26 Travel Questions: The Home Edition

I first wrote out these questions/answers in 2017, before we began our Big Adventure. When I came across them again last week I was surprised both by what had changed and what had remained constant after two years of traveling. I did update – those things are in italic.

Here we go!

  1. Which do you prefer: tours or independent travel? I have nothing against tours, or organized travel, but I still prefer doing it on my own. There are travels/places though where I would definitely book a tour (like a photo safari in Africa). We had a wonderful time on our tour in India, and saw and did things we would have never been able to otherwise, and enjoyed our train journey across Australia. I would consider taking a tour again, depending on the location, services provided, and the cost.
  2. What’s the first thing you check out when you reach your destination? I scout out where I can get a good cup of coffee, hopefully without having to go to Starbucks.
  3. What’s something sort of ordinary you like to do at your destination? I love to check out local supermarkets, mini marts, etc. It’s interesting to see what food costs, what stores carry, how they’re the same or different from our local stores or American stores in general if we’re overseas. It’s also an interesting way to get a glimpse of the local culture. I also love to visit bakeries.
  4. Street food: Yea or nay? I mostly say yes to street food, although I check it out pretty carefully before eating. I’ve eaten some amazing things from food stands and carts (and had a few losers too).
  5. What’s your ideal travel breakfast? Ideally it would be yogurt, fresh fruit and a little granola, but I’ll eat anything as long as it’s not too heavy. However, if I see Eggs Benedict on the menu I’m going to order it.
  6. What’s your favorite road food? I prefer to eat at local restaurants versus chains if at all possible. Thankfully there are lots of different ways to find those local places these days. Favorite food? It used to be a good hamburger or sandwich for lunch, or something like chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner. These days I eat lighter, or share with Brett, and we like to try local specialties. I prefer to fix my own meals most of the time as well. It doesn’t help that I can’t eat salad.
  7. What’s the most important thing you pack in your suitcase? Along with a desire for adventure and a sense of wonder, it’s a comfortable pair of walking shoes.
  8. Do you roll or fold your clothes when you pack? I do a little of both. I prefer rolling, but have a couple of items that just don’t want to roll.
  9. What do you pack in your carry-on? I used to only travel with a carry-on, so everything I needed for the trip went in. When we were checking our bags during the Big Adventure my carry-on had a change of clothes (and a couple of changes of underwear), basic toiletries, electronics, important paperwork and snacks.
  10. Which do you prefer: tote bag or backpack? I definitely prefer carrying a tote bag if at all possible when we travel. Brett prefers a back pack though, so we’re able to switch things around between us so that we can carry everything where it makes sense. I tried carrying a backpack on our Big Adventure, but eventually went back to a tote bag as it was more comfortable.
  11. What’s most important when you’re planning travel, transportation, lodging, food, or sightseeing? They all play such different roles, but lodging is probably the most important in my opinion. Even if we don’t spend a lot of time there, without a clean, safe place to sleep and bathe the rest of the trip can fall flat.
  12. In your opinion, what are the three most important phrases to know in a foreign language? 1) Thank you; 2) Excuse meI’m sorry; 3) please. After that you can add I don’t understandwhere’s the bathroom?how much? and so forth. The “magic words” in English are just as important elsewhere else as they are here.
  13. What have you noticed most about Americans when you travel overseas? We can be very loud, we’re sadly often overweight (me included), and we can be annoyingly condescending at times. We can also be very friendly and helpful. I found all of these to still be true during the Big Adventure.
  14. What are your least favorite ways to travel? Neither Brett nor I have ever had any desire to pull a trailer or drive an RV – it’s just not our thing. I have nothing against cruises either, but there are other things I’d rather do than float around on a ship (and for the record, I have been on a cruise – once was enough for me). Brett once said he’d like to see what it’s like to take a cruise and not have to work 20 hours a day, but these days a cruise is not appealing in the least.
  15. If you have a choice, which would you prefer, a road trip or a flight? It really depends on how much time we have. We’ve taken some great road trips, and enjoyed them, but if time is limited, or I want more time at my destination, I’m going to book a flight.
  16. Which do you prefer: aisle, middle or window seat? If it’s a long flight, I prefer a window seat – it’s easier to find a good sleeping position. Depending on who else is in my row, I’m also OK with a middle seat. With an aisle seat I find I get bumped by people walking down the aisle, and someone has to step over me to get to the bathroom.
  17. What are your favorite in-flight activities? I like watching movies, doing sudoku puzzles, and sleeping (which I’m getting better at). I’ve tried to read, but have always ended up feeling sick.
  18. Which is your favorite airport? I love our little airport here in Lihue. When I go through it  I’m either going on a trip, or I’m home. My least favorite airports are now Madrid and Bordeaux.
  19. Do you ever purchase travel insurance? We have purchased insurance a couple of times, on trips where we’ve spent a lot of money, but we’ve thankfully never really needed it. These days our main travel credit card covers many travel-related items like delayed flights, lost luggage, etc. Our health insurance covers us anywhere in the world, so we only need to get insurance to cover the things we’ve paid for, like flights and lodging.
  20. What’s your favorite travel-day outfit? It depends on which time of year I’m traveling, or where we’re going, but usually a pair of L.L. Bean’s Perfect Fit Pants, a light sweatshirt-type of top (to keep me warm on the plane), and shoes I can easily slip off for security and during the flight. If I’m going somewhere hot I’ll wear linen pants and a light shirt, flip-flops, and carry a light sweater for the plane. Wrinkled linen is OK.
  21. What are your favorite travel day snacks? They used to be granola bars, Chex Mix, good chocolate, and water. These days I take along nuts, beef jerky, good chocolate, and water. I usually don’t drink alcohol when I fly, and besides water I like Diet Coke or Bloody Mary mixer.
  22. How many states have your visited in the U.S.? I have visited 48 states – I haven’t been to Montana or Alaska.
  23. How many national parks have you visited? I’ve visited twenty, from Acadia to Zion, and I’ve stayed at both rims of the Grand Canyon. There are still a lot more parks I want to see though.
  24. What are your favorite national parks? Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and Zion are my top three. Bryce Canyon and Crater Lake are right up there as well.
  25. How many foreign countries have you visited? Before our Big Adventure, just six: Canada, Mexico, China, Hong Kong (when it was a British colony), Taiwan and of course, Japan. We visited or stayed in 12 additional countries on our travels: Argentina, Uruguay, France, Italy, the Vatican, Portugal, Spain, England, Scotland, India, Australia, and New Zealand (we counted any country where we left the airport, stayed overnight, and had to exchange money).
  26. Who is your favorite travel companion? All of our children have always been fun travel companions, and I’ve taken some great trips with friends, but of course Brett is my favorite. He’s my best friend, we always have lots to talk about and almost always want to do and see the same things when we go somewhere. We did a good job on the Big Adventure of dividing travel responsibilities – Brett was the logistics and budget manager, and served as Head Sherpa, while I was in charge of planning, lodging, and anything food-related.

