Travelers and travel bloggers have a few things in common; wanderlust for one, and second, friends and relatives who think of us as their go-to sources for travel information and planning. I, for one, love planning trips; I plan trips all the time just for fun.
As travelers, we also know that a trip and a destination are as individual as the person taking it. So, to help find out what kind of vacation my friends and relatives are looking for (particularly when they don’t have a clue), I created a questionnaire to help give me a jumping off point for planning an awesome trip. It’s got to be awesome, we have reputations to keep.
I’ll walk you through the questionnaire to help you understand how we use it and why we ask each question.
The first question is very important:
How much time do you have? 3-4, 5-7, 8-10 days
Why ask this question? You don’t want to propose sending someone to Hawaii from New York if they just have a long weekend, no matter how good the deal on the flight is. You’ll eat up half the time in the airport and on the plane and, as a general rule, you want to spend as little time traveling and as much time at the destination as possible.
The second question is equally important for planning the perfect trip:
What kind of traveler are you? 0 = Stay in Room 10 = Go, Go! Every moment packed with activity.
You don’t want to suggest a driving vacation through the English countryside to someone who wants to spend all day by a resort pool. I did that driving vacation once, 1,000 miles in 10 days, exploring England and let me tell you it was neat, but I was exhausted at the end and needed a week to recuperate.
A suggestion in travel style and budget also helps with the planning. I have many different types in my own family; my sister-in-law likes the white glove service of a fine hotel, my sister on the other hand will camp in her own backyard because in her words “it’s fun”.
What kind accommodations do you like? 0 = camping/hostel 10 = White Glove Four Seasons
If you’ve been following our blog you know Amanda and I have a clear preference with this next one.
What kind of cultural experience do you like? 0 = the resort bubble 10 = cultural immersion/museums/tours/local restaurants
I ask this question because I know there are a lot of people out there who see any unfamiliar street as “dangerous” and shy away from “strange” foods (even if it’s similar to a familiar dish, just called something else). I know some people just want to eat their pizza and Cesar salad when abroad, but dude, really?
The question also applies to activities like historical tours, visiting monuments and museums. I agree, you don’t have to visit every little museum but you should at least hit the highlights, you wouldn’t go to Rome without visiting the Coliseum.
I then build off of the cultural experience portion of the survey and ask what they like to do, or want to try to do:
What kind of activity do you like? Sit on beach, Hike/bike, Snorkel, People Watching, Wave Runners, Pool, Sailing, Wine Tasting, Clubbing, Scuba Diving, Shopping
If they say their level of activity is zipping around on a wave runner, you’d better be sure you place them somewhere they have access to wave runners.
You also want to ask how they like to get away, are they looking to get away from it all or just enjoy time in a different setting. I’d never send someone to New York if they wanted to get away from it all or put them in Cancun and not Playa del Carmen if they wanted to relax.
Do you want to be on: 0 deserted island – 10 Vegas Strip
In my travels, I’ve found some places have different lives depending on the time of day. The island of Ios, Greece is a quiet, sun-soaked island during the daylight hours. But a few hours after sundown, the youth visiting the island come out of their hiding places and hit the discos and bars and party until the sun comes up. If you’ve gotten “old” and can’t do the late night partying anymore, you can still have a wonderful time. So ask your would-be traveler:
Would you rather turn in early or stay out late?
Keep in mind the answer could still lead you to the same place.
And, at last, the question that prompted us to start this blog:
Do you want to visit a place frequented by couples or somewhere more family-centric?
You know our answer. Know the answer for the traveler you’re helping.
I hope this questionnaire helps you find a jumping off point when you get asked that question, where should I go on vacation?
How much time do you have?
3-4, 5-7, 8-10 days
What kind of traveler are you?
0 = Stay in Room 10 = Go, Go, Every moment packed
What kind accommodations do you like?
0 = camping/hostel 10 = White Glove Four Seasons
What kind of Cultural experience do you like?
0 = the resort bubble 10 = cultural emersion/museums/tours/locals restaurants
What kind of activity do you like?
Sit on beach
Do you want to be:
0 deserted island – 10 Vegas
Eat Local Traditional or eat American Traditional?
Turn in early or stay out late?
Family or Couples-focused?