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A Day Well Spent.

Sitting still is not for me, I’m the type that returns home to get a rest from my vacation. I recall a Hawaiian vacation in 2012 where my wife, my kids and I couldn’t wait to get to the beach on our first day, but two hours later we couldn’t wait to get off the beach and find things to do. A few years later, we sent our 15-year-old daughter with her best friend and her family to an all-inclusive in Mexico. My daughter came back so disappointed because day after day all her friend wanted to do was sit by the pool. We joke with some close friends that the best way to stop being close friends would be to vacation together because they wouldn’t be pleased when I got up at 5am to make a smoothie and then head out to find the sunrise. In Carcassonne last year, my fellow travelers on an RS tour looked at me like I had two heads when I showed up for breakfast at 7:30 and tried to show them my photos of the sunrise that I had taken 90 minutes earlier. Personally, they’re the ones with two heads, it was a great start to the day; me and a woman from New Zealand had Carcassonne to ourselves, she took the north side and I took the south side.

One thing that I enjoy on this forum is how different everybody can see the same thing, whether it be a piece of art, a location or how we vacation. Because of my early schedule I was amused recently by a question on the Forum about what to do in Rome. The questioner stated that they could easily be ready to begin their day by 10:30. I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. That late of a start would have me stressed out that I was wasting a valuable vacation day. For me, a good vacation day starts at the crack of dawn by wandering around by myself while my wife sleeps until the horrifically late hour of 7, then breakfast together and off exploring. Usually we have something scheduled in the morning and then we keep the afternoon open for unscheduled exploring, a brief break back at our hotel, an early dinner around 5:00 or 6:00 and then wandering again until we’re tired. Bed by 10 and back up at 5 the next day-rinse and repeat.

Without being specific about locations, what is the template for your perfect vacation day?

Posted by
6039 posts

Without being specific about locations, what is the template for your perfect vacation day?

i think location would relevant and important, as to the 'template' for a perfect day.

If I am at a beachfront condo in Florida, my agenda would not be the same as waking up in Rome.

Posted by
2282 posts

Without being specific about locations, what is the template for your perfect vacation day?

Joe is right, this is very situation specific. That early to rise in bed by 10 would cause you to miss many memorable dinners and evenings in Spain. On the other hand I love rising early when visiting Kauai to watch the sea turtles when they are easy to spot, and going on long walks before many folks are out and about.

Posted by
6073 posts

I tend to travel "hard", perhaps too hard, but I prefer it that way while my body can handle it (I'm in my 40s). Ideally, I like to get up early (on vacation, between 6:30 am - 7:00 am is "early") and stay out as late as I can (I tend to eat late and like to walk afterwards, like in Italy). After a few days of this, I will get up a bit later and later each morning, but I want to be out of the hotel no later than between 8:00 am - 9:00 am after having breakfast or coffee. I do this so I can take the time to have leisurely lunches and late dinners without the need to rush or feel like I'm giving something up that's time-sensitive. I also will get up crazy early to see the sunrise (in places where it's spectacular like the Caribbean or Florida) or to walk the city before most people are up and about. I love those quiet times (it made it possible for me to really enjoy Dubrovnik). In vacation spots like beaches, I won't lay there all day but could walk for hours on the sand (it's much more tiring to walk in sand, especially in the heat, so I see it as a workout). I can easily swim in a pool for 2 hours a day without being bored.

So, basically, I'm a "maximizer" for now. As I get older, I will need to gradually slow down...that's life, and you have to be attuned to the needs of your body and endurance levels. Obviously, it's easiest to travel with those whose travel clocks match your own. Luckily, I have a travel buddy like that. It would be folly for anyone to push themselves too hard just to keep up with others - you have to find your own sweet spot, and that will change over time.

Posted by
1384 posts

I plan my days differently for my May trips than for my Sept/Oct trips. When the days are shorter and sights may close earlier, I skew my indoor sightseeing as early as hours allow.

I'll take a self-guided walk just after breakfast when it may be less crowded.

Since I travel solo, I'll often plan something in the evening around people, for a sense of security...a ballet or a night tour.

Posted by
1049 posts

Allan, are you separated at birth from my husband? He's also the ultra early morning type.

Good question, it really made me dream about my perfect days.

