frugal Traveler but some of this comes from just being cheap but I also think I would not enjoy traveling near as much if money was no object. I get a thrill when I can make it to some site via public transportation. I also find the best travel stories are the ones where the unexpected happens. I think you get more great travel experiences when you are on a public bus rather than the back seat of a taxi. The things that you see and the people you encounter on a 12 hour bus ride are a lot more interesting than the 1 hour flight and the 2 hours setting around in an airport. Time is the one thing that I think you really need to enjoy the Frugal Travel experience and this is the one thing I have little of at the moment.

As to dealing with the issue of the first 24 hours in a new place I have some rules I try to follow when traveling.

1. Arrive when it is light out. Most places are not scary in the day light.
2. If #1 is not possible book ahead and have a plan on how to get to your hotel.
3. Allow down time when you arrive.
4. Remember that the worst day of travel is still much better than most days in the office.

I broke all of these rules a number of times when I was on the road.

When I was traveling for a long period of time I had up days and down days. My down days did not seem to be limited to the first 24 hours in a place. The main way I dealt with the really bad times was to use the one real luxury I had and that was time. I would just take time off from sight seeing or dealing with the stress of the unknown. I usually did this to some point one day a week anyway but the normal 1 day off travel was dealing with things like laundry, uploading pictures, booking tickets, finding books or planning the next stage of the trip. I did this a lot as well in the evenings. I ended just about every day trying to figure out what I was going to do tomorrow.

My current travel blues is that I am not on the road.

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