The Best Way to Travel

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the best way to travel
The best way to travel?

Arguments can be seen all over the web about the best way to travel.

There are those who travel long term that shout the message far and wide that this is the only authentic and best way to travel. This in turn enrages those who choose not to travel like this, instead opting for four-week vacations, or luxury travel.

Words of rage and insult get flung towards each other, and justification rises to the surface.

There’s the whole idea of backpackers thinking they are more enlightened as they traipse around the globe for a year on only $5,000, and the belief that travellers who stay in luxury resorts are on total cop out mode and have no desire to experience the “real world.” (Enter terrible MTV reality shows)

My latest posts on independent travel verse guided tours, had me thinking about all these different forms of travel that are available to us, and which then would be the best way to travel.

We have more of a slow expat style of travel. We move to a country, for a couple of years, get to know the culture more deeply and then travel slowly around the surrounding countries.

Not only does it give you a long-term deeper experience, it is also a more economical friendly way of around the world travel. You don’t have to save as much money to go in the first place, and if you choose wisely, you can earn a strong local currency to travel on.

expat slow travel
With friends in Thailand

But, is this the best way to travel?

We would definitely, without a doubt, say it is. This is how we have lived a life of travel. And this is what we recommend to anyone who asks us what is the best way to travel.

But what we think is best, is not necessarily what is best for the person asking the question.

There is only one true answer to the question “What is the best way to travel?

And that is,

“What is the best way for you?”

I can’t decide that for you and I can’t judge you because of your final answer.

To be honest, I don’t really care how you eventually choose to travel, whether it be for a year long round the world, a week at a resort, or a weekend camping trip at your local national park. All I care is that you are doing something that you enjoy and makes you happy.

Koh Samui Beach Thailand beaches

Travel means its own thing to each person. I think the one common thing about it that we all share, is that in whatever form it takes in our lives, it brings us joy.

It gives us time to leave the dramas of our day behind, to relax, and to learn a little about ourselves and our world. It helps brings families and friends together, creating memories that will be talked about for many years to come. I love travel and I want everyone to do it because of the positive impact it has on our lives.

[ybox_large] Travel is wonderful, no matter what shape or form it takes. The form that best suits you is the best way to travel. [/ybox_large]

On our blog, we can help you to travel in the form that we have chosen as the best way to travel for us, or we can do our best to inspire you to see the world in a different way that you would like more.

Even though we are expat travellers, I’ll still relish the luxury travel opportunities that come my way–the two week beach resort getaway where I can just eat, swim, drink and have massages; and I’ll do the fly-by-night city whirlwind stopover tours too.

As long as I’m feeling the travel buzz, I’m doing it. And as long as you are feeling the buzz, then you keep doing it too, anyway you like.

There is no one best way to travel. Don’t compartmentalize your travel life into thinking there is. You will only miss out on incredible opportunities.

When you become so gung ho about your way of travel being the only way, then you’ll find yourself up late at night justifying that, perhaps with insults, in the comment boxes of blog posts.

And really who has time for that?

I barely have enough time to worry about what I’m doing.


60 thoughts on “The Best Way to Travel”

  1. Christy @ Technosyncratic

    I couldn’t agree more that each individual’s preferred mode of travel is the best option for them, period. I’ve run into a handful of people who have been convinved that “xyz type of travel” is the ONLY way to go if you’re a “real” traveler. My perspective is that you should do what you want and not give a damn. πŸ˜›

    We tend to vacillate between quick whirlwind travel and taking it really easy. We “live” on the road so it’s important for us to find something that’s sustainable – the only problem is that we haven’t quite found the most long-term sustainable option that works for us. Our typical pattern is to get excited and sightsee like mad, then get exhausted and hibernate. Rinse and repeat, lol.

    1. I’d love to know who defines what a “real” traveller is. πŸ™‚ I like your rinse and repeat method, it sounds similar to what we do.

  2. Great points.

    Travel as you are. There is no best way to travel. Just like there’s no best flavor of ice-cream. Just the best way for you.

    I gag when I meet travelers who think they are saving the world by traveling. Ulimately, people travel to meet their own needs, not anyone elses. And sometimes they do good things for others along the way (but not always).