In Europe:
Get up early -- we are usually the first people in the breakfast room. After breakfast, we have our reservation to see whatever sites require reservations (I dislike afternoon reservations, I feel like all morning and through lunch I'm looking at my watch, and we always end up at the meeting place early). Then we have a leisurely lunch followed by the strolling part of the day. We'd like to be back at the accommodation between 4pm and 5pm. Accommodation must have a balcony, or some kind of view. DH will now nap, while I drink wine on the balcony/at the window. Then we are off for a lovely meal and more strolling.

At Sea:
I like a sea day, and we are often with a group of friends for those kinds of trips, and since we prefer transatlantic cruises there are a lot of sea days. So, we rise early, and head to breakfast. The others will find us in the usual area of the restaurant when they are up. We have a belly laugh first thing in the morning with our dear friends (our faces actually hurt at the end of the day from laughing with these particular people), then we head over to the morning stretch session (more laughing). After morning stretch, I'll do either the dancercise or the pool aerobics, DH and the others hit the hot tub. Then its time to get ready for lunch. In the afternoon, we decide between hanging out on our balcony overlooking the sea (with drinks), or attending the matinee or activity. Then drinks again with new friends we've met onboard. We prefer an early-ish dinner, then maybe another show or event, or just go to a bar to hang out.

(We laugh so much with these people we once had a nearby couple ask us if they had to pay to join our group or could they just join for free. Also, our instructions to each other are -- go and meet fun people and bring them back to the group. It never fails).

Beautiful times.

Posted by
4155 posts

I'm an early riser, though not as early as Allan. I like to walk around cities before most people are out, and I go to bed around 10. A "typical" city day would start with an early walk and breakfast, include a major museum or other sight in the morning, a light lunch of maybe street food, then some more wandering or a secondary sight depending on how I feel, weather, etc. Dinner early, probably with families and children in a place like Italy or Spain, which is OK with me. Maybe another stroll after that, or back to the hotel to read, review photos, and plan the next day. When my wife and I did these trips together, we'd usually split up after lunch and reconnect at the hotel. Now I set aside some late-afternoon time to call her as she's getting up on the west coast.

Being well ahead of Agnes on the age spectrum, I have to pace myself, especially since wife isn't there to remind me to slow down. Last trip I developed tendonitis from so much walking on cobblestones. Often I manage to catch a cold or something during a trip. I hate to miss this year's traveling because I don't know how many more I'll have.

Posted by
375 posts

My perfect day usually has one planned activity, preferably morning if it's a timed entry. The rest of the day will have been loosely organized with suggested activities (including estimated times), and places to eat, drink or otherwise relax. I don't like to have things too scheduled. I want to be able to enjoy an unexpected museum exhibit, garden, hike or new acquaintance.

Posted by
756 posts

I am like you, except I usually have more planned each day. Up early some mornings for early pictures, some up late for evening. And I plan, plan, plan.

Posted by
3126 posts

I have been up at 03:00 to take the shuttle to the top of a volcano in Hawaii to catch the sunrise that can't be found anywhere else in the world. I have also been up late in Spain to wind down after a late (by my standards) dinner and a stroll around town. I have done things at the time of day that fit the spot I was currently in. So the perfect vacation day depends completely on where I am and what there is to do there.

But the key to my vacation days is they must include some relaxation (other than the time I am in bed asleep) which allows me to more completely enjoy the experiences of the locations. Exactly what that might be again depends on the location. I always manage to cram in a lot of site seeing, beyond the basics that tourists gravitate toward, but don't want to have a day so full of things that I don't remember what I have done or seen because I am too exhausted from the nonstop sprint of "I must get there by then" approach. Having too many things pre planned removes the possibility of spontaneity. Having time to be spontaneous has allowed me to find many enjoyable experiences that I would have otherwise missed.

And, after that Hawaii volcano, I spent a part of the day passed out by the pool, and was still able to attend a luau that evening and do a few other touristy things as well including taking a nice swim in the ocean where I got to play with a sea lion who just really enjoyed playing catch with me. After the late night dinner in Spain, I slept late the next morning and did it all over again just at a different restaurant.

Posted by
73 posts

I like to get up early and be on the go constantly until bedtime. My husband is mostly like this, but likes a bit slower pace. When we were in Prague in Jan/Feb, he was getting sick and so was not up to our usual. It drove me nuts, lol. I wanted to keep going, going, going, but I knew he felt awful.

I used to travel with a friend who would sleep until noon, do absolutely no research ahead of time, and then not want to do much overall. Not my style at all! I got tired of having to give up what I wanted to do as she didn't compromise at all, so that ended that.

