But before you start coveting their trip and Instagram pics, ask yourself: does it suit your travel style or are you just suffering from FOMO?
You might admire another’s travels but the key to the most fulfilling journeys is finding ones that are meaningful to you. Of course there’s no wrong way to travel, but there is a wrong way for you.
Figuring out your travel style is an evolution that starts with knowing yourself: What do you like and what do you want to see or experience?
Do you really want to go trekking in Mongolia or is it just something you want to say to sound adventurous (while secretly sweating bullets)?
And when your brother starts boasting about how many countries he’s visited, does it spark your competitive fire, even though you have no desire to whip around the world just to collect passport stamps?
Start by making a checklist for the types of destinations and ways of travel that truly speak to you.
With the dizzying array of tours on offer – and infinite how-to guides for self-guided travel – you don’t have to worry about being able to find the perfect trip, only about knowing which one is right for you.
ARE YOU BETTER OFF ALONE?
Solo travel is deliciously enticing because what you do is entirely up to you. It also builds resilience, through fighting the fear of going it alone, then not feeling sorry for yourself but embracing it. Travelling solo also forces you to be more present. You’ll notice more, probably speak to people you would have skipped over if you were travelling with a partner or friends, and have the space to think deeper and appreciate more.
MANIPULATE TIME TO SUIT YOU
A friend of mine (who also happens to be a travel agent) has an incredible ability to ram three months worth of adventures into a two-week holiday, with sightseeing tours locked in months before departure. Her itineraries are finely tuned machines.
I’ve done trips this way in the past but have realised I would now rather stay put in one place for a longer time. That’s why during three months in Mexico, I settled for seven weeks in one small town. Seeing “less” on paper, to me, translates into actually seeing and experiencing more on the ground.
DON’T BE A SHEEP
There’s no point copying an adventure trip friends have done if you really wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it yourself. While it’s good to challenge yourself and do things that scare you, let your intuition be a guide as to the level of risk right for you.
On the other end of the scale, just because everyone is going on a cruise, doesn’t mean you have to.
YOU CAN GO YOUR OWN WAY
There’s no rule book that says you have to visit the Vatican when you’re in Rome. And just because you’re headed to New Zealand doesn’t mean you have to go bungee jumping.
Maybe Rome for you is about ticking off gelato flavours over monuments, and an adrenaline rush in New Zealand is hiring a van and setting off without a plan.
YOUR STYLE WILL BE AN EVOLUTION
Age, interests, finances, family – they all have an effect on who we are as travellers and the style in which we prefer to see the world.
My own travel style is about to change dramatically, with my first baby due in eight weeks’ time. And so this will be my last How I Travel column for a little while but I look forward to bringing you tales from “around the world with a baby strapped to my chest” soon.
It’ll be Insta-perfect, right?