Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vacations Made for a short vacation!

Bridge near New Port, Oregon on the beach!
Have your ever gone on a tour and been in 4 countries, stayed in 6 hotels and eaten every meal in a "tour bus" restaurant?  It is a good way to cover a lot of ground, a pre-vacation of sorts but when you don't make the plans, it is all a blur.   Travel is a very personal thing and tours are not able to meet everyone's needs.  I have a better idea!

There are other ways to travel in a country or city and see a lot in a short period of time.  Our friends call it a "very vigorous vacation"! You can do it...I know you can.  Here is what we do.

  • We choose a hotel or timeshare near the center of the location.  When you rent a car, for example, you are near to almost everything.  If you walk or use public transportation you can get around easily.  We did this in Spain.  We stayed on Costa del Sol, rented a car and took day trips to Rhonda, Granada and even went on a 2 day trip to Seville, Cadiz and Gibraltar.  
  • When we check into the hotel we go to the postcard friend Norah taught me this trick.  All the major sights are on those postcards.  You can make your weeks plans before you even go to your room!  Buy a packet.
  • Get to know the concierge...these people are a fountain of information.  I used to think they were only for reservations...not so.  They can answer most of your questions or will find what you need.  Take your packet of cards and let them help you find the places you want to go.  If you are in the far east, have this person write addresses for you.  The Chinese, for example, have a unique way of finding places.
  • Most hotels or resorts are surrounded by support businesses.  Take a walk and get the lay of the land.  Local restaurants are generally better than hotel food...sorry!  In Puerta Vallarta Nuevo we walked a short distance,  enjoyed the company of locals and ate at a reasonable price.
  • Talk to taxi drivers.  They are almost better than the concierge.  We have located wonderful neighborhoods, food and local color at the directions of a taxi driver.  They love to show off their knowledge.  Remember the you should even find addresses plus pictures to show to a taxi driver that does not have a good grasp of the English language.
  • We sometimes do one local tour.  It is expensive but worth it.  We generally do not go for the glitzy stuff.  We do not eat by candlelight on the beach...unless we light our own candles and take a picnic.  I do not think it is worth it.  I just don't have enough imagination to make the event seem "romantic".  I personally like something that includes several, tour of the countryside, a historic site.  We make up everything else as we go more tours for us.  We don't need too...we have a package of post cards!
Relax...this is not hard.  Even riding public transportation in NYC is a lot of fun.  Ask questions and smile.  People want to help you out.  Vacations should be easy!.

Note:  I suggest you look at the Frugal Traveler in the New York Times.  He has some wonderful suggestions for train travel on the east coast. Guide to Cheap Buses (Including How to Score $1 tickets),


1 comment:

  1. Go to the postcard rack...what a clever idea! We get postcards after the fact. But, it makes tremendous sense to see what you should check out ahead of time. Postcards are always the most popular spots so you know you'll get a quick overview.



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