I often read on forums how slow travel is the best etc which also drives me nuts. What is best is different for each person. We all have different ways of seeing the world:)

Posted by
398 posts

We're in our midish 60's, so our days include some quiet time in the mid to late afternoon. We are early risers - not like Allan, and like to be at our morning destination at opening times. That gives us at least 3 hours to enjoy the museum/art gallery/hike/etc and then have a slow lunch and wander prior to returning to our accommodation. We like to rent apartments, or rooms with a kitchenette so that we can have our glass of wine and appies prior to wandering out for dinner. What we accomplished during a day 10-20 years ago is much different than what we do today. The important thing is to enjoy what you do see and allow time and opportunity for the unexpected.

Posted by
112 posts

What a nice topic, Allan, thanks for starting it. I enjoyed hearing about the different ways people spend their travel days. It gives me hope for more travel to come! For me, the wonderful thing about this world is celebrating differences in each other. I know folks who are “go-go” all the time and those who would enjoy relaxing and reading during their vacations. We are somewhat in between and like some free time and some planned activities. Being flexible is important goal when we travel. I thoroughly enjoy planning our trips and although my husband probably would not travel much on his own, I am grateful he embraces the experience when we begin our journeys. Happy travels to all, no matter “how” you spend your days and nights!

Posted by
810 posts

I like to be out seeing things as much as possible on my trips. I always wake up at 6 every day, so I do this on vacation too. I’m out the door as soon as I’ve had breakfast. I love being out and about when the streets are still pretty quiet. I also have morning and afternoon plans everyday. That being said, I enjoy having an hour or two each day to sit somewhere and drink a coffee while people watching and soaking up the scenery around me. My favorite evenings in Europe are just wandering around, or sitting with a glass of wine looking at something nice. I don’t do many beach vacations but when I do I usually enjoy an early morning and an evening walk on the beach, a couple hours during the day on the beach, and then another activity, or sight seeing somewhere else during the day.

Posted by
763 posts

It's becoming an echo chamber of you early risers in this thread! I am a go-go-go person, but not an early riser. Had enough of that growing up with my dad who was always rousting us out by 5:30-6:00 am. A nice long sit over coffee between 9 and 10 gets me ready for a busy day that goes late. On one trip, I pushed and pushed my teenagers to get up early, with nothing but family friction to show for it. Then the day we showed up at 4:00 at Versailles and had the palace nearly to ourselves...another day we were on top of the Arc de Triomphe when it closed and saw the lights on the Eiffel Tower wink out for the night...the candlelight tour of Vaux-le-Vicomte after an afternoon Vélo-Rail ride and picnic...sitting at the opera in Verona till 1 am and then following the stylish Italians for late pizza and drinks...finally taught me there is lots of fun to be had at the other end of the day and it suits my body clock much better. But sitting on a beach or around a pool all day? Color me crazy in 30 minutes.

Posted by
603 posts

I am what I will call an active traveler. I like to get up early to enjoy the sunrise, a hike, or a walk. I am also someone who has no patience for lines, so touring major sites when they open provides a different experience than middle of the day. I also enjoy having late dinners and the nightlife, so I typically split my days, getting some rest in the afternoon before heading out in the evening.

I love to hear about everyone else’s travel styles. Since I often travel solo, it is nice to set my own rhythm. When traveling with my husband or friends, then my day adjusts to accommodate the needs of my travel companions, except for the sleeping in part. My husband who is also an early riser will join me and then when we are with friends we’ll meet them around 11:00 a.m. when they are ready to go.

Posted by
3088 posts

Wow, for some people, 5am is the end of the day (night), not the start of the next one! As perfect vacations include some variety, no one formula works for every day. But an outdoor market (or a covered/indoor one like a Les Halles in a French city, or London’s Borough Market really does contribute to a perfect vacation day!

Allan, do you use coffee to help get things going in the morning, or are you at full speed the moment your feet hit the floor, without any boost from caffeine?

Posted by
1400 posts

So true, everyone travels differently. We also adjust to which country we are in and who we are traveling with. We know even before we plan, who with and where we are going, so there usually aren’t any surprises. And when we travel alone, it is always the best.

Posted by
929 posts

Allan, do you use coffee to help get things going in the morning, or
are you at full speed the moment your feet hit the floor, without any
boost from caffeine?

I don't drink coffee, don't drink Red Bull, I just go. At home during normal times I'm out the door and at the gym 3 times a week at 5:15, and play hockey at 6am twice a week. The pandemic is messing with me.

