In this series I delve into the different types of trips people take throughout their lives and give a few tips and thoughts on how to make the most of them. Today it’s the most common trip of all — the holiday!
Why Go on a Holiday?
Holidays are generally expensive and can be a hassle to plan, but the payoff can be life changing. But do you need to spend a lot of money or can you get the same effect closer to home? It depends where you live and why you want to go on a holiday.
As a New Zealander who lives close to mountains I’d think twice about spending thousands of dollars on a hiking holiday to Patagonia or the Swiss Alps when I can experience similar things for free. I would, however, plan (another) hiking trip to Nepal or India as the mountain experience is a lot different over there.
READ MORE: Backpacking in Himachal Pradesh, India
Often a holiday is all about relaxation – a week or so to recover from months of work. You can do this close to home but it’s always nice to go to a new country and experience a new way of life.
Other times a holiday is all about going somewhere new, trying food you’ve never heard of before and getting out of your comfort zone. It’s a good idea to challenge yourself at times, but if you’re not sure how active or adventurous you want to be you could opt for a place that does both. Bali is a good example — you can have the most typical beach holiday or fly an hour or two and be on a completely different kind of island with very little tourist infrastructure.
It’s the same for a lot of places in Southeast Asia — a great place for typical “holidays” with a splash of adventure for those who want it. The path is well worn for sure, but less travelled ones are never far away. And if you’ve never been to Southeast Asia even the typical tourist trail will be new and exciting to you.
The atmosphere of a place has a huge bearing on where we choose to holiday, and nowhere is this more obvious than Bali. The main beaches in Bali are full of Australians drinking, surfing and hanging out at beaches way less inviting than most you’ll see in Australia. It’s the vibe — the feeling of being in an exotic place far from home while eating and drinking on the cheap.
Bali’s appeal also lies in the fact you can stay in one accommodation the whole time and go off on day trips to waterfalls, volcanoes, islands and other natural wonders. Add all that together and it becomes less about the beaches and more about being a convenient and cheap place to have adventures, do wellness activities, eat great food and meet people from around the world at night in the pubs and clubs.
How long you have for your holiday has a huge bearing on its success. A rushed holiday could leave you less relaxed than when you left while being a fun trip for those who hate sitting still and aren’t travelling to relax. Again, look into what you actually want out of your trip and adjust accordingly. I reckon for most overseas holidays you’ll want at least five nights. We visited Rarotonga recently and spend nine nights — a good length for us but it seemed most people stayed for four or five nights.
READ MORE: Rarotonga Itinerary and Travel Guide
Four or five nights wouldn’t be enough for a trip to say Thailand though, unless you’re only going to one or two islands and aren’t travelling from too far away. Gia and I had our first holiday together in Phuket — a quick three-night trip from Singapore. I definitely wouldn’t be flying all the way from New Zealand to Thailand for only three nights!
If you really want to get to know a place I’d spend at least two weeks there. You can see a lot in two weeks and it gives you a chance to both relax and do plenty of sightseeing. If you’re visiting a new (big) country for the first time and don’t think you’ll return anytime soon I’d try and dedicate a month to it if you can. I reckon in a month you can see and do as much as you’d ever need to (except for huge destinations like USA, France, Italy, Spain, India etc).
Who to Go With
Who you choose to travel with can make or break a trip. Kids (I’m guessing) can be difficult and dragging them off to Ecuador to trek through the Amazon Rainforest might not be the best idea. I’ve seen people travelling with young kids in some pretty far-flung places though so it depends on the kids!
Holidays with significant others should be the easiest but that’s obviously not always the case. Friends can be hit or miss but I guess it’s easier to ditch them along the way!
If you’ve been waiting for someone to go with stop waiting and go alone. Solo travel can be scary to start with but you’ll never get a holiday more tailored to your needs than one done alone. You’ll likely meet people anyway and there’s nothing more freeing than travelling alone and having complete control over where you go and what you do.
Accommodation prices put a lot of people off from travelling, as are the steep airfares of 2023. Accommodation tends to suck up a lot of travel funds, but it’s worth looking into what you actually need out of a room and whether you can make some cuts. Do you really need to spend $400 on a nice hotel when you’re going to be out and about all day? You could stay in a cheaper hotel and then splash out for a night or two towards the end when you’re going to be relaxing.
We did this on our recent trip to Rarotonga — mostly cheaper hotels and resorts on our busier days but we splashed out on nicer resorts for a couple of nights when we knew we had the time to enjoy it. If I’m paying over $300 a night I’m not going to want to leave the resort!
Did this post make you think about your upcoming holiday plans? Let me know in the comments below!
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