You know what? Short trips can totally suck. Sure, the experiences you have are still fantastic, but believe us when we say that there’s also a lot to hate about shorter holidays!
We’ve written previously about why we’ve chosen long-term travel over the standard 2-4 week vacation each year and the week we spent in South East Asia recently simply reaffirmed that decision. Traveling slowly is going to provide us with much greater enjoyment on our travels and bigger rewards at the conclusion of our journey.
That’s not saying that we didn’t enjoy our time in Singapore and the Philippines (quite the contrary!), but 7 flights in 7 days staying at 5 different hotels/hostels was just way too much over a short time-frame! Here were the major downsides of our fast-paced traveling style:
The costs add up quicker!
Even though we were flying budget air carriers, the cost of 7 flights in 7 days added up significantly! When you’ve got a set time-frame for your travels, your choice in transportation modes is extremely limited, particularly when you have to be somewhere on a certain day like we had to for my parents’ Filipino wedding. As a result, we spent a lot more than we wanted to on airfares and accommodation and were at the mercy of our schedule.
Our discovery: Traveling slower keeps your costs down – transport options are greater (and cheaper as a result) and you can definitely save money on accommodation the longer you stay in the one place.
Things are more likely to go wrong and affect your plans
We nearly learned this the hard way – if one of your flights happens to be cancelled or severely delayed then you’re pretty much screwed! Even in the best case scenario, you miss a few hours of your precious vacation time and can go on and enjoy the rest of your holidays. But as we said, worst case scenario nearly became a reality for us!
After arriving at Darwin Airport on our way to Singapore, we had 90 minutes until our connecting flight. Unfortunately Darwin decided to turn on the lightning, stranding us on the tarmac for nearly an hour! Surely our connecting flight would be delayed, right? Wrong! We finally got off our first plane and realized that the boarding gates were closing for our next flight and we were being paged over the airport’s PA system. Fortunately we made our flight but had we missed it, our entire week’s plans would have been in disarray!
Our discovery: When traveling on a highly organized vacation, one single problem can result in major inconvenience for the rest of the holiday! Always have a Plan B where possible to avoid stress and panic. And don’t assume that the airline will wait for you even if you have a connecting flight!
We were constantly on the move
When you have 6 nights accommodation in 5 different locations, you just don’t have time to get settled anywhere! It becomes a boring, repetitive routine – arrive, unpack, explore for a few hours, sleep, pack, depart. Doesn’t sound like much fun, eh? It wasn’t, let us tell you. We’d much rather spend a minimum of a couple of nights in each place and this is a rule we’re going to stick to on our round-the-world trip.
Our discovery: Long-term travel allows you to settle in and really have time to explore and discovery what a destination has to offer. But even if you’re on a short vacation, slow down! Try to spend at least 3 nights in each destination.
We were always tired
Trying to squeeze as much as possible into a short time-frame really takes it toll after just a couple of days and we were totally exhausted. After 4 nights in budget accommodation and arriving back into Singapore after midnight, we decided to upgrade our accommodation to a nicer hotel for one night just so we could get a decent night’s sleep and recharge the batteries. Definitely one of the best decisions we made all trip!
Our discovery: Rest days are extremely important! And when necessary, go ahead – splurge and upgrade your accommodation! Hostels are great for the budget, but being kept awake until 4am by the karaoke bar next door isn’t!
Keeping a schedule is overrated
This was probably the biggest downside of the way we traveled! Even though we tried to be as flexible as we possibly could, when you only have a few spare hours in one place then you’re definitely gonna want to be ticking things off a list. Unfortunately, you miss out on so much – for example, we got to see Marina Bay Sands in Singapore but just didn’t have time to go up and check out the SkyPark which is something we really wanted to do.
Our discovery: Having plenty of flexibility in your schedule is crucial. You need to find time to do what you really want to do (and also allow time for the unplanned!).
Do you prefer squeezing as much as you can into your itinerary? Or are you like us and prefer to travel slower so that you have time to really enjoy and connect with your destination?
Flickr Photo: framestealer