Posted by
9389 posts

In Venice, we love to roll out at 6 am for a walk through the city as it wakes up, grabbing a cappuccino along the way at a bar that caters to workers. We’ve been there so many times we know our way without a map. Back to the room at 7-ish for a shower and breakfast, then back on the street for the day’s activities by 9. We will put 20000 steps on the pedometer during a day there but we still have a two-or-three hour down-time in the afternoon most days. Aperitivo hour a must, a nice dinner at 8 pm. Repeat as needed.

By contrast when we are in the mountains or other hiking location, out the door for the first lift or bus to a trailhead, timing late morning coffee and pastry with arriving at a rifugio then marching on, perhaps with lunch at another mountain hut. In the UK, we love to take our hikes/walks timed to arrival at a village pub for lunch.

No matter where we are, from Venice to London or in small mountain villages of northern Italy or Switzerland, we take the passeggiata before dinner, doing a bit of shopping, having an aperitivo, watching people go about their business.

Many times we rent apartments and have a quiet dinner “at home” after miles and miles of walking.

We find grabbing those early morning hours we beat the crowds as so many vacationers cannot motivate themselves out of bed before 10 am. Nightlife has no appeal for us.

Posted by
929 posts

I love those quiet times (it made it possible for me to really enjoy
Dubrovnik).

In Venice, we love to roll out at 6 am for a walk through the city as
it wakes up.

We find grabbing those early morning hours we beat the crowds as so
many vacationers cannot motivate themselves out of bed before 10 am.
Nightlife has no appeal for us.

Same as my comments about Carcassonne, there are times of day for even the most crowded locations, you can find peace and quiet. Every morning I had Venice to myself.

We were on a cruise when we visited Dubrovnik and we were off the ship at 7 and wandered with almost nobody in our way and when the walls opened at 8, we had them to ourselves until about 10:00 after we'd made the full circle, then everybody else had decided to arrive and it was wall to wall people. We stayed a step ahead of the crowds all day.

I'm not much of a nightlife person either, but I do love big cities. We stayed in Covent Garden in London and loved how busy and electric the theatre district was in the evenings. We'd wander for hours in the evening soaking in the atmosphere.

Posted by
5167 posts

Not just a vacation day but nearly every morning. A trek on a trail in nearby Griffith Park here in Hollywood. Fern dell up to the Observatory. Or the Charlie Turner trail from the Observatory up to the outlook or from the Greek Theatre up to the helipad and back down.

It’s the 3 day Memorial Day weekend here in the states.

Did the Greek Theatre to the helipad starting a 5am this morning because access to the Observatory parking lot is closed. The Griffith Park Observatory is closed due to the Covid virus.

Park Gates opens at 5am so it nice to hit the trails In the cool pre dawn air. Sometimes the coyotes howl but mostly it’s a quiet peaceful sojourn to start the day. Today far busier than usual because it’s a holiday weekend.

When in Europe it’s still a sunrise jaunt. Last Fall while staying in the Chiswick and then Richmond UK neighborhoods it was a stroll along the Chiswick Mall as well as lengthy sojourns into Richmond Park and then the Thames path!

Have meandered to enjoy sunrise in Venice, Rome, Dingle, Belfast, Milan, Paris, Havana, NYC, DC, San Francisco, Hawaii, Amsterdam, Munich, Brussels, Copenhagen, San Diego, Taos, Portland, and Yreka.

That’s how I start my perfect day. Getting the blood flowing to the brain and keeping the heart pumping.

Posted by
1400 posts

Allan, when we visit Dubrovnik we are on the beach by 7 am, or earlier, for about an hour, my husband is a beach person. Then while I and anyone with us, return to shower, my hubby will go to the market for fruit and some breakfast fixings. We usually stay in the same place and it has a small kitchenette. We are out and about early too. But Croatia is what i call an early country, unlike Greece say. Most Croatians eat their main meal around 2:00 then visit friends and have someting Light in the evening, like cheese pita. Much better for us, we are morning people too.

Posted by
3321 posts

“Sitting still is not for me.” Allan, I resemble that statement. My family still refers to our trip to Disney World as “bootcamp”......and the kids were teenagers!

Ahhh, to be on vacation in Europe again, even if just in my mind! Thanks for this topic, Allan. It’s good to read some positive posts.

I’ve traveled to Europe several times with my husband and also a few where I traveled just by myself. Normally, if we’re traveling together, we go to breakfast about 8am and stay active until mid-afternoon for a gelato break, or my husband likes a short nap. Then we stay out later to linger over dinner outdoors.

