A question that pops up in my head over and over whenever I think about future travel has been, “What can we do differently this time?” We had a great travel routine before, but now that we’ve pretty much decided we won’t be traveling full time again, we’ve been trying to think of new (to us) ways to travel that would shake things up a bit.
There are still loads of places in the world we’d like to see, but most of all we want to go back to Japan, to spend time with our family. We’ve pretty much settled on two trips to Japan per year, one in the spring and one in the fall, so that we can be there for each of the grandkids’ birthdays (and our son’s). We also want to travel to one of the other islands here every year, for around 10 days each time. But otherwise, we’d like to do things a bit differently and try some new things.
We come up with a few ideas for future travel:
- Try a tour versus doing it on our own. We enjoyed our short tour experience in India last year and have been thinking maybe it’s time to try another, and adding on a tour at the end of a one of our Tokyo stays each year. For example, it’s less expensive to fly to Europe from Tokyo than it is from Honolulu (for some obvious reasons), and we could add on Rick Steves tour. Or, we could stay in Asia and take a tour in SE Asia or Korea, flying back through Tokyo to pick up any luggage we might store there before coming home to Hawaii (a tour requires less luggage). We’ve never really been tour people, but think this might be a way to explore a bit more of the world without giving up one of our Japan stays and without overdoing it.
- Up our lodging or dining budget. That is, we could save a bit more and stay in fancier accommodations than we typically do. Since we won’t be traveling full time, maybe bumping up our daily lodging budget in order to stay in nicer places, whether that’s in Japan or elsewhere, might be something we could do to spice things up a bit. Or, we could budget more for dining out and try some new things and new places.
- Travel more inside of Japan. Both Brett and I have seen a lot of Japan, and want to visit Kyoto again, but there are loads of other places either one or both of us hasn’t seen, from Kyushu to Hiroshima to Hokkaido. Rather than spend the entire time we’re in Japan only in Tokyo, we could reserve Japan Rail passes before we go and get out of the city for a few days during each visit to explore more of the country.
- Rent a car and take a driving trip on the mainland. We’ve been lucky to have been able to travel all over the U.S. thanks to Brett’s time in the navy and our many transfers, but it might be fun to see some of it again as a couple, traveling just a couple of weeks at a time and making the trip more focused. New England beckons, as do most of the western National Parks.
- Take a freighter cruise. We’ve just started investigating this, so don’t know if it’s doable or desirable, but it would definitely be different. There’d be lots of social distancing, for sure.
None of these ideas, on their own, is anything new and/or unique in the world of travel, but they would be something different for us. We’re also sure we can come up with some other ideas during the next couple of years for switching things up, but for now the four items above give us plenty to think about. And, we’ve got lots of time to think about them as well as sadly there’ll be no future travel for us until 2022.
26 thoughts on “Future Travel: Thinking Outside the Box”
We recommend Tauck for tours and Amawaterways for river cruises. Both companies are great.
I think there is merit on occasion allowing someone else to do all the planning and logistics. Last year we went to Morocco as independent travellers. Before we went we decided what we wanted to do. On arrival we spoke with the hotel manager and gave him our list and he organised it all. All we were required to do was show up at the appointed time. It felt truly luxurious. We are late 50s and are no longer prepared to stay at sub standard accommodation. A good nights sleep in a pleasant environment is a must. I think as we age it comes down to focusing on quality rather than quantity. Travelling on a freighter is one of my husband’s dreams. I wonder if you could do a sector HNL-Tokyo? All the people we have spoken with who have done it have highly recommended. Does this mean you will retain your rental in Kauai to return after each trip? Any thought of buying at all?
With Hurricane Douglas aiming itself at Hawaii this weekend, you will have plenty of “inside” time to explore all these ideas! Stock up and watch out for falling palm trees!
We are ready! Brett picked up 42 liters of water today, butane canisters for our stove if it’s needed, and more toilet paper. Today has been miserably humid as the storm pushes it forward ahead of it; rain arrives tomorrow. Hopefully we won’t get hit to hard.
