My parents and I are avid travelers. For as long as I can remember, we’d pack our bags and take off, exploring an unknown land over the summer. We’ve traveled as a family to more than 10 cities around the world, but no two holidays have ever been the same.
Our first family holiday I vividly remember was back in third grade when we went to Athens, Greece. Until then, we had never ventured farther than India and Oman — it was our first time overseas to another continent! We decided to rely on a five-day tour of the city offered by one of the various tourism agencies. With a few clicks on the screen, it was all set — the agency would take care of everything from booking flights and hotels to finalizing the itinerary. All we had to do was pay and show up. While our first family holiday was definitely smooth and enjoyable, we sometimes lacked the freedom to do what we wished. We would’ve loved to stay an extra 30 minutes at the Parthenon and revel in the beauty of its magnificent architecture, or experience certain parts of the city on foot instead of a cursory view from a tour bus.
Booking a tour is a lot less effort, but we realized that approach didn’t quite work for us. So for our next couple of holidays, we wanted to be independent and take the task of planning upon our own shoulders. We researched the city, bought tickets to all the must-see attractions, booked hotels that had a central location and even created a meticulous itinerary for each day. Our subsequent trips to Istanbul and then to France and Italy were a lot more fun and fulfilling, but also tiring. As perfectionists, we tried to cover too much in a week’s time. As you can imagine, this meant returning to our hotel after midnight and rolling out of bed at 7 a.m. the next morning to check off all the sightseeing goals for that day.
When the next year rolled around, we firmly decided not to overwhelm ourselves. Holidays were supposed to be a time for relaxation — an escape from our fast-paced lives. We still made all the usual arrangements, but let our state of mind and tiredness levels guide each day. Legs feel dead after walking all day at Sentosa Island? No problem, let’s just take it easy tomorrow and have a late start!
When it comes to travel, there’s no right or wrong! Some people tend to be spontaneous and others like to plan ahead. Some prefer the convenience that comes with booking a tour while others want to do everything on their own. What matters is discovering what works best for you so that you can make the most out of your holiday!
Contact Nandita Radhakrishnan at [email protected].