Travel by numbers

A former colleague of mine has travelled to more than 100 countries. I don’t know if it’s his aim to visit them all, as others have done, but it’s a fairly impressive tally nonetheless.

We don’t all travel in the same way,

And, as far as I know, he doesn’t just dash in and out. He takes his time to see the sights, meet people and go off the beaten track. My country tally is about half of his, but I don’t see it as a competition.

We all approach travel in our own way.

My friend, who is about the same age as me, likes to hike and climb mountains, and isn’t afraid of sleeping rough. I prefer the creature comforts of cruise ships, five-star hotels and, when I can afford it or have enough loyalty points, business-class flights.

My point is that there is no “right” way of travel. You’ve got to find your groove, and choose your own itinerary, means of transport, accommodation and pace (which relies on the amount of time you have).

Of course, budget is often the determining factor. Travel costs a lot — and that’s why we should plan sensibly.

Cruising has its many attractions

One of the reasons I like cruises is that I can, more or less, control my spending. I pay for as much as possible upfront, so there are no nasty shocks on the credit-card bill.

Cruising is also a time efficient, because the ship is a floating resort. The travel that takes you to your destinations is also part of the holiday, and a much better way to spend your time than on planes or at airport check-in queues and departure gates.

When I’m cruising I can make decisions on the fly — both on the ship (a drink and a show, or a jog around the deck?*) and onshore (book an excursion, or take a self-guided tour?)

But cruising only gives you a short time in each port. I view it as a “taster” experience. If I like what I see, I can always go back and spend more time there. If I don’t, I haven’t wasted a lot of time and money.

My friend might argue that cruising is an artificial experience — and, to an extent, it is. If I only did cruises, then I would be missing out on a lot.

But he is now retired and he has a lot of time to see what he wants to see and do what he wants to do. More power to him.

Hanging around departure gates is no fun

Those of us who have just a few weeks here and there for holidays have to think a little more carefully about how we can best spend that precious time.

Of course, there are things other than holidays on which to spend your hard-earned money. But for me, not travelling is not an option.

*That one is a no-brainer.

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