When I told someone about my plans to do a bike tour in Chile, they told me I should try to get on a science expedition ship to the glaciers and southern natural areas. They said that since it was filled with scientists, they often could really explain interesting things that they were seeing. It sounded good to me.
We’ve been reading good things about traveling by cargo ship – the more we read, the more we like the idea.
Like the idea of a science expedition ship as well, although they are not as large and get tossed about a bit more. But listening to the scientists would be fascinating.
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We are particularly interested in doing a freighter cruise (like Hurtigruten) because they look much more adventurous. But I totally get you on traveling to be with family. Let’s hope 2021 will allow us to travel stateside.
There are some really interesting routes out there for freighter cruises. The more I discover, the more interested I get. Brett thinks it sounds like life on an aircraft carrier when there are no flight ops: boring. But he said he’d be willing to try it because the other type of cruise experience leaves him cold.
Hope you can make it back to the U.S. in 2021. We’re not planning on going anywhere, but hoping our son and family can come to the island from Japan.
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Most of the overseas trips I’ve been on were tours. The reason for that is I work and have limited time and a tour is the best way (in my opinion) to see a lot for a good price. Everything is taken care of for you so you don’t have to spend time making arrangements or worry about a language issue, if you choose a fully guided tour. I took a tour through Affordable World when I went to Japan and loved it. They also have tours in other countries in Asia. For Europe, I used Trafalgar twice and enjoyed those trips as well. Depending on the trip, you will be with a group of others and will most likely travel by bus, so that’s something to keep in mind. Another company I’ve used is Monograms where you can design your own trip and decide how much you want to be guided and how much you want to do on your own. I used them the first time I went to the UK. I haven’t been on a cruise in at least 10 years so I don’t know how they are now or how they will change due to COVID, but I enjoyed them. Just haven’t had time lately to go on one.
I’d never heard of science cruises or freighter cruises so I’ll have to look into that!
You named all the plusses to taking a tour, which is what we loved about our tour in India. The only thing we didn’t like was the go-go-go all the time; there was not a lot of “down time” and we left India feeling somewhat tired. I’m thankful for the tour companies you listed. I know so little about them so it’s great to have a few to look into so I can compare and contrast.
I went on a cruise when I was 18 – two weeks at sea from San Francisco to Yokohama, Japan. It was an interesting experience – we slept third class but ate first class . . . and I ate at the Captain’s table (he was never there though). John Lennon and Yoko Ono were on the boat, and I met them when we got off in Yokohama – they were right behind me in line going through customs. John Lennon leaned over at one point and asked me how my voyage had been! I about fainted on the spot!
Freighter cruises are very low key – no entertainment provided (you provide your own), but the food is supposedly fantastic as. you eat with the captain and other officers.
Tours are definitely hectic, but since you and Brett don’t have to rush, you could do one that’s not as rushed. Of course, the longer the tour, the higher the cost. I took one to Europe a couple of years ago and saw 8 different countries. That was crazy and not something I would do again because it was exhausting and we spent a lot of time on the bus, but it was 2 weeks and I saw places I never would have been able to see on my own. I’m so glad now that I did that because who knows what is going to happen in the future.
Your story about John and Yoko is wild! That must have been quite an experience! When John asked you how you liked the voyage, did you respond or were you too stunned?
I did some research on the freighter cruises and that is something I think I’d like, but I doubt any of the friends I normally travel with would. The science cruises look interesting too.
I think if we did a tour it would be like the one we took in India – one week, one country. Some of the SE Asia ones visit three countries – I think we could manage that. But eight countries in two weeks – no way! Maybe when we were younger, but these days we couldn’t handle it.
I was stunned when John spoke to me, but somehow politely answered that the cruise had been OK, and then asked him how it had been for him. I have no idea what he said, or if he said anything because I was ready to faint! Somewhere I have a picture of him and Yoko sitting on deck in fur coats and wearing life jackets for the drill.