Can you think of any more questions? And, I’d love to hear your answers to all or just some of the questions!


8 thoughts on “26 Travel Questions: The Home Edition

  1. I feel like it’s been so long since I’ve traveled that I’m forgetting some of the answers to these! Hope things get back to normal soon…

    Which do you prefer: tours or independent travel? Right now, I prefer tours because I work and have limited time, and with tours, I get to see a lot without having to worry about how to get somewhere, etc. I think if I was retired or had a lot of time on my hands, I’d like independent travel.

    What’s the first thing you check out when you reach your destination? I check out stores and where to eat. I do that research in advance usually so I know where to go when I get there.

    What’s something sort of ordinary you like to do at your destination? I have the same answer as you!

    Street food: Yea or nay? I really don’t trust street food personally. Not worth the risk to me, especially if I’m in an unfamiliar place.

    What’s your ideal travel breakfast? I like to try whatever breakfast foods are eaten in the location I’m visiting.

    What’s your favorite road food? Depends on where I am, but burgers, spaghetti are favorites.

    What’s the most important thing you pack in your suitcase? I agree with you about shoes. I also bring a rain poncho and clothes that repel water. This came in handy when I did a tour of The Road to Hana last year and we had heavy rain.

    Do you roll or fold your clothes when you pack? My father was in the Navy and showed me how to roll clothes, so I’ve always done it that way, unless there is an item that can’t be folded for some reason.

    What do you pack in your carry-on? Reader’s Digest! I love to read and those are small and lightweight. I also bring a change of clothes, just in case my checked suitcase is lost.

    What’s most important when you’re planning travel, transportation, lodging, food, or sightseeing? I’d say they’re all important, but transportation, lodging, food are very important.

    In your opinion, what are the three most important phrases to know in a foreign language? I agree with what you said. I would also add it could be helpful to know how to ask where the US embassy is.

    What have you noticed most about Americans when you travel overseas? I agree with what you said.

    What are your least favorite ways to travel? I actually don’t like to fly, only because it is such a hassle–and that was pre-COVID. I can’t imagine what it’s like now.

    If you have a choice, which would you prefer, a road trip or a flight? Depends on where I’m going.

    Which do you prefer: aisle, middle or window seat? I prefer the aisle because I can get up and walk around and have easy access to the bathroom without having to crawl over people.

    What are your favorite in-flight activities? Reading, talking to the person I’m traveling with, playing games, watching movies.

    Which is your favorite airport? I’m not sure I have a favorite, lol.

    Do you ever purchase travel insurance? I always buy it if I’m traveling overseas because my medical insurance does not cover me.