    My favorite way to travel is to live and work in a foreign country, immerse myself in the culture and make it my base to do short trips & CouchSurf to neighboring countries.

    But working on a cruise ship is pretty good too πŸ™‚

    1. Working on a cruise ship would be pretty interesting. It is a great way to see the world. I think I would get cabin fever, but there are plenty of people who love cruises.

      It would be nice to think we could save the world by travelling. I think we can help to make it a better place, but anyone can do that whether they are travelling or not.

  3. Totally agree, everyone is different, there is no “best”. Everyone has that *one thing* that they must have that everyone else rolls their eyes at.

    While I roll my eyes at people whose heads are stuck in laptops, iphones, etc, I know everyone rolls their when I (99% of the time) insist on my own room, even though I travel solo. I know it’s a waste, but I would be miserable during the day if I didn’t have it that way.

  4. Hi Caz,
    It is funny because I have been thinking about this topic during the week.

    I would say the best way of travel for me is independent and fast (due to the lack of time I have sometimes). But thinking about this for a moment, makes me reach the conclusion that sometimes I don’t care about the way I travel as long as I am on the road. If I have to backpack, travel at a slow pace, travel for a short period of time, go on a tour, go independent, go on an adventure trip, stay in a hostel, motel or hotel, I will do it. As long as I am on the road, learning, knowing people and having fun, I am up to it.

  5. Like Ruth, I was also thinking of this topic last week…must be something going around the blogosphere πŸ™‚ I was answering a question about what our website name (Uncornered Market) meant and how it relates to travel. In addition to some of the standard answers (open discussion, exchange of ideas, no monopoly, etc.), I realized that the way I think of it in terms of travel is that there is an uncornered market on how to travel. No one way is the “right” way, each person needs to figure out what works best for him/her – whether that’s backpacking for $5,000/year or spending $5,000 on one week of luxury. No one way is inherently better than the other; what’s more important is that people are choosing their way of travel deliberately and within their values/goals and not just following what others are doing.

    Thanks for the food for thought.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Audrey. I like the meaning behind your site’s name. Life would be pretty boring if we all travelled the same way. Imagine all the massages you could get if you spent $5,000 in a week? I don’t think I could ever say no to that.

    1. We love living as foreigners. We actually feel more the foreigner when we return home to live. It is such a great way to travel, but I know so many people would hate that style.
      I really enjoyed your post and I completely agree. We love the fact that we have so many homes around the world now. I couldn’t call these places home, if I only passed by them briefly on a rtw tour. We have made so many wonderful friendships because of it as well.
      I like your new header by the way!

    1. I always say “other people’s opinion of me is none of my business!”
      I think it is always so interesting to hear travel stories from others who travel in a different way to me. It always sounds exciting!

  6. Have to agree Caz, the best way to travel is the one that suits you the best. Travel isn’t like bomb defusal.. there’s more than one right way to go about it!

  7. jamie - cloud people adventures

    i think travel means different things to different people. for some, its about seeing as many things as possible. others, its about getting immersed in the culture. like you said, if youre not hurting anyone, who really cares? we choose a similar style to yourselves (as is detailed in our latest post haha). nice one caz!

  8. You know I really prefer to rent an apt out and have a place to come back and stay. I dont envy the backpackers that have to go from hostel to hostel. I really like to be able to come back to a place that I call home and relax during the week and then do it all over again on a weekend or a week long trip. But it is suited to personal preference!

    1. That sounds like a really relaxing way to travel. It would help you get to know a place so much more as well. Now that we are moving into more digital nomads rather than job expat travellers, we might look to this option more.

  9. I’ve changed the way I’ve traveled as I’ve gotten older. When I was younger it was about fitting as much in as possible resulting in me being totally exhausted. Now, I also prefer to spend more time in one place and explore from there, which I enjoy much more and meet more interesting people this way as well.

    1. It’s sad how that youthful energy fades as we get older. I know what you mean about taking it much slower now. You understand how it’s not about quantity but quality- the making of the memories.

  10. I couldn’t agree more! I can’t tell you how many people criticized us online when the Boston Globe reported that we sold our things and spent our savings to take a year long RTW trip to explore, volunteer and raise money for charity. We are being as economical as we can, but traveling fast to see many countries when we aren’t volunteering to make the more of the time we have. It works for us, and we’ve raised $127,000 for charity to boot. To each his own. That’s what makes meeting people around the world so special – everyone is different.