It’s interesting, that my husband is an earlier riser than I am, but if i am traveling solo, I will be up earlier. I have breakfast by 7am and am out exploring and taking photos while the town is quiet, the churches are open, and a few shop owners are setting up. I’ve determined that the reason I’m up earlier is because I don’t stay out at night as much when I’m traveling solo - safety & many times I’ll just have some market food in my room and my bigger meal at lunch.

Besides the difference in timing leaving the hotel, I also travel vastly different if I’m traveling solo. I purposely planned 3 1-night stays in a row during my 3-week trip to France last year, and it worked perfectly for me. (Chartres, Le Mans, Angers). Hindsight 20/20, I would plan it exactly the same. I help friends plan their trips, and before we discuss anything, I ask them to describe their perfect idea of days in Europe - no wrong answers! ; )

Posted by
929 posts

Nice to hear from like-minded people, but where are my opposites? Those that want to sleep till noon but are out having fun until midnight. Is it just the cruise and all-inclusive crowd that do that? Are we European fanatics all on a 9 to 5 schedule when we visit?

Posted by
2275 posts

I’m an early bird...but a laid back one. I’m not usually much for packing in a million things, I tend to like to wander and be leisurely.

So I would be awake at 6:30ish, eat a quick breakfast in the apartment, then head out for an early morning walk. Usually I take photos, sometimes catch sunrise depending on time. Often I go to famous outdoor things (fountains, squares, exteriors of famous buildings) and get great photos when an hour later it’s a mob scene.

So...after this walk - some days I’ll meet my family at a sight when it opens. If a museum opens at 9 it’s usually not crowded until 11. So we’d meet there and spend a few hours at a must-see place.

Lunch - at least an hour and a half in a nice cafe OR a picnic in a park, also an hour and a half.

Then some wandering/exploring streets/stumbling into smaller sights like less-famous churches or minor museums.

Then a siesta. I don’t care if I’m not in Spain. I’m taking an afternoon rest and calling it a siesta.

Evening walk. Dinner, maybe, or maybe just a series of appetizers at wine bars. Eat gelato. See monuments lit up for evening. Maybe a concert once a trip, but it’s the walking/exploring I like more.

Bed, not too late.

Stay at this town for at least 3-4 nights so I don’t need to pack up and leave very often. Get into a routine, such as it is.

Posted by
72 posts

Without good reason, you would not find me getting up early to go-go-go. I don't want to need a holiday after my holiday! If I need to get up early to fit in what I want to do in the day, I would think I'm probably trying to do too much in a day and that I need to stay longer to do things at a more relaxed pace, or plan to return another time.

My perfect day would have us lounging about over coffee till we were good and ready to face the day. Chats about what we might do and where me might eat, and what's been happening in the world overnight.

I would never willingly include a hotel breakfast, so I'd be out for coffee and light breakfast (lovely to enjoy a fresh breakfast and proper coffee in a town square or cosy cafe without the hotel hordes). The rest of the day is planned around late lunch, apero and a late dinner. Perfect.

PS> I am not into cruises or all inclusive and I don't think being a late riser is wasteful or lazy, or that an early riser is better or having a superior experience.

Posted by
929 posts

PS> I am not into cruises or all inclusive and I don't think being a
late riser is wasteful or lazy, or that an early riser is better or
having a superior experience.

Kiwi, I hope you didn't interpret my comments as that. The laid-back crowd had been missing from this post and I was trying to find you.

Posted by
333 posts

I tend to schedule My day for a reasonable early rise (about 7 or so) and an early visit to whatever’s the main thing for the day (if possible). And if that is short I may schedule something after that. Then the rest of the day I play by earl. I usually have a list of things to do wherever I am at. Divided into 3 class A B and C. A being must see B being it would be nice and C being if I am looking for something else to do. So after my one (or early two) Must See class A things I will decide how we are feeling and I will fill in the rest of the day as we feel up to it. Usually I will try from something that does not require anything physical for right after out Must See (unless that required nothing physical). Then after a bit of a rest we do a bit more.
Some days we are back in our room after dinner and spend Tthe even sorting photos or such. But some times we don’t get back until late such as a late dinner or an evening on the Eiffel Tower or a night bus tour of the city or what have you.

Note I travel with my father who is in his 80s so we are more limited. But now that I am in my 50s I find I need a bit of a rest between doing things.

