That’s a loaded question and I’ll tell you why. Over my years in travel I have begun to realise that there are two types of vacation – the destination vacation and the resort vacation. Let’s look at the difference –
THE RESORT VACATION
This is the type of vacation where you basically don’t care where you are going as long as you have a resort which satisfies your list of requirements – example
- Safe swimming beach
- Large pool with swim up bar
- Kids club
- Lots of a la carte restaurants
- On resort night life
- A spa
- A gym
I think you see where I am going here. A resort vacation as in your typical Caribbean or Mexican all-inclusive is all about the hotel for the majority of people. Now I am saying the majority because I do realise that there are people out there who love to travel to places like Mexico, Jamaica, Cuba and such because they want to explore the destination – but these people are in the minority. Most people booking a resort vacation don’t really care where they are as long as the resort has all the amenities or aspects that are important to them – and, of course ,that the price is right and the flights are decent, and hopefully direct.
As Seinfeld would say ….
We work hard – this place is cold in the winter – we want to go somewhere warm with cold beer and a sandy beach and who the hell cares where it is. So getting those features in your all-inclusive vacation is important and there are so many choices out there. Tripadvisor lists over 700 hotels in Cancun, Mayan Riviera and Puerto Vallarta.
I have the utmost respect for my colleagues who specialise in sun destinations to these areas. I can’t imagine having to know all these hotels and the facilities they offer – whether the kids club will take a 2 year old. It’s made even more difficult as they are constantly changing their names, renovating their rooms, buying adjoining hotels and merging them.
THE DESTINATION VACATION
This is so different. Imagine you have dreamed of visiting a place for years. Perhaps you have always dreamed of going to Italy or Ireland or India. Of course the hotels you stay in will be important but not the main focus of your trip. Your research is not going to be focussed on Trip Advisor. It’s going to be with Frommers, National Geographic and some of the best travel books every written. Before you go you want to devour anything written about the destination – fact or fiction.
You’ll read about the great potato famine in Ireland and then you’ll want to visit the famine cottages and see the sculptures in Dublin to commemorate the victims.
A friend of a friend will tell you about the best gelato in Rome and you will keep a note of that and seek it when you are there. You will study pictures in the guide books of Michaelangelo’s David …..and, when you walk into the museum you will be struck dumb by its magnificence and stand in awe and silence like everyone else.
You will watch a re-run of the old film The Killing Fields and then when you actually walk those fields and see the skulls and speak to survivors, you will return home with a different perspective on life.
When you visit South Africa and know the story of Nelson Mandela you will visit his cell and imagine all the years he spent there and it will make you think.
You will read the statistics of rhino poaching in Africa and when you see the magnificent creature in the wild up so close you can count the wrinkles on his brow you will feel honoured.
That’s why we love what we do here. We pass on our experiences and our love of destinations and the people and the history which make a lasting impression on us and the travellers we help.