Is there a right way to travel? Honestly, the slow travelers judge the fast travelers, the luxury travelers judge the backpackers, the local cuisine eaters judge the McDonald’s eaters. And all of this vice versa. I’ve been guilty of it, and I’m sure you have too.
But thats dumb. We are wrong. So, here, I am going to shed a little light on the topic and delve into why we are wrong. And, hopefully, make you feel better about your travel decisions! I apologize ahead of time, because this post is a little wordy 🙃
Slow Travel vs Fast Travel
Slow travelers are those who stay in one destination for months to “submerse themselves” in the culture and take it in slowly. Whereas fast travelers typically are on a time constraint and are trying to see as much as they can in a short period. Slow travelers argue that fast traveling is no way to experience a country. That you can’t appropriately experience the culture when you only have a couple of days in one spot. ‘
Here’s the deal: Fast travelers travel fast because they have a job or other obligations to get back to. They don’t have the time to spend a month eating their way slowly through a country. Does that make their time in the country any less meaningful or impactful? I don’t think so.
Or, does it mean that they wouldn’t prefer to slow travel and take their time experiencing the country more? Also, no. I’m sure in another life they would enjoy it. However, fast travelers are choosing to balance another life with a travel life. So try not to assume they aren’t learning much while they are traveling.
Have you been to an all-inclusive resort? Do you feel like your travel groupies will call it “fake travel?” Well, grab your fruity cocktail of choice and head to the beach and contemplate if you really care.
Sure, maybe you don’t get to see the entirety of the city. However, you’ll likely meet some locals along the way. And honestly, traveling is exhausting. Sometimes you need a vacation that requires minimal planning and maximum relaxing. If this is your preferred form of travel, more power to you!
On the flip side, I’ve heard whispers of people talking smack about backpacking. I know a few people who wouldn’t be caught dead backpacking and hostel hopping. If it’s not a resort or nice hotel, they aren’t doing it. Some also say that backpackers tend to just stick to themselves or hang out in their backpacking group and don’t go out to meet new people as often. Who the heck knows. But, also, who the heck cares. They are in a new country experiencing what they want of it.
The dreaded “c” word. To some “experienced” travelers a cruise is the worst form of travel you could ever choose. Is it my first choice of travel? No. Bu will I take one? Heck yeah I will (if I have my Dramamine 😅).
Let me put some perspective on cruising. I have siblings who are not experienced travelers and who have families.
- One likes to go on cruises because they can book a vacation as a couple for an affordable price that fits in their budget. (Also a reason my husband and I have chosen this form of travel!)
- One had NEVER been out of the country. When you haven’t been out of the country, you usually don’t start with an extensive backpacking trip through Europe. For their 10th anniversary they booked a cruise. Am I going to judge them? Hell no. Because they just left the country. And what little they may have seen at the ports is 100% more than they would have seen at home. Everyone starts somewhere!
Moral of the story, don’t judge people on their choice of travel. All travel is good travel.
So you have a week and a half to travel abroad? Do you opt to stay in one country for the entirety of the trip? Or, do you decide you want to see two, three or four countries and hit the highlights of the cities of your choice? Is one better than the other? Nope.
There are pros and cons to both. If you hope to see as much as you can in your time abroad, then do it! Do you feel obligated to stay in one city for 5 or 6 nights for fear that a critic will say you haven’t actually “experienced” the city if you don’t? Well, shame.
The right way to utilize your time is up to YOU. If you want to bask in the city of your dreams for 6 nights, then perfect. If you want to city hop every single night for 2 weeks, fantastic.
Sticking to one Region
Do you love Europe? Do you want to bask in all of its glory, but don’t really have any interest in visiting South America? Afraid people will throw judgement at you for not experiencing more diverse cultures? They will. They’ll throw judgement no matter what you choose. So do what you like.
Although, I will say you don’t know what you like until you try it 😉 If you absolutely DON’T want to venture outside of Europe, thats your prerogative. But, I would encourage you to at least dip your toes into a few other places before you decide if you truly do or don’t like it. Never know; you may LOVE it and dump Europe forever.
Have all of the love for your home country and have no desire to leave it? Probably rightfully so. Every country has something amazing and wonderful that people travel across the world to see. So there is nothing wrong with exploring whats in your back yard, whether that be your country or your US state. Traveling is traveling, no matter where you do it.
To note, someone can be well-traveled and never have left the United States.
Travel: a journey especially to a distant or UNFAMILIAR place
Stole that straight from Merriam-Webster and there is a large variety of trips that MEET THIS CRITERIA FOR TRAVEL.
Group Travel & SOlo Travel
Who here has felt personally victimized by considering a group tour? 🙋🏼♀️ I’ve heard so many people talk about how going on a group tour is “unauthentic.” First of all, have you actually BEEN on a group tour before? My only one (thus far) was in high school. And the tour guide, being a local, provided SO MUCH valuable information on the history and culture of each place we visited. We partook in a traditional Scottish dinner with haggis and dancing with bagpipes, which has been one of the most authentic experiences I have had to date (this experience was through EF Tours in high school and I’ve heard of other people enjoying the tours as well).
Not only that, but a lot of people do not feel they can, or want, to plan a whole trip out. They PREFER to have someone local plan the perfect itinerary for them. That’s fine. (Although, there are good and bad in everything and that goes for group tours as well. Make sure you book a well-reviewed one!)
On the flip side, don’t assume solo travelers have no friends. Many people also PREFER this style of travel. It can be hard finding the right fit for a travel partner and solo travel gives you the freedom to do whatever the heck you want, WHEN you want. To note: I have not ACTUALLY gone on a solo trip yet. I know; I’ve heard great things about travel solo since starting this travel page!
My Travel Shaming Experiences
I’ve travel shamed myself, I’ve travel shamed others, I’ve been travel shamed. It is what it is. In 2017 we took a 3.5 week European trip using backpacks and skipping through hostels mostly. Since then, I’ve felt like any trip I’ve gone on that hasn’t been just like that one feels too short or too luxurious or not “travel-ish” enough. I also tend to feel like less of a traveler because I travel part time. Which is dumb. I still have great experiences traveling abroad a few weeks of the year.
Also, since starting my travel pages, I come across hundreds of travelers. And one thing I’ve learned is that there is a wide variety of traveling. But in the travel world, people don’t seem to accept this. People just like to throw shame when people don’t “travel right” or don’t prefer to travel like they do. Most of the travel shaming I’ve seen is mentioned above, so I won’t go into that again. Moral of the story, if you don’t agree with or don’t prefer to travel like someone else doesn’t mean you have to tell them and make it publicly known. So, my sincerest apologies to any travel shaming I have thrown in the past. I’m trying to do better 🙃
So, is there a right way to travel?
Long story short, no, there is not a right way to travel. I don’t care what you are doing or where you are going as long as your ARE going. As long as you are being respectful no matter where you end up. (There may not me a right way to travel, but there is certainly a wrong way. And that is being disrespectful to locals or tourists or anyone you encounter on your journey).
I hope you feel a little more comfortable with your travel decisions and choices after reading this. Do what you like and write about it if you want. Because I promise, you are not the only one with your travel mind-set!
Anyway, happy traveling. If you’ve made it this far, you may enjoy my post Read the Pages of the World Through Travel regarding the lessons I’ve learned through travel!