Rationing time in a city

I’ve noticed that whenever I plan an international trip, I have found myself trying to squeeze as many cities and countries into a very short period of time. A lot of friends have made comments about my lack of time spent in each city and each country.  And I’ve seen some criticism surrounding people who count that they’ve visited a country if they only go to one city and only spend a short period of time there.  I think it’s interesting that people have so many different perspectives on it and realistically, I think it’s all based around how you travel and what you want to do while you’re out and about.

I will 100% admit that I am a person who counts visiting a country even if you have only been to one city in that country.  I don’t count airports but I do count spending at least 24 hours in that country exploring.  I do this because, spending any amount of time there for me gives me the ability to really see the city.  Maybe I don’t see all of it and maybe I don’t experience everything it has to offer, but it gives me a solid taste of the wonders that the city has to offer and it forces me out of my comfort zone. I will admit that I am trying the 30 by 30 goal and it is a goal I plan on achieving.  I’m not doing this to brag to anyone, I’m not doing this to show off how cool I am.  I have this goal because it’s something I actually want to achieve and it’s a SMART goal.  Yes, I just did pull out a performance review term.  It’s specific/stretching because it means that I constantly have to try new things. It’s measurable because there is a quantity and a metric that can be tied to it.  It is attainable/achievable if I put my mind to it. It is realistic and above all else, it is 100% time based.

This goal has actually driven the way that I travel.  Where I speed through cities and only allocate a small amount of time to each city but hardly ever sleep.  The other main driver for the way that I plan my trips is tied to money and time.  If I had to make a separate trip each time to see a country, that would be significantly more money that I would need to spend.  And, I would have to have significantly more vacation time to allow that to happen.  When you’re still working, that vacation time is precious treasure that you have to allocate appropriately.

I plan only a few days in each city because it gives me the ability to actually see the sights that I wanted to see, wander aimlessly around and get a feeling for the city while getting lost and it requires me to constantly be moving around.  I am driven by the fact that I want to see everything in that allotted amount of time because otherwise, I’ll miss something great.  I don’t want to spend my time sitting in my hotel or wasting time just staring at a TV.  I want to be out and about, exploring, wandering and being pushed out of my comfort zone.

On my last trip, I spent 4 days in Amsterdam and that was too much.  I spent a large portion of the last day relaxing (which in retrospect was probably good since I wasn’t really sleeping) but I wanted to be out seeing other things I hadn’t seen yet.  I could have been doing that in Oslo or Stockholm.  I don’t regret the decision that I made to spend 4 days there but I definitely learned my lesson.  The other reason why I like having a crazy schedule when I’m traveling is that it forces me to stay out of my hotel, it forces me to constantly be moving and it helps with the jet lag.  My last trip proved me wrong but that’s okay because I was still fighting through the tiredness and getting as much done as possible.

How do you like to travel?  Would you prefer to spend a week in a city or just a few days?



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