Over the years, we have experienced all sorts of travel types. We’ve traveled alone and with friends, with family and with kids. We’ve explored locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. We’ve taken almost every type of transportation and indulged in a wide variety of activities. And we’ve been on the road for quick overnights, your standard two-week vacations, and months-long living abroad. How do each of these compare, and which is right for you?
Let’s find out!
One of the first things you quickly learn is the people with whom you like to travel. Do you have a partner who loves to travel as much as you do? Do you enjoy setting out on your own? Do you believe the more the merrier?
Solo travel (A)
Solo travel is great for the truly adventurous. You want to set out and blaze your own path, answering to no one’s schedule other than your own. You are strong and organized, and you revel in the idea of finding out who you truly are. You aren’t afraid to be alone.
Solo travel can be excellent for the really independent, and you’re more likely to make new friends on the road. But it’s also scary and should not be undertaken lightly, as you have no safety net – no one to guide you. If you’re interested in learning more about solo travel, we love reading Elle Burne’s blog, Travelling the World Solo.
Couple’s travel (C)
Traveling with a significant other is an amazing experience. You both get to share in all the experiences, and you can divide the work of planning. You always have someone to pose in your photos, and you can sample twice as many local dishes. Hotel rooms are also half the cost!
Traveling as a couple will both challenge you and enrich you. It’s our preferred method of traveling. So if you want to know more about it, you’re already in the right place! Find out who we are and get started with some of our favorite articles here!
Traveling with little ones (K)
Families can be defined in many ways, but for the sake of this section, we want to focus on the concept of “family travel” explicitly including traveling with kids. This adds a whole new dynamic to your trips. If you’re a family traveler, you believe travel is one of the best educators, and you value experiences over toys.
However, it’s also challenging. Little feet can’t travel as far or for as long. There’s more to coordinate, and some activities have to be saved for later ages. So you have perfected the art of gauging energy levels and planning frequent breaks. But seeing the sheer wonder in the eyes of those you love most is incredibly rewarding, and you wouldn’t want to travel without them.
If you want to read more about family travel, we recommend Bambinos Without Borders.
Traveling with friends (F)
If you have friends who share in your wanderlust, traveling with them can be fun! You already enjoy spending time with them, and they encourage new experiences by discovering hikes or museums that you might have overlooked. You aren’t as similarly-minded as you are with your significant other, so this really adds some spice to your travels.
We have done this a number of times, from Yosemite National Park to Norway. We have also traveled a lot with my parents, and we recently hiked all over Patagonia with my dad. While this might seem more like family travel, because we aren’t towing little ones, this feels more like vacationing with good friends. (And I love traveling with my parents!)
Traveling with strangers (S)
You are the outgoing traveler! You don’t want to travel alone, and you love meeting new people. You don’t mind joining a tour to give you the comfort of not being alone without trying to convince your friends to take a trip with you. We usually do this through Couchsurfing. It’s a great way to get a local’s perspective and get an insider’s scoop! The best part about traveling with strangers is you often go home as friends.
Distance from home
How far do you actually like to venture? Do you want to stay close to home, or do you want to discover the most exotic place you can find?
Local travel (L)
Traveling close to home is probably one of the most underrated segments of travel. After all, you live there; why would you want to vacation there as well? We often don’t realize how many amazing things our own backyard has until we have visitors. And we’ve even become tourists in our own state after leaving and realizing all the things we missed.
The joy of living in a place means you can explore deeper to the lesser-known areas and discover some of the hidden gems. But as this type of traveler, you already know this! You’ve learned that you shouldn’t overlook local travel!
Regional travel (R)
Traveling regionally usually means you can keep to the car and not bother with a flight. Leave your shoes on, and pack the full-sized toothpaste! This is the sweet spot for road trips. Whether you’re venturing out for just a weekend at the beach or a full week at your closest national park, this type of trip is for those who want to really explore without much expense. You’re also still close enough to home to easily return at a moment’s notice, but you get far enough to feel the thrill of travel.
National travel (N)
Depending on how large your country is and your local border restrictions, this type of travel might actually encompass neighboring nations. Generally, this is where flights come in. You now have to be careful with what you pack and be sure to include the personal in-flight entertainment.
However, this lets you get to the farthest reaches of what you still consider “home” without the burden of a passport. Many people never travel beyond these borders. And if you live in a country as diverse as ours, you might never feel the need.
International travel (I)
Here’s where you pull out all the stops. International travel is reserved for those who embrace the different – different cultures, different foods, different languages, beautifully different people. You might discover some new ways of thinking, and it will truly stretch your comfort zone.
This is the scariest type of travel because you will be the farthest from anything you call home. But this is also where you grow and have the most awakening moments of your life. The world is a phenomenal place, and you want to see it all.
Aaron’s very first international trip was to Japan – talk about different! We were dazzled by all the country had to offer, and we can’t wait to return!
What do you like to do when you travel? Are you active, constantly seeking adventure? Or would you rather relax on a sunny beach with a colorful cocktail?
Organized tours (T)
This is your safest type of travel. You don’t have to think about what to do or where to sleep. Someone has done all the heavy-lifting for you, and you can just sit back and enjoy a pre-packaged itinerary.
You’re on someone else’s schedule, but you don’t mind. There are varying levels of involvement with tours, so you can find those that are a bit less structured if you prefer. These also come with a much higher price tag. You’re paying for someone else to plan the trip, but this is well worth the lack of stress of having to plan everything yourself.
