We put such pressures on ourselves when we travel. We only have a limited number of days, and having flown so far from home, it’s tempting to try to see everything. By the end of the trip, everything’s a blur, and we’re exhausted. Does that sound like a vacation? Or more like boot camp?
One of the most important things to realize is that, yes, your time is limited. You can’t see everything—and what a blessing that is! You can only pick the activities you absolutely want to do, making for an overall more pleasing vacation.
Remember, this is YOUR vacation. Instead of cutting short a rad snorkeling session because your friend said you absolutely have to see the Lebanese Museum of Soap, you can decide it’s okay not to do everything. Do the activities you want to do.
Take my last vacation, for example. I spent 5 days in Beijing. At first, I thought, “I’m in China. I must try ALL their special regional dishes.” So I started off with their amazing Beijing duck. While I was doing research to find the best place to eat Beijing duck, I realized there were myriads of recommendations, from locals, experienced travelers and travel guides. If I was to only have this dish once in Beijing, I wanted the best experience.
I trotted off to the highest-rated restaurant first, and yes, the duck was delicious. The skin was crispy, the meat tender and fatty and the bone broth was flavorful. Sadly, this only whetted my appetite to have more—where else in the world would I ever get Beijing duck better than in Beijing? On the other hand, I was only there for 4 more days. I should try other foods, right?
I tried to sample other local cuisine – ZhaJiang mian, for example, which is dry noodles mixed with bean paste and pork. But it wasn’t the same. The food was delicious, but all I really wanted was more duck.
And that’s when I realized – I can do this vacation however I want. If I want to have 4 days of duck, I can have 4 days of duck. No one would care I went to Beijing and only sampled one local dish. I decided my happiness was more important than working through a checklist.
When I got back, my friends asked about the best part of my trip; if they went to Beijing, where should they go or eat? I whipped out my photos, and everybody laughed when I showed them 4 days worth of Beijing duck. But, honestly, that was the best part of my vacation. And that’s all that matters.
Annie Wang is a blogger for NerdWallet | Travel whose favourite part of travelling is the food. Her least favourite? Baggage fees.
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Category: Guest Post