If you come across that photo of John and Yoko, I’d love to see it! Did they have any bodyguards or were they just mingling with everyone as if they weren’t celebrities?
One week, one country is much less hectic. Whenever we can travel again, I planning to do one of those. Before COVID, I had actually been planning a trip for 2021 to Thailand. I’m still doing research, etc. but I don’t know if 2021 is realistic, so I might just stay within the US. There’s plenty to see here that I’ve never seen.
It’s saved up on the cloud somewhere along with over a 1000 other photos, so it will take some digging but I’d love to see it again as well.
2021 is going to be our year of laying low and staying home. It will give me plenty of time to research trips and do some other planning and saving. We’re hoping that by 2022 it will be safe to go again, and that we’ll be welcome.
You should check with the New Sanno for tours. I am betting they either have the tours or have connections for people who do a great job.
We have a friend who did the Antarctica scientist tour. I don’t have the stomach for those high seas.
Germany cancelled. Bummer. We are still headed, by truck, to Idaho in September.
Travel in our future will be West to East soon- probably twice a year. I promised my sister that I would go with her to New Zealand by 2023. We shall see.
How about keeping your apartment and asking the owner if you can sublet—to all of us!
May you be on dry ground on Monday!
We’ve done Japan tours through the New Sanno (and MWR on different bases). I used to use them especially for lodging, but these days there are so many good choices through Airbnb.
Brett thinks a freighter cruise would be boring, unless it’s one that stops at a lot of places along the way. He thinks if he’s on a ship he needs to be “busy,” although not the traditional cruise ship kind of busy.
We can’t sublet our apartment, but we do plan to have a house sitter stay while we’re away. I’ll put out the word – all will still have to be vetted by our landlord though. But still, it would be six weeks or so in Hawaii – rent free and with a car as well, a pretty good gig, I think!
We’ll know how bad things are when we get up Sunday morning, but winds are already starting to pick up.
Trading! I am betting a few of us would trade two weeks and a car….
I will be keeping all of you in mind, although we plan to be gone for more than a couple of weeks.
Laura, have you ever considered volunteer vacations?
Yes, we have – they’re one thing I still haven’t investigated in any sort of detail. But, we’re definitely interested.
Travel is such a wild card right now. But once our ancient dog dies, we definitely have a W. Coast National Parks trips on our list. This year is a bust, and I’m still hoping for sooner vs later, but have given up on the UK trip for now. And my daughter is angling ways for me to get to them. She asked me the other day if she could get to Canada, would I come there? I sure would…as soon as the border opens. Our grands in Toronto are missing us and we them. Planning for future travel is a good way to fend off the doldrums.
Stay safe…we’re watching the weather and have our fingers crossed for you!
Our big hope is that our son and family will be able to come to Kaua’i next year. Our DIL doesn’t get much vacation time though so don’t know if it will be possible or not.
Just thinking about travel always makes me feel good, even it is way off in the distance. I sure hope it’s not too long before you get to see everyone again.
The weather this morning (Saturday) is deteriorating – definitely something big is on the way. We are prepared!
You can do all of these or none of these, lol. I would suggest that backroads driving in the US is traditionally different and another, often slower way to see the country, but i like being in a car. Prior to expecting Civid I gad two long trips planned for about ten days each. But ai am one of those people who if I see something on the side of the road am willing to interrupt my itinerary.
Brett and I love car trips (the kids, not so much), and in the past we did lots of backroads trips and loved them. Our family took lots of road trips too – we were that family that stopped at EVERY historical marker we passed, and Brett and I are the same. Besides getting to Japan in 2022, we’re just going to see what else appeals to us then and go from there, but it’s fun to think of the many possibilities we have before us.
Well, Laura, you can add us to your list of prospective house swappers if you think you and Brett would enjoy a stay in coastal OC. 😊
We are thinking of you all in Hawaii as Hurricane Douglas passes over, hoping for minimal impact. Please take care.
Oh, you’re added, Tamara! I would love to spend some time in coastal OC again, and a house swap would be fun (although I think we’d get the better end of the deal).
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