Cruises are slightly different from tours in that the route and port stops are predetermined, but you have the freedom to choose your activities in between. Resorts are the fixed version, with similar freedoms when you leave. With either, you can elect to join excursions (either organized by the resort or cruise) or just explore on your own.
This would also include a Disney vacation; the resort is just much larger!
You want to explore an area and take the resort with you. You adore cute coastal towns. Or you just want to pamper yourself. Resorts have a lot to offer. You love those lazy sunny days by the beach, engaging lectures, fascinating shows, decadent foods, and endless drinks.
At the other end of the spectrum are the Do-It-Yourself travelers. You fit into this category if you prefer to plan everything on your own. You’re a Pinterest wiz, and you want to call all the shots. You like to explore cities one day and go for an epic hike the next. And because you control your trip, you can change your days according to the weather or your mood.
You enjoy a variety of itineraries, so you don’t fit into someone else’s cookie-cutter. You save money by planning everything yourself, but you guarantee every trip is completely bespoke and unique to YOU.
Backpacking/Van life (B)
These are the extreme DIY-ers! Not only do you arrange everything yourself, you take it a step further and bring your home with you. Whether you carry it on your back and hitchhike to the next beautiful forest or you’ve custom-built a van into a mobile tiny home, you are hardcore! You have the ultimate freedom of being able to stop anywhere and go wherever the wind takes you.
This also includes you if you pack your entire life up into an RV or camper van. We are even friends with a couple who lived on a sailboat (with two cats)! It takes a lot of dedication to bring your home along for the ride, and you are the embodiment of the word “nomad.”
How much do you want to spend when you travel? While I’m sure most of us might say “as little as possible,” that also translates into the type of experience. Having a higher price point can mean the difference between a hostel and a hotel. How much are you willing to spend for your traveling experience?
Luxury vacation (L)
We all deserve a bit of pampering every now and then. Our ordinary lives are so… ordinary. So why not splurge when we travel?
If you are a luxury traveler, you are sparing no expense to have the best time you possibly can. Hotel rooms with a view (and in-room jacuzzi, of course!), wine, unforgettable meals, and ultimate comfort. You love all-inclusive resorts and warm beaches with ever-flowing colorful drinks. And you’ll happily sign up for a food tour or gondola ride. Price doesn’t really matter, because you’ve saved up for this experience; you deserve it.
Budget travel (B)
At the other end of the spectrum is the budget traveler. Whether you have money to burn or not, you prefer to retain as much of it as you can. After all, every dollar saved today means more days you can travel. You want to be on the road as long as possible, and you want to experience as many things as you can before you run out of funds. Therefore, it’s imperative that you make it stretch as much as possible.
You enjoy shopping locally and cooking your own food. You’re no stranger to hostels, but you much prefer free lodging options. You are the ultimate deal-shopper, flying standby and taking the midnight bus. Perhaps you skip the expensive drinks, or you pass on the premium tour package. Maybe you hitchhike. Either way, you get a rush out of saving a few dollars while on the road. You love traveling, and you’ll make whatever financial sacrifices you need to to keep doing it.
Mid-grade travel (M)
These travelers fall somewhere in the middle of the two extremes above. You’re financially conscious, but not to the point of letting it impact your travels. You splurge on the really important things – a nice dinner for a special occasion, a fancy hotel in your favorite city. But you try to shave off the dollars elsewhere to make up for it.
Hostels aren’t your first choice, but neither are hotels (you’re probably an Airbnb-er). You’ll rent a car when you need to, but you’re not afraid to hop the bus. You travel comfortably but not lavishly.
How long do you like to be on the road? Can you only spare a weekend, or do you want to “get away” for as long as possible?
These are the quick little getaways. You probably prefer these if you love to just escape for a short time before diving back into life. Maybe you have kids or pets you can’t (or would rather not) take with you. You don’t want to be gone for too long, so you keep your excursions short.
Weeks-long vacation (V)
The vacation is perfect to get a solid breather from the daily grind. You have time unwind and forget about the mundane – drink in the morning and stay up far too late. You can go on adventures and explore a new place in depth (or see a few new places). However, you’re probably keeping the travel time to under 10 hours (after all, your time is limited).
Months-long sabbatical (S)
At this point, the entire world is up for grabs. You don’t mind losing a day (or more) to travel, because you have a few to spare. With trips lasting in the months, you have the opportunity to actually live abroad. You can plant yourself in one place, establish a routine, and live like a local. Or you can take the time to explore an entire region of the world and check off a bunch of places from your list.
However, this is still short enough that you don’t have to quite worry about working abroad or visiting a foreign clinic for your annual checkup. Your trip has an end, even if it isn’t a set date. You have a home to come home to.
Permanent nomad (N)
Finally, we have the nomad. You are the true traveler of the world. You’ve left it all behind, and there’s no turning back! You don’t necessarily call any single place home. There’s too much to see in the world, so you are likely frequently on the move. However, because you have nowhere to be, you can choose to stay somewhere for a longer period. You can dive deep into each location or leave whenever you want.
You probably live off of SIM cards, and you’ve had your hair cut in a foreign country. You are likely a digital nomad or you have an online business to fund your travels. Your passport (and probably your camera) is your most prized possession. And you never want to be confined to a job again.
If this sounds like the kind of travel you’ve always wished to do, we want to teach you how to make it happen! Read more here.
Which are you?
Do you love to take road trips with your kids to your regional parks (KRYLV)? Or are you a brave solo traveler backpacking across Europe (AIBBS)?
We’re CIYMN! We are an international couple permanently traveling on our own itinerary on a mid-grade budget. And we can’t wait to hit the road once more!
What kind of traveler are you?
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