There are things we have to do in life, whether we want to or not. We have to pay taxes and go to work or school (or both). We have to go grocery shopping and do laundry and (even if only occasionally) clean our house/bedroom. Actually, I guess you don’t HAVE to do all those things yourself, if you happen to be an independently wealthy heiress or something, but the mundane tasks of daily life have to be seen to by someone.

So, because I hate having to do things I don’t want to do (insert image here of me stomping my foot and crossing my arms in front of my chest), I find that I’ve gotten even less tolerant of doing things that I don’t want to do when I’m on vacation. It’s not even that I don’t want to do them, it’s more that I’m not interested in wasting precious travel time doing things that I’m not 100% excited about. Someone else may want to plan their trip around “touring homes of obscure 16th century poets,” and I would tell them to have a great time. But for me, that particular theme would not be high on my must-see list.

Among my friends, I’ve gotten a bit of a reputation as being someone who, most likely, has skipped at least one major tourist site everywhere I’ve been. The Atomium in Brussels? Nope, didn’t see it. The Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam? Skipped that one, too (but I did see the Van Gogh Museum, so I get points for that, right?). The palace at Versailles in, well, Versailles? Missed that, too, but that was due to lack of funds rather than lack of interest.

Heck, I LIVED in London and only managed to accidentally walk past Buckingham Palace once. Never saw the Changing of the Guard…or did the tour. It just wasn’t something that interested me enough to make time for it. However, if you want to have an in-depth discussion on the best dance clubs or the lack of Mexican restaurants in London circa the year 2000, then I’m your girl.

There are a million more examples, and I honestly don’t regret any of them. First of all, unless you have an open-ended vacation, there’s just never enough time to see everything, anyway. You have to prioritize. Second, a vacation should be about doing (and seeing) exactly what you want. It’s your time away, your chance to unwind and relax and do something different from what you do the other 360-some days of the year. So decide what you want to see and see it. Skip the Louvre, or spend every single day of your vacation there; just make the decision for yourself. If I had spent the day in the Rembrandt House Museum, for example, I wouldn’t have had time to explore the charming town of Alkmaar, and visit the Dutch Cheese Museum (mmmm, cheese). So, maybe next time, Rembrandt.

Remember, (in travel, as in life) be true to yourself. Spend your travel time exactly how you want to, with no apologies, no excuses and no regrets.

What’s a major tourist attraction you skipped?

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