When we are going on a vacation for a couple of weeks we almost always concentrate our time in one country. When taking a longer trip of 4 to 6 months it is tougher to decide how long we need to look around. What process do you use?
Have you stayed any place too long? Have you stayed any place way too short?
At this stage our vacation time dictates how long we can travel for, which at the most has been 1 month but generally 2 weeks. Therefore, the travelling time plays a large part - that is if it is unconstructive travelling, but if moving around is part of the trip then it is immaterial. Up till now, we have never stayed in one place too long, and always feel that we need more time to see more of that country or part thereof. Whatever interests us the most will dictate how long we will stay in a particular area or country.
I think if you're going to use that 4-6 months in a few different countries I would first look at why I'm going to each of those countries in the first place and what are the must do or see for me. I would then allocate time to each countries according how much I'd like to see or do there. Easy to say I know as you may end up discovering more of each places and want to stay for longer than you'd planed for. However, you can always come back ha?! I would personally like to give each places (country or town) a fare chance, but making sure that I don't miss other places just because I got comfortable in a particular place. To do this, I would have the landing places of each town or countries I go to booked for a specific date. That way it gives me a little pressure to get myself moving along and not stuck in one place for too long. For example, my journey would start at the northest or southernest part of my chosen destonation and I would travel either up or downwards, giving myself a mental time target of each region. For example, from the north to the central region- 3 weeks, the central region 2 weeks and the southern region 5 weekes (I'm a beach person so I would spend more time down south). You may of course spend less time in each region as you're discovering them, but I don't tend to spend more time as I may not have enough time in other places as I would have liked to. I'm more with the, if you love it enough, you'll come back! But to cut yourself short of other places/experiences would be a real shame. What I wouldn't do though is to just get on a plan straight to a place or get on a straight overnight train to somewhere because you never what you may have missed along the way. I think a few hours travelling at the time at the most is far enough, get off the bus and explore! I've found Huay Yang in Prachuab Khiri Khan to be my beach village heaven when in the past I would just bypass all these little mainland places and go direct to the islands. I didn't stay there for too long though, I moved on. But as I say, you can always come back...now I've moved here! woo hoo! :-)
I must admit upfront that I love wandering and lingering and will probably be of no help to anyone. I've generally stayed in a place until I could get around without a map. When I was a college instructor and had 5 weeks for winter break, I'd usually go to one place, often in Mexico. I'd see all the sites, then just hang out a lot as well as do spend days in nature and small villages.
With three-month summer holidays, I'd just go to one European country. I relish the feeling of really living in a place, getting to know people, knowing the best hikes and free days in museums.
My last trips have been multiple year ones, so I sometimes leave when the weather changes or after a concert/event I was waiting for or when I feel that I know a place and start to feel curious about another. I'm lucky and can let the wind carry me along. My slow, unstructured life would drive many crazy, but I love it! How great that there are so many ways to travel!
I think for any long trips i've bought the ticket in and the ticket out and have an idea of hotels i want to stay in or any locations i want to be at on specific dates, but otherwise wait to see what happens and if its time to move on or if i'm enjoying myself and want to stay.
Oh i am jealous tara as i would love to go for years but no way i could convince my hubby to give up his job for a year now - doh!
Dave, Mary Jo and Tam--I love your styles--eating in restaurants, having guides and your own room, staying in places that always have soap and toilet paper... I'll only be able to emulate this in my next life (when maybe I'll be a hard worker).
Also, Tam, I'm single--aren't too many people that can or really want to travel at this pace. Sometimes friends visit me for a few weeks of travel and want to see lots of places. It's really hard on me unless it's to places I've already been (I love being tour guide). Otherwise, I definitely miss not feeling the Beingness of a place.
I guess there are trade-offs to everything. How lucky are we that we've all found ways to travel that work for us and can live other styles through each others' blogs! Yippee for travelblog and friends met here! ;~}
[Edited: 2012 Sep 22 14:05 - taracloud:173833 ]
In response to: Msg #160705
We will not care on time if the place is that much influencing our mind to stay. Im from Kerala, and here, the nature is blended with a beauty of grace and which gives an affectionate feeling with nature. And now we can always stay connected with our work even we are at forests.
Better we can plan the return before planing the trip !
I usually go on a trip for 6 weeks and then go home for 6 weeks. This is less dictated by where I am at as the fact that after about 6 weeks I want to see my family again, and spend time with them. Then after 6 weeks at home I start wanting to go somewhere again. When I go to a place I stay till I see all I want and have discovered I want to see. Then I head to the next location. So far this year I have invested 6 weeks in Ireland. Then went home for 6 weeks. Then came back for another 8 weeks in Ireland and England. Then 6 weeks home. And now I am on another 6 week trip going to England, France, Italy, and Greece. At least that's the plan. I have been hovering near the Channel in Weymouth since Sunday the past 5 days touring Weymouth and Portland and trying to work out crossing the channel to Normandy in the path of the D Day soldiers of WW 2. Most of the Americans crossed from Weymouth and Pool but there is no ferrys from here to the Normandy coast. I will have to go to Portsmouth and take the overnight crossing (2230 - 0630) to Ouisterham and Caen as the English did. So that's the Plan. I'll cross the channel Monday from Portsmouth to Caen.
I feel like I have used so many Lonely Planets in my lifetime, that all I need is an evening to scan through one, and I can produce a basic itinerary, including how many days/weeks I'd like to allot to that country. Of course size of the country and time frame of your overall trip are huge factors! I'm always torn between stopping and really soaking up a place and seeing as many other places as possible. I tend to gravitate towards the latter, trying to squeeze as much in as possible, photograph as many places as I can, and so I am guilty of rushing...But when traveling alone, things can be done faster!
My good friend and I both had our first big trip together - we did 3 mo's backpacking thru Europe. We basically left our time in each country open ended because we wanted to be able to stay longer or shorter if necessary. For example, we were in Spain a little over a month, but traveled all around the coast during that time. We both were keen to spend a lot of time in Greece as well, so we allowed ourself about 3 1/2 wks there. We kind of worked backwards actually and did some loose planning just because Greece was where we were ending and we wanted to give ourselves enough time.
Before we left for our trip, we had looked up places/things we wanted to see/do/experience. While we obviously didn't stick to that, we did do a couple, and other than that we didn't really use tour books. We mostly got suggestions from fellow travelers, stayed in hostels that were recommended or that we found on our own, and got ideas of places to go from locals in each country/city we were in.
While we enjoyed having our trip open-ended, it did become a little bit more expensive because we were trying to book places at peak summer time, even though it would be a few weeks in advance. That was the only downside that I saw. Other than that we really enjoyed ourselves during this trip and wouldn't change it any way!
I think you must stay too long just to enjoy each moment and when you finally decided to go back then you can go back at least you enjoy.
We usually only take 4 or 5 weeks off each year to travel overseas, so that dictates what we can fit in/what we leave out in each country. We get to know smaller countries much better than larger ones, but ONE DAY we plan to go back and visit our favourites from each country and spend much longer in each place...one day
I'm retired, so I can spend lots of time soaking it all in.... Except that I easily miss my family and friends here after a couple of months. Just the same, how long I'm staying wherever largely depends on how expensive it is in that place. For the same reason that most travelers stay longer in Asia as their travel funds can be stretched to cover longer stays, we Asians find it difficult coping with the higher cost of living in say, Europe or America or Australia. If you're used to $1 beers and $5-8 buffet meals here, you'd know what I mean.