    What’s your favorite travel-day outfit? I have comfortable clothes from Columbia, LL Bean, etc. that I like to wear. They have a lot of pockets, too.

    What are your favorite travel day snacks? Pretzels, nuts, chips, protein bars, chocolate.

    How many states have your visited in the U.S.? It’s amazing you have visited 48 states! I’ve been to 19.

    How many national parks have you visited? I really am not sure.

    What are your favorite national parks? Grand Canyon

    How many foreign countries have you visited? Canada, Mexico, Japan, France, Italy, the Vatican, England, Iceland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Bermuda, Bahamas, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos

    Who is your favorite travel companion? I have a good friend and co-worker who enjoys travel as much as I do, so I’ve been very fortunate. Sometimes her husband comes along too.

    This was fun!


    1. Thanks for sharing your answers! Travel is such a unique experience for each person, but finding what works best for you makes it even better. The only reason Lihue is my favorite airport is because it’s small and easy to get through, and Kaua’i is such a great place to come home to. I also dislike flying, but when you live out on an island in the middle of the ocean, you fly.


  2. You guys might like European river cruises (as long as water levels are not too low) out of Amsterdam or Budapest or Paris. They are small (like 100 people or fewer), only require unpacking once, and stop at interesting places. Usually, lots of wine is involved.


    1. We though seriously about doing a river cruise in Europe, and then saw the sightseeing groups from the ships almost daily being led through Strasbourg (anywhere from 20 to 59 or more in each group) and that killed that idea. The food and wine would be great, but otherwise, not for us.


  3. 1.I prefer independent travel, although as I get older that may change..
    2. I relax!
    3. Same as you. Also organic food stores and drugstores.
    4. mostly yea to street food, but depends.
    5. something simple and non greasy. A hardboiled egg, a piece of toast for example.
    6. same as you. Not greasy, I do eat salad.
    7. & 8. the same as you!
    9. I mostly only use a carry-on.
    10. I use a small light suitcase with wheels.
    11. Depends. Lodging if staying in a hotel or the like, that is the most important; if staying with friends, I would say transportation is the most important.
    12. & 13. the same as you!
    14. the same as you. I don’t even drive anymore. RVs sound like a lot of work. I was on one cruise and enjoyed it, but mostly when I left the ship :-).
    15. I have enjoyed road trips in the past, for the future I am thinking train travel when it’s safe, or flights depending on distance.
    16. I prefer aisle seats. I feel less crammed in.
    17. watching movies, dozing, chatting sometimes.
    18. Berlin Tegel. Not huge and well organized.
    19. Sometimes.
    20. Something comfortable.
    21. water, a sandwich with chips, something sweet.
    22. I think 44. I have not been to Montana, Idaho, the Dakotas, Minnesota or Arkansas.
    23. Hmmm, not sure…about 10?
    24. Favorite national parks: Grand Canyon, Zion and Indiana Dunes National Park (the newest National Park, no 61. I grew up there).
    25. 15: Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua, England, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, Turkey, Israel.
    26. I‘ve traveled alone and with a good friend.

    Enjoyable exercise!


    1. Thanks, SMS! I love reading about the countries others have been to that we haven’t been – it gives me things to think and dream about for the day when we can (hopefully) travel again. A road trip back on the mainland is still on our list, but keeps dropping down whenever we think of the actual driving, having to rent a car, lodging, etc. Interesting to hear Berlin Tegel – is is small or ?? Both Madrid and Bordeaux were poorly designed and difficult to get through, Madrid especially because of the size and the lack of shuttles. We walked MILES in that airport to get to our gate only to have a bus take us back almost to the gate near where we checked in! Not fun when you’ve got a heavy pack on. your back, and you haven’t eaten and nothing is open.


  4. I’ve lived in, worked in, or visited 35 states and 31 countries…..I was born in Germany when my father was stationed there and my mother said travel has been in my blood since then 😉

    I’m curious about how you carefully check out street food before eating it.

    Also are there any foods you do NOT eat depending upon where you are? I don’t eat lettuce or raw vegetables when traveling through most of Asia. I also don’t order seafood in landlocked states.

    What do you do with spare foreign change? Give away before leaving the country? Donate to WWF donation boxes in an airport? Save as souvenirs? Save hoping to go back to the country one day? or??


    1. With street food I look how the ingredients are stored. Do utensils look clean? How hot is the fire if things are being cooked, or are things being heated? And so forth. I usually avoid uncooked street food for those reasons and so far so good. I will eat seafood in landlocked states if it is cooked, but as for sushi, no way.

      We saved all our foreign currency and gave it all to our grandson when we were in Japan earlier this year – he loved getting it. We save our yen when we leave Japan because we know we’ll go back, although this year and next we’re sending back some of our yen that we had on hand when we left for the grandkids’ Christmas presents.


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