Skip to content

3 vacations I won’t take

October 5, 2010
by budgettravelsac

I love to travel.  Many people do.  However, each of us has our own taste in travel and not all of us are the same.  And there are certain vacations I am not interested in.

While travel is exciting and fun, there are some vacations people don’t enjoy.  Grandma might not enjoy extreme rock climbing adventures.  A young family might not want to try white water rafting down class 5 rapids.  The twenty something backpacker might not enjoy a bus tour loaded with senior citizens.

I have traveled to many places in the world in many different ways – groups, tours, solo, backpacking, camping, outdoors, hiking, planes, trains, automobiles, buses.  However, here are three vacations I am not going to take.

1.  A large, organized bus tour - To be lumped together with a busload of tourists with their fanny packs, cameras, touristy outfits, being shuffled around like a herd of sheep is such a turn off.  I will be fair and admit that I’ve done the tour group thing – small, organized tours, less than 25 people, with lots of free time for independent travel.  Even then, I hated being seen with a big group.

It has its benefits but large tour groups, organized tours, gift shop purchases, and hordes of people crowded around paintings and sculptures are just things I don’t enjoy.  I want to blend in as a tourist and connect with the culture, not stand out.

Small tours are OK (at best) but a large tour group is more painful than having the word “Tourist” tattooed on my forehead.  Large tour groups are great and many people love them.  However, they are not for me.

2.  An ocean cruise - I don’t understand paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to rent a room on a floating city and hotel while seeing nothing but water for days.  Every once in a while, you get to stop for a few short hours to see a major city and deceive yourself that you experienced Venice or Barcelona or the Bahamas.  Upon returning from the mainland, you go back to your ship where you eat too much, gamble, dance, drink, and see shows – all of which could be done at home for much cheaper without wasting your time aboard a ship in which you are paying to be entertained.  Some people may like these but not me.

This isn’t to say I am against all cruises.  After doing some research, I love the idea of river cruises.  You get to explore the culture of a country or place, taking in local sites, and learn more about the place you are visiting at a much slower place.  Here are 8 reasons why a river cruise is better than an ocean cruise.

3.  A themed vacation - I am not interested in a food and wine tour or a week long cooking class in Italy.  I’m not interested in a “most haunted places” tour or a literary tour.  These are vacations I would not take.  I would definitely take an evening wine tour or maybe even a cooking class.  However, I am not going on vacation to experience a themed vacation.  The closest I would ever come to doing something like this would be a tour of baseball stadiums, college football, or European soccer.  I love sports so that would be interesting.  However, if that is all I saw, I might get a little tired of those as well.

Vacations need variety – different cities, sights, people, and cultures.  Even a vacation at the beach isn’t a theme.  Granted, I am not big on beach vacations.  However, skip the themes and let me enjoy the diversity of travel.  I am just not interested enough in any one thing to make a vacation out of it.

I am sure I am not the only one who doesn’t like some of the vacation options out there.  Some vacations aren’t for everyone.  Are there vacations that you won’t take?  Any that you’ve taken that you wont’ go on again?

Credits: tour group (Flickr: Andrea Schaffer), Carnival Cruise (Flickr: Jesus & Kristie), Cooking school (Flickr: Gamerscore Blog)

Be the first to like this post.
20 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2010 7:20 am

    Vacations where there is lots of girls and beer. I spent every day being sick with a hang over and because everyone just wanted to party, I never saw the sites!

  2. dragojac permalink
    October 5, 2010 8:01 am

    Organised coach excursions – the horror, the horror. Memories of bland food… nay, appalling food, tour reps’ fantasy location information and being herded away from the interesting bits to the areas that were going to put a commission in somebody’s pocket. Never, ever again.

    And as for cruises, why do so many people when a ship docks in port make for the nearest beach when they’ve spent most of their time lying beside a pool on board ship ?

    Totally agree about river cruises. Completely different animal.

    • October 5, 2010 11:08 am

      You and I see very much alike. I’ve done small coach tours and it was alright. There were only about 25 people and it was a bit more intimate. Also, no commission or tips for the tour guide and the tour was focused on culture and connecting with others and not just being hoarded through a museum. Having done a tour like that and still feeling too much like a tourist at times, I abhor the thought of a huge busload of tourists with fanny packs, cameras, and commissions for the tour guides. No thanks!

      As for the ocean cruises, I don’t get it either. Don’t see the appeal. At least I’ve found one person who sees things the same way as me! :)

  3. John permalink
    October 5, 2010 10:22 am

    Aww, you don’t like those haunted vacations? I don’t know, I find them very fun. They are especially fun if you experience them as if you were a local…i.e. staying in a vacation rental But to each their own. I do agree about the rest of your list though.

