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What Kind of Traveler Are You?

Suitcase
Plan the ultimate vacation by first deciding what type of traveler you like to be.

When you close your eyes and imagine your ideal vacation, what does it have? A passport full of stamps? The sound of ocean waves? Maybe it’s quiet solitude in the mountains or driving four hours. Whatever your preferences are, the best thing to do before you plan is to determine what type of vacationer you are. These helpful tips can get you started.

 

The Roamer

Suitcase

Characteristics:

You want to get as far away as possible when you vacation. No simple two-hour drives for you…you’re getting on that jet plane and heading into the sunset. Whether you’re dreaming of a deserted island in the Pacific or a mountaintop in Tibet, you’re ready to spend a long time getting to and from your destination. You love to research with guidebooks and histories and want to come back “changed” from your journey.

Get started planning:

  • Learn a new language for a foreign destination with a mobile learning app like Duolingo or Memrise.
  • Brush up on local customs so you can blend in and not offend anyone.
  • Practice building your ultimate backpack wardrobe so you’re not worried about losing luggage after an 18-hour flight.
  • Think about getting extra travel insurance that covers any medical emergencies you might experience outside the country. From a dog bite to sudden sickness, you don’t want to be paying thousands for medical care way outside your local network. (Most plans are super affordable, too!)

 

The Beachcomber

Shells

Characteristics:

You absolutely must put your feet in sand when you vacation. Oceans, lakes, or even pleasant riverfront accommodations are fine, as long as you get some quality time listening to the water. Suntan? Maybe. (You’re smart about sunscreen.) But you definitely must have cold beverages, sunglasses, and that deep relaxation of a water-side nap in the afternoon.

Get started planning:

  • Research getaways with rental properties that get you waterside without lugging a lot of gear across a busy highway each day. Try condo rentals or even last-minute booking sites like Hotel Tonight to nab that perfect spot.
  • Save when you travel off-season to favorite beach spots. As long as you don’t mind heat (or the potential threat of a hurricane) head to the Caribbean mid-April to mid-December, when hotels tend to be cheaper and you might also save on flights, too.
  • Want peace and quiet, not cannonballs? Try adults-only resorts or cruises, where there are few to no young children, or book a private house with its own doc or small pool by the ocean.

 

The Family Fun Fanatic

Family vacationing

Characteristics:

You have a plan, and it involves getting everybody in the family in some sort of large vehicle and heading off to the most wonderful places in the world. You love hitting up theme parks, fantasy cruises, or even large campgrounds, as long as the whole family can do it together. This doesn’t mean you spend 100% of the day together, since everyone likes to do different things — but it does mean you’re going to get matching shirts and take a few early Christmas card photos at some point.

Get started planning:

  • If you’re going to a big resort, start polling your friend network early about “secret tips” and investments that can pay off. Maybe they recommend booking events months early so you’re not in a sold out situation at the gate. Or maybe friends absolutely recommend investing in special passes to skip long lines (and youngster meltdowns). Learn from their mistakes and make your vacation easier!
  • Need to keep your sanity with a few mom and dad “date nights”? Talk to your hotel or resort about babysitting services that you can book in advance, or bring along your favorite local helper (paid, of course) to take the reigns one night or two.
  • Talk to your kids about what they want to do. The best part of having a family trip is seeing smiles (even on the moody teenagers) so make sure to include everyone in the planning phases.

 

The Event Vacationer

Calendar

Characteristics:

You’re in for destination vacations. Whether you’re traveling to see a big concert, to celebrate a historic milestone, or to attend a family reunion — you’re going to see it, do it, and get the bumper sticker. Whether you just need the “excuse” to take some time off, or you just love sharing an experience with a whole bunch of people all at once, you love to know the “why” for your trip off the bat.

Get started planning:

  • Looking for an event? Try narrowing your online search by region, time frame and overlapping interests. For example: There’s another total solar eclipse you could drive and see in 2024, or you could get going sooner and celebrate the centennial of the Grand Canyon in 2019.
  • Have a backup plan. Your big event destination could be hit with hurricane, tornado or flood. What will you do then? Think about getting trip insurance that covers changes due to weather, illness or natural disaster so you can recover some money if things go south.
  • Change things up! If you always go to X destination for the Y every year – where else could you travel? The great things about vacations are the opportunities to experience new things than you can in your own living room. Get out there and explore!