    1. Wow! I’m so glad you didn’t listen to the critics. What an awesome adventure you are having and doing something so wonderful for others at the same time. I will never understand why people think it is their business to criticize you for doing what ever you want with your life.

  11. I find people are as self-righteous with the best way to travel as the best way to live life.

    I’m not going to tell someone that those two weeks a year they love spending on a cruise ship is any better or worse than what I do.

    When I was younger sure crossing off countries on a list was great, now I’m less concerned with that. But it’s the journey, if I hadn’t been that way back then I wouldn’t be where I am today.

    Just as we say live and let live we should just say travel and let travel.

    1. Exactly. I know everyone gets excited about the way they travel, but that doesn’t mean its the best way for everyone else. I have plenty of friends who love to go away on shorter vacations, but would hate the way I travel. That doesn’t mean they don’t have just as much fun as what I do.

  12. I agree with you here. There is way to much animosity between travelers who say they have it right. The worst thing about it is often the ones that are saying other are wrong are the ones that try to talk themselves up as true travelers and all-around peaceful beings. By judging others they are just proving that they are hypocrites.

    When I first started traveling I didn’t understand why someone would only want to travel in luxury, spending so much money and never seeing anyone but the person you are traveling with. Now I understand the beauty of what that means to those people and why it can even be nice for my SOMETIMES.

    I’ve only ever traveled as an expat and because I have lack of resources to have a long-term job (on purpose) I prefer that because I can work any job in any country.

    One day I would like to save up a sum of money and do a semi-big backpacking trip too though.

    1. I think the longer you’ve spent backpacking the more you come to love the idea of luxury travel. When my brother got married in Cape Town, we hired this mansion for a week. There were twelve of us staying in the house, we had our own maid, private pool, and views of Table Mountain. It was so great!!!!!
      I could definitely do more of it. We still got out and about and mixed with the locals. We just had luxury to come home to.

      We travel as expats for the same reasons, although we have done big backpacking trips with the foreign currency we have been able to save

  13. I agree that there’s no ‘best way to travel’… it depends not only on the person’s personality, but also on how much money they have and the length of stay. If you only have a weekend, ‘slow travel’ is simply not possible. Then again, a whirlwind tour of all tourist attractions day after day for a year is something I’m happy to let the more ‘professional’ travelers a try. I think I’d die…

    Varieties for us is important. Some days it’ll be hectic, then we’ll take a weekend to rest and enjoy. Some days we decide to bum it out and go all cheapskate and the next day we’ll clean ourselves up in a nice hotel.

    1. I think its’ good to take it day by day and be able to have different choices. We do a lot more hotel stays now we have our daughter, but we still camp and stay in hostels. Options are great!

  14. hey thanks for sharing, I agree with what you and most of the other comments are saying that there is no right way to travel, just different ways.

    The way we choose to travel is entirely personal and dependent on our individual circumstances. Travelling around the World in one long extended trip is obviously a dream for many but will seem impossible to others with families and 9-5 jobs.

    My own personal travel experiences have been a mix of military expeditions for several weeks or even months at a time, general vacationing with friends and more recently solo travel for several weeks at a time.

    I am curently planning a RTW for a year as my circumstances now suit this, although that is because I have made the decision to make it so, believing this will give me the best opportunity to visit as many destinations as possible, on a limited budget. I also think the journey itself will be almost as interesting as the places I will visit.

    We cannot all choose to travel this way otherwise the World would pretty much grind to a halt around us while we travel, so I am thankful to those that remain in fulltime ‘service’ orientated employment travelling for two or three weeks each year. Life would be a little more difficult without them.

    Anybody that has made the choice to travel and expand their individual horizons whichever way they choose to do so has made an important decision and as long as we all make the most of our opportunities and respect the choices of others we can all enjoy our travelling experience whether it lasts one week a year or several years.

    Once again thank you for sharing and providing such a stimulating subject.

