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One Size Travel Does Not Fit All

There are many misunderstandings in the travel community. “Hard-core” backpackers are often “cruise-haters.” They raise their nose and discredit their travel experience as nothing more than superficial. Cruisers sometimes hear about taking buses, packing up their stuff every couple days, staying in hostels, and sharing bathrooms and think that’s a horrible way to spend a vacation! Still others ask if you ever left the all-inclusive resort to explore the area and get connected with the community. There are as many purposes as routes of travel. The most common assumption that leads to these misunderstandings is that every traveler has the same goal.

Want to Get Away from it All?
Each traveler has a unique set of goals, expectations, and desired outcomes for their trip. The choices they make directly reflect those goals. For example, if they’re looking for a break from the rat-race and simply want to recharge their batteries, an all-inclusive resort would fit the bill perfectly. They simply need to book their hotel and airfare and the only other decisions they will have are which cocktails to order, to swim in the pool or beach, and which free restaurant should they dine in that evening. They will know exactly how much they’re going to spend and never have to take out their wallet again. They could wear a swim suit the entire time if they wanted to and drink things like crazy monkey and coco loco right out of a coconut.

Sounds like they would have chosen well for their goals. Someone staying in an all-inclusive resort is not looking to study how the indigenous live, learn a multitude about a new culture, or are hoping to explore and pack their days with activities. Rather, they want to get the most out of their hard earned money and recharge their “soul-ar” batteries.

Want to Learn Something New?
Backpackers or budget travelers are usually aimed at getting to know new cultures and new ways of living. This is why they try to assimilate and rubbing elbows with the locals in the buses, and non-touristy regions. They want to get down to the authentic essence of a region. They are explorers looking to make new discoveries, challenge themselves, grow personally and spiritually, and refocus their priorities on human connection instead of consumerism. You can see why they may not understand the point in all-inclusive resorts and cruises if they are looking at travel from this vantage. But as a backpacker myself, once I experienced each type of travel I really cherish what each method does for me.

Different Needs for Different People
My first cruise was spent with my ex-girlfriend’s family, a group of 13. I usually don’t enjoy group travel because there are too many people to please, and it feels a bit like herding a partially unhappy flock. Even meeting up for dinner can be an ordeal, just getting 13 people to show up when they are supposed to is challenging. Thank god for cruises. A cruise has may perks. There is entertainment going on almost every hour of the day and each of your group members can feel free to do whatever they want. You can opt in or sit it out without guilt or worry where you will meet up with them next, because that’s what dinner is for. Plus you can plan a few excursions together. It’s the perfect amount of freedom and togetherness. Plus, you can’t loose each other on the ship.

Another great feature of cruises is that you wake up everyday in a new place and are provided a sneak preview of each destination. Sure, you won’t get the essence of a place, but you will get a taste and that is enough to know if you may want to plan a special trip there sometime in the future. Also, there are some awesome excursions that allow you unique experiences like receiving a slimy back rub from wild manta rays, swimming with dolphins, zip-lining, and much more. Plus, you can enjoy life on the water, you could: read a book on the deck while overlooking endless sea, enjoy taking a dip in the adults only pool, watch a movie under starlight on the main deck from your hot tub, enjoy the onboard entertainment (including comedy shows, battling pianos, and jazz), eat as much as you’d like, and enjoy the onboard gym, spa, and track.

Vacations of all sizes, shapes, and costs can nourish your soul, recharge your batteries, and cause personal growth. Let’s stop comparing with each other trying to decide who the “real traveler” is and realize that we are all doing it right. After all, one-size travel doesn’t fit all. One more thing, don‘t knock it until you’ve tried it.

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