Variety Is Key to Travel Experiences

Clients may have personal preferences, but they also like variety in their travel experiences By: Kenneth Shapiro
Shapiro // © 2015 TravelAge West
Shapiro // © 2015 TravelAge West

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Read our newest cover story on ways to find authentic travel experiences in Mexico.

This summer, my family is planning a vacation with another family, and recently they suggested that we all share a few things we would like to do on the trip. I emailed back a list with 14 items. The other family’s list had just two things. Up to that point, I was proud of myself for sticking to the must-dos. Now, I’m pretty sure they are seriously second-guessing their decision to go at all.

It’s a fact: People travel differently. But it’s rarely all or nothing. I’m the type who finds it difficult to lie on a beach with a book, but as much as I like to explore a new destination, there are plenty of times when I can be talked into a good nap or a couple more glasses of wine at a local cafe. (Don’t worry, I know how to chill out.) Ultimately, what often works best on vacation is a mix of different styles — and plenty of time to improvise.

In this issue’s cover story, “Authentic Mexico,” we examine ways that visitors can experience true Mexican culture, even when visiting the main tourist areas. I’m pleased we did this story, because people in the travel business so often talk in absolutes when discussing clients. We tend to define people by their interests (she’s a scuba diver, he’s a foodie) or general personality traits (he likes to relax by the pool, she wants to visit museums) without acknowledging that people can be many things depending on the situation.

There will be lots of visitors to Mexico this summer, and many of them will take full advantage of the amazing resorts, beautiful beaches, spectacular pools, lounge chairs next to the spectacular pools and more. At the same time, many of these tourists — in fact, the majority of these tourists, research shows — are going to want to experience the local culture of Mexico, as well.

It’s important to offer clients variety, including suggesting that they leave the resort to immerse themselves in the destination. With a little effort, it’s possible to find the balance between the vacation list with 14 items and the one with only two.