    1. Obviously I would love if everyone traveled, just because I know how much joy it brings. However, I often think what would happen to the world if we did, as there would be no one running anything. So I am really grateful for those who do not travel and decide to stay home and run the world for us.
      Makes me realize that when I am not travelling, I am just taking my turn in contributing to world order πŸ™‚

  15. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. There is no one best way to travel, it will vary from person to person. For me right now, the best way to travel is in short burst with short periods of working in between. My job allows for this and it makes the most since to me. Not to mention I still get to be home for part of the year and experience everything that family and friends at home have to offer. The best of both worlds for me πŸ™‚

  16. Oh gosh, I wish EVERY travel blogger could read this post. I am so sick and tired of people claiming their way is the best way!!! As long as you’re traveling who cares for how many days and where you’re staying!

    1. Exactly Andi. I wish everyone would stop worrying about have a better life than everyone else and just make it the best for themselves. Let others do what they like. I get excited for anyone who is travelling, no matter what their chosen style may be.

  17. I thought this was a really great post. I can’t disagee with you here! It is great to finally come across a post that puts the idea of “whats best for a individuals travel experience” in its proper perspective. Also I never thought about adopting a slow expat style of travel to make my trip more affordable. That makes sense. And I can see how that would allow me to get more out of my travels. Thanks

    1. It really is a great way to do it cheaply Eugene. Especially if you can organize a job before hand with a company that pays for your flight and maybe accommodation. I had my flights covered to the US twice and my accommodation covered in Bangkok.

  18. We’ve set up a base in Bali for a month, so it’s interesting to read this post, as I’ve never lived an expat life. I’m a great believer in travelling slowly, but I can understand, also, why people want to travel fast, especially if they haven’t travelled much before.

    I know quite a few luxury travellers, whose experiences are different from the budget traveller, but work for them. I guess, really, the question comes down to what people really want to get out of travel. You can get a lot of magic out of a weekend in a city you don’t know. And some people are whirlwind minded…

    It’s refreshing to see a post that’s not arguing that anyone who’s not travelling longterm is somehow missing out on living the dream. Not everyone wants to travel longterm, not by a long shot.

    1. Everyone is living a different dream! Long term travel can be very tough and sometimes not very enjoyable. A lot of people don’t want to travel in this way.
      I love the sound of your Bali base for a month.

  19. I couldn’t have said it better myself. There’s a “right” way to travel for every individual, but not for everyone as a whole. And I’m certainly not about to judge someone else for their travel style just because it may differ from mine.

    As far as I’m concerned, as long as you’re traveling, that’s great. The how, where and why are really just extra details.

  20. Love this post. I was thinking about the subject, too recently. The only thing I would add is that however you decide to travel (and it might be different ways on different occasions) always travel with an open mind, and a willingness to learn and experience. Even if you are closeted in a five star hotel just to wind down on a stressful life, you can still learn.

  21. For me, if its my first time to visit a certain country, i prefer to have a guided tour but for the 2nd or 3rd time, I act as the official guide of our family , which has been my travelling buddies…

  22. I think we can all agree that the best way to travel is with a bottle of wine!

    As for the rest, I’ve been having a great time with the backpacking route. I laughed when I read your remark about traveling for a year on $5,000. I’m sure it’s possible :).

    My greatest successes have been with CouchSurfing and hitch hiking. Any instance where I’m putting myself in the trust of others has always been mind expanding.

    I agree, whatever makes you happy. That is the simplest and best strategy for every day of my life.

    I like your idea about living in a country for a few years and then moving. I plan to do that when I get a bit older and grow tired of backpacking. How do you manage with visas and the like?

    Great post. I enjoyed reading it.

    1. I like your way of thinking Ross! Everything in life is better with a bottle of wine. Visas can be a bit tricky, especially when you get too old for a lot of the working holiday programs. We got the working holiday visa for Ireland okay and for England for me. For the US and Thailand we were sponsored. Now that we are moving into more digital nomad work we will only have to worry about doing tourist visa runs in countries.

  23. I’m so glad you tweeted this older article! I am new to blogging about my own travels and the world of travel blogs (while of course I’ve always loved traveling). I have loved so many of the blogs and articles that I’ve found, but they kind of started to make me question if I was a “real traveler” because it isn’t my full-time lifestyle or because I haven’t been to so many places. It’s just nice to be reminded that it’s ok to have a different style or even be at a different point in your life. That message seems to get lost. So thanks again!

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