Travel around the world like a grown up
Last night was the launch party for an exciting new project, Grantourismo. Grantourismo is a collaboration between the hugely successful Homeaway.co.uk vacation rental stable and vastly experienced travel writers Lara Dunston & Terence Carter. Lara and Terence get to travel the world for 12 months, staying in 24 vacation rental properties - and will be blogging their experience along the way.
It is not your typical way to travel the world, staying in luxury riverside penthouses in London but hey, we don’t all have to slum it in hostels. So for the grown up traveler, what is the best way to travel the world whilst avoiding the yoof backpacking party crowd? I’m thinking of young professionals on a career break or the retired baby boomer traveler.
Plan a well balanced diet of unplanned wandering, organized activities and longer stays in one place.
Traveller fatigue tends to settle in after 6 - 12 weeks on the road, you know it has hit when amazing sights bring only jaded cynicism, touts are brushed off with a well practiced withering stare and you start looking forward to nesting at Ikea. This is the time to settle in somewhere for a month or two, take it slowly and live like a local.
- Plan at least one treat and one adventure in each country you visit.
The problem with traveling for long periods is that you start getting wallet fatigue. A whole year of one-way wallet traffic and before you know it you are visiting Xian and refusing to pay the entrance fee for the Terracotta Warriors! The answer is to plan a treat and an adventure in each county in advance. For the treat, book yourself into a boutique hotel, plough through the huge breakfast, watch a film in your room and splash out on a really good meal. For the adventure, it doesn't have to be some kind of adrenaline kick, more something which gets you out of your comfort zone. Do your research, find a really good local guide for a mini expedition (at least three days) and do something you couldn’t do under your own steam. I can guarantee, these trips will be what you remember from your travels in 5 years time.
- Stay in other people's homes
Lara and Terry are staying in holiday rental properties. They will have an awesome base wherever they visit, somewhere to look forward to returning to each day. My only worry is how much opportunity they will have to meet other travellers. A possibly better option would be to opt for house swaps. Imagine planning a year of house swaps, going wherever the next swap comes from. With house swaps you really get to know a place. When we swapped houses last summer, we virtually stepped into our swapees lives for 6 weeks, jumped into their dinner party roster and had a ball. It is a great option if you've got kids too, our kids loved playing with someone else's toy collection! (So if a house swap company wanted to sponsor family Colclough for a year’s house swap travelling then please get in touch:-).
- Take your own home with you
Camper-vans are the obvious choice, or if you want to look a bit more rugged, a Land Rover with a roof top tent is perfect for an overland journey. The big problem with this has to be the fuel costs and this is where yachts come in. For the price of a good overland vehicle set up, you could easily cast out on the oceans with a second hand 30 footer. Rig yourself up with a decent set of sails and a wind-generator and you have a wallet friendly option that is also just about the most carbon conscious way to travel. The Pacific Islands, Thailand, Venuezuela and Australasia are all reachable. There is an incredible fraternity between fellow round the world sailors and you'll be well away from the usual banana pancake hotspots.
- Work for your keep
One of my biggest regrets from my own travels is not working on an organic farm, you’re keep is covered, and some hard yakka is definitely good for the soul, especially after years spent slave to a computer screen. Alternatively pick up a passion-skill before you travel. I didn’t fancy doing some dead end job, so secured my RYA sailing instructor badges beforehand. Whilst others were demonstrating irons in a suburban department store, I was teaching sailing in Syndey harbour for a couple of months.
You can read more about grantourismo on Heather's blog Heather on her travels.