    • October 5, 2010 11:28 am

      Sorry John, I’ve never been big on anything scary – movies, haunted houses, etc. It’s not just the haunted vacations but themed vacations in general. I just like a little more variety when I travel. I completely agree about experiencing things as a local. So I don’t mind a haunted house or a special themed event but I just wouldn’t want to make it a vacation.

      Thanks for your thoughts and glad you agree with me on the rest! :)

  4. October 5, 2010 11:32 am

    I agree with two out of the three points. Forget the bus tours, forget the cruises but there are occasional themed vacations/trips I would consider. I love gardening and would happily head to Italy or England or Japan for a week of gardening tours – if it was a small group with an interesting itinerary and the places were hard to acces on my own. Otherwise I’m happier just exploring on my own.

    • October 5, 2010 11:35 am

      Leigh, of the three on my list, the themed vacation is the one I have the least amount of problems with. It’s not for me but for people who have a passion for something, I could totally understand that being a part of their travels. As I stated, I could almost do a sports themed tour. And honestly, my words on this may come back to bite me one day as I might do this! :)

      However, each of us is different and that’s a good thing in travel!

  5. October 5, 2010 5:46 pm

    I’m with you on #1. There’s no point. I’ve done that few times from school organized travel, but I can hardly remember the detail. Where we went, what I ate, what I saw. One of the worst way, in my opinion.

    • October 5, 2010 10:34 pm

      Thanks Juno. I do think there is some merit to tours as it can give you a lot of information that is hard to get on your own. So I am not knocking them completely. However, large,organized tours which are there to pack in as many people as possible, put money in the tour guide’s pockets, and teach you from a script without any push to experience culture aren’t worth it.

  6. October 6, 2010 12:49 pm

    TOTALLY agree with you!!

    we have friends who keep raving about cruises, but to me, they just seem like mass gluttony (of all varieties)…NOT the way I’d spend my hard earned money and precious little time away~ :)

    I AM a chef and a “foodie” so a cooking/tasting/food trip appeals, but I would want to see the sights, soak in history and local culture…not JUST focus on one thing!

    One thing I like to do with our trips is to make an effort to try one great French restaurant and one local coffeeshop in each new city or location we visit.

    My mom (who is single now) is talking about going on a 2 week european vacation with a huge tour group! Horrors!! my hubbie and I are trying to talk her out of it!

    • October 6, 2010 5:14 pm

      Thanks for your comment Ann Marie! Hopefully, you get a chance to educate your mom! :) I’ve been on two tour groups and enjoyed both of them. However, there were only 25 people, tour guides got no tips or commissions, we were encouraged to connect with people, and we had a lot of time on our own. It was a good balance. A big tour group I could never do.

      As for cruises, I don’t get it. I never will. You hit the nail on the head with that one! :)

  7. October 7, 2010 10:01 am

    Hmmm, just slam the culinary traveler here! LOL I almost felt like you were talking directly to me with #3!

    Despite what you may think after the comment I left on the River cruise article, I am not a huge ocean cruise person, but I think there are times when they make sense. Like my French Polynesia cruise – you have the opportunity to see much more than you would if you just sent to one place for a week ….and it was cheaper. A room in Bora Bora could run 2K a night – we paid 8k for a 2 week balcony suite with all inclusive gourmet food, top shelf liquor and wine, and gratuities included. Had we booked a room in Bora Bora itself like was an option, we might’ve been out money since we wound up down there in the middle of 4 cyclones- one of which did some considerable damage to many of the over the water huts.

    I will not do a big cruise again, I will do not big giant ones – blech. But the luxury cruises with less than 300 people are the way to go. We only had one day at sea, which is almost inevitable and we were at port much longer than most cruise ships are (we had several overnight stops).

    The one upside I see to some cruises is the ability to see places you might not otherwise visit. My Mediterranean cruise was a perfect example of that – I ended up at a few places that were not on my “dream destination” list and I ended up loving those places as much, if not more, than the places that were. Getting that little taste of islands like Rhodes in Greece will bring me back an day over the crowded, overrun places like Mykonos and Santorini. Again though, I picked an itinerary that included 1 day at sea – I have no desire to waste my vacation with 4 or 5 days at sea during an Atlantic crossing or whatever.

    Sometimes though, a cruise is truly the best way to see certain areas like French Polynesia, but most especially places like Antarctica, Alaska, Panama Canal, etc. In those instances, you really do not have a choice. Alaska there is a road/train and cruise option, but there are still elements you can only see by boat. Prior to my Mediterranean cruise, I was strongly against cruises, probably stronger in opinion than you are. But, I was given an opportunity to go on the med cruise as a gift so I decided to go with an open mind. There were definitely pros and cons and the giant size of the ship confirmed I will never do a cattle cruise like that.

