Open Ticket

City Or Sand: What’s Your Travel Personality?

Trafalgar Square London

When I’m talking to people and the conversation turns to travel (which it inevitably does, because I’m predictable and have no other interests), I’ve noticed that most folks fit into one of two groups. They’re either beachy/relaxation vacationers, or they’re busy bees who will go to 5 countries in 5 days, maximizing their precious travel time.

I know, I know, most people would say they’re a combination of both. But dig a little deeper and a distinct preference usually emerges. (My apologies to people who legitimately are both.  You’re a rare breed, and should be studied for future generations.)

I freely admit to being in the city sightseeing camp. Part of the fun for me is all the research I do beforehand: consulting long-range weather forecasts, finding the best times to visit top tourist sights, searching websites for little-known attractions, highlighting guidebooks, planning an itinerary for each day…that’s right, I know how to have a good time.

I’ve often thought about taking one of those relaxing, lounge-on-the-beach type trips, but then I’ll check flight prices and see that for a comparable amount of dough I could be hoofing it around Prague, for instance, and I book the city trip faster than you can say “Euro”.

I think it’s because the beach just doesn’t get my pulse racing (I know, that’s the point, r-e-l-a-x-a-t-i-o-n). But part of what I like most about visiting a new place is the other-ness of it. Every city is unique; you’d never walk down a street in Vienna and think you were in Manhattan.  And from the Jersey Shore to Myrtle Beach to England’s Brighton Beach, I’ve never been to one that felt substantially different than the others I’ve seen.

Before the beach bums get angry with me, let me say that I love the ocean. I love the feeling of driving home at night, still warm from the sun on your skin all day, and sticky from the sand and sweat and salt. I love the sound of the waves, dipping my toes in the foamy surf, and people watching on the boardwalk. But after a day or so, my travel ADD kicks in and I start to feel antsy, ready to strike out and do something. See something.

But this is just my opinion, at this moment. I have a sneaking suspicion that I could do a complete 180. Maybe all it’ll take is booking that first Caribbean getaway to get me hooked.

Maybe I have more of a travel comfort zone than I thought, and it’s time to strike out of it.

Are you a sand or city person? What’s your best beach recommendation to change my mind?

Image by Simon Howden via

  • Karla Marie Piñeiro

    San Juan, Puerto Rico.

    • Jing Zhang

      jsut came back from there. did beach and city both! love it

  • Amanda Haas

    I’m a city person and I love going to the mountains for fun vacations. Asheville NC is my favorite spot for mountain vacations. I’ve never been a beach person for several reasons.
    1. I burn
    2. Sand gets everywhere
    3. I hate that hot sand that feels like my feet are going to burst into flames
    4. Sitting half naked in a beach chair doesn’t look ladylike, except I guess if you are Miranda Kerr
    5. Sea water is terrifying
    6. Lastly…Jellyfish…terror

    But then again, I haven’t gone to many beaches. I would rather pool it than beach it. Rather to go a museum with a fancy lunch than fry my skin while eating in a bikini.

  • Syikien Oyob

    Im more to city traveller than the beach. teehee :)

  • Emily Hatfield

    Monterosso, Italy. Amazing! Plus, it’s in Cinque Terre so you can hop around the 5 little cities site-seeing all you want (and even go to Columbus’s birthplace–Genoa) and then relax on a beautiful beach with gorgeous teal waters.

  • Erin Elizabeth Davis

    I’m a big water person; love pools and lakes but surprisingly not a big beach person. Went to St Kitts with my boyfriend’s family two summers ago and we only really spent a full day at the beach, rest of the time was in the pool. I love going to cities and exploring vineyards, restaurants, and museums. I’m dying to go to Europe because of that.

  • Mili Pasino

    as a city person, I recommend Rio de Janeiro. It is a wonderful city with beautiful beaches. You can do both! Seriously

  • Michelle Glauser

    I like cities for exploring, but for relaxing, I want MOUNTAINS! 😀

  • Sarah Rauscher

    Always cities. The latest new one was Chicago! It was great to be introduced to a city fresh as an adult. I was able to make all new memories and ideas without the cloud of visiting it as a kid.

  • Roberta de Sousa

    Why not have both? City by the beach :) Florianopolis, Brazil is amazing.

  • Nathania Johnson

    I guess I’m one of those rare breeds. I love to travel period.

  • Catrin Morgan

    I’m a city person without a doubt! I love how many things there are to do. Also, the beach isn’t good for me as a redhead; I burn easy and not comfty in a bathing suite!

    In the city there are a million and one things to do and I’m comfortable…….city all the way!

  • Sarah H

    City person all the way. Did consider going to down to Cabos when I’m gonna be in the US later in the year, but decided I prefer to see some more of the US than sit on the beach for 4 days in Mexico.

  • Angelica Maria Capotorto

    I’m a city girl at heart. I love to travel to different countries and seeing different things. Laying on a beach all day….BORING!! My girlfriends and I went to London & Paris last summer and we spent an entire month meeting up at Starbucks and looking over famous sights to see, times, & prices. One of my friends looked up info on the web and the other highlighted and post-it the guide book. We basically wrote out what we would be seeing everyday and in the end it worked out great! We even had time to see other sights that weren’t scheduled in. Team city!! :)

  • Mädi Kay

    One of the many coastal cities in Croatia will change your mind. :)

  • Stephanie Spitler

    There are some great suggestions here; I might have to check out some of those city/sand combos!

  • Isabel Robertson

    i just spent time in key west, which is an awesome combination of a fun & unique city/culture to explore and some great ocean/beach time!

  • Bethany Shaw

    Coastal Cities are the best, Barcelona being the greatest of them all.. love it there!! :)

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