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

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