by Rick Green
I came across a thought-provoking article on My Mélange that discusses six mistakes people make when planning/taking trips. These are common enough – and big enough to ruin your vacation – that they are worth repeating. I examine them here with an Asian context.
Excessive Itinerary: Hit & Run Travel
It's easy to get excited about your next trip and want to see as much as possible in the limited time you are in another country. But if you have only two weeks of vacation, especially when travelling in a large country like China, it would be foolish to cram as much in as possible. You will have no time to actually appreciate things, much less meet people beyond your fellow travellers and those you interact with on a commercial basis – tour guide, hotel & restaurant staff, souvenir sellers, touts, etc. You'll just be running around, taking a quick look at the most popular sights, shooting some snaps, then roaring off to the next stop to do the same thing. I call this hit and run travel. Is this really that much different than watching a television travel program edited with quick cuts? Is it worth the $4,000+ more dollars that you'll spend living a television experience? Realize that you won't have any time for serendipity, to take advantage of random opportunities to connect with locals that may never be available to you again.
Having made countless trips over the years as a photographer, I have noticed a pattern to my adventures. Getting great shots is more than arriving in an exotic location with a bag full of gear, ready to shoot everything that strays in front of your lens. It's about the experiences.