    One reason I do like the cruise though is the different scenery each day. Coming into old European ports that are fort walled cities, or leaving Venice perched high above the towers so you can see all the ones that are leaning, or cruising by the Amalfi Coast, or waking up with Bora Bora as your view – those are experiences you would miss traveling by land.

    JMHO… off to plan my next wine and food themed trip. LOL

    • October 8, 2010 1:04 am

      No, honestly I wasn’t. If there was anything of the three that I would be most likely to do it would be #3. I think all of us have our interests and passions so we could easily pursue those in travel. I listed a few I would be tempted to do and I understand why some people do it. It is just not for me. I have a much harder time understanding why people do #1 and then #2.

      As for cruises, I can’t do it. As you know, I am not a big beach person so it is a waste to float on a ship for days and then see a beach. As for your example of the Mediterranean, why not explore Venice on your own? To me, a cruise is about the ship much more than it is the destination. Some cruises cater to the luxury traveler and while those are smaller and more appealing, I am not a luxury travel type of person and I probably never will be. It’s another reason why cruises don’t appeal to me.

      With that said, each of us is different. And for travel (and many other things), that is good. There’s nothing wrong in there being different types of travel for different types of people. Just don’t expect me to like all the choices. :)

  8. October 8, 2010 3:48 am

    Each one has its own choice related to the travel.I like travel where i can enjoy trekking , adventure,camping,food beaches,night life and many more things.I prefer to go for the trip Solo rather than in group.Camping and trekking is my Favorite . Thanks for sharing your experience. Good post.

  9. October 12, 2010 12:13 pm

    The only group tour we’ve ever done was through Club Med. We went to Coba, Uxmal, Tulum and Chichen Itza. It was only for a few days and we managed to cover much more ground that we would have on our own. Luckily our guide was not at all offended when we chose to repeatedly wander off and take photos/soak it all in while she explained the history. Not that we’re not interested in the history of the places we visit, but not to that extent or depth.

    The silver lining to the whole experience for us – and the major reason we signed up to begin with – was that the tour was in French. So it was a great opportunity for us to use a language we rarely get to use. Ok, it’s a little weird to go to Mexico to practice your French, but… We live in California and get plenty of opportunity to practice Spanish! Not to mention that naturally, we spoke with plenty of people in Spanish while we were there.

    • October 13, 2010 12:21 pm

      I took 3 years of French in high school. I know only a few words and phrases now but I enjoy French much more than Spanish. Very difficult though. However, I appreciate the your desire to experience some French in Spanish speaking California.

      I’ve actually taken two tour groups. Both were small and I had a lot of independent travel time which is what I like. Not all tours are bad but the large, organized bus tours, guides on commission, and that type of travel just turns me off.

  10. October 13, 2010 4:47 pm

    I second, third and fourth your assessment of cruises. I tried it…had to at least prove to myself that I hated it…but I am glad that I did because otherwise I wouldn’t have been absolutely sure. I actually wrote about my experience on my blog. It’s definitely a trip option, but as you so eloquently expressed, not all things are meant for all people. I think it’s because I love to plan my activities myself and I don’t like the feeling being held hostage with no where to go.

    • October 13, 2010 4:56 pm

      You summed that up nicer than I could and you have an experience! I don’t get it. Never will. Why pay for a floating hotel with nothing to see or do that you couldn’t do at home? And then when you do get to get off the boat, you pay for those excursions or have so little time to see places. Yet you fool yourself into thinking you really experienced Greece, the Bahamas, or Barcelona. Nope, not for me and it seems like many people like you agree! :)

  11. October 13, 2010 7:36 pm

    I went on a cruise once…and never agin. I agree with what you said.

    • October 14, 2010 4:06 pm

      It’s good to hear other people’s thoughts from those who have been versus me who doesn’t even want to try it out :)

Leave a Reply to inka Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <pre> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

  • Contact Me!
    If you have comments, suggestions, or questions, I would love to hear from you. So email me at
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Travel blogs and writers

  • This is my happiness - Jenna Francisco
  • Mexico Unmasked - Mark Guerra
  • No Onions Extra Pickles - Ashley Harrop
  • Velvet Escape - Keith Jenkins
  • Traveldudes - Melvin Boecher
  • Sharing Travel Experiences - Andy Hayes
  • LeslieTravel - Leslie Koch
  • Runaway Juno - Jiyeon Juno Kim
  • Grounded Traveler - Andrew Couch
  • foXnoMad - Anil Polat
  • Cumi & Ciki
  • 501 Places - Andy Jarosz
  • yTravel Blog - Caz and Craig Makepeace
  • Todd's Wanderings - Todd Wassel
  • Visits

  • free counters