I also plan about 1 day in 6 being VERY relaxing. A river tour or something that basicly requires no physical activity. We spent one day just driving the coast of the south of France from Nice to St Tropez. Stoped and waded in the Med picked up a picnic lunch and had lunch at a shore side park and otherwise just enjoying the view. Later that trip we drove around Chateau country for a day.

But in general I am not sure I could handle a vacation we’re I just sit and “relax” all day on a beach or by a pool.

Posted by
929 posts

Note I travel with my father who is in his 80s so we are more limited.

We almost broke my Mom at Disney World in 2017. My son was in 3rd year University and my daughter was 1st year and so we'd decided on one last big family trip funded by the Bank of Mom and Dad before the kids grew up and started paying for things themselves. We brought my Mother-in-Law age 75 and my Mom aged 86. I was fooled by my Mom's activity capabilities because I was comparing her to other residents at the unassisted living seniors home she was living at. A couple of days in she was still going strong but hit a wall on day 3 and I had to take her home mid-day. For the remainder of the 2 weeks I stayed with her and cut my days short while everyone else maintained our typical torrid pace. I did suggest a wheelchair at one time, but received a death stare in return and a comment that wheelchairs were for old people.

As it turns out it is some of the best times I've spent with my Mom. We'd still hit the parks, but find more restful things to do when she was tired or I noticed her fading, and we would also head out for longer lunches or sightseeing at places where she could sit and rest. I know where I got my travel style from, she also doesn't want to waste a moment.

Posted by
72 posts

Allan - No, I didn't interpret your comment personally.

But I do feel that I need to defend the tone and judgement that often comes with not being up with the birds! I'm not a farmer, so I don't think it really matters and I certainly don't feel like my day is wasted if I am enjoying the things I want to - whether that's at 8am or 3pm.

I can't help but feel that the early birds that are having their early dinners in empty restaurants are the ones missing out!

Anyway, I'm on the other side of the world, so we're always first up!

Posted by
671 posts

I also have to defend those NOT up at 5:00am. [My husband is another long-lost brother of Allan's. My husband is upset that he can't find coffee at 5:00am.]

My perfect pace is getting up before the hotel breakfast ends, and then starting a well-organized day. My daughter and I are in PERFECT sync on this timing, and are out of the hotel most of the day. No naps, but maybe feet up around 6:00pm, before going back out again. My 5:00am husband then needs an afternoon nap, and is ready for bed at 9:00pm. Guess with whom I prefer to travel?

But, viva la difference !

Posted by
2081 posts

I travel solo and thus have only myself and my whims to answer to. Assuming I have no specific place to be at a certain time, my body seems to naturally gravitate to out of the hotel by 10 am--I might be up at 7 and relax with coffee in my room or head down to breakfast in the hotel at 9. Then I'm out of the hotel until after dinner, in good weather easily til 8 pm. I rest as needed, and generally stay very busy so bed time is between 10 and 11.

Posted by
16608 posts

I generally operate on Christa's schedule, but it's not ideal since my trips span the summer. On the too-rare occasions when I was outdoors between 8 and 9 AM, I really enjoyed the mild weather as well as the small number of tourists wandering around. On my next trip I'm going to try to shift to an earlier schedule; I suspect it will help if I eat nothing after 6 PM.

Posted by
73 posts

I mentioned above that we get up early and are on the go all day. At home, we get up really early too, so this is our usual routine, not just for when on vacation. We are up by 5am on any given day.

Posted by
929 posts

I've been going over the daily schedules that our guide posted every evening for our RS Loire Valley to The South of France tour that my wife and I were on at this time last year (today we were in Arles). I realize now that it is no wonder I enjoyed that trip so much because the itinerary was very much to my personal template. Breakfast was around 7:30 every morning which gave me plenty of time to wander in advance while my wife got ready, then on the bus by 8:30 to our destination. The afternoons were either free or a 2nd destination was planned. I didn't like the dinner scheduled for 7 every evening-much to late as it got in the way of my sunset wandering. When I'm named Emperor of the World I may change some of the RS itineraries to better suit me, but in the meantime it's a pace that suits me well.

Posted by
3321 posts

“ I didn't like the dinner scheduled for 7 every evening-much too late as it got in the way of my sunset wandering.”

Allan, that comment made me laugh! During our independent trips to Italy and Spain, that would have been an early dinner. In fact, at our first Italian town during our second trip to Italy, we couldn’t find any place open at 7pm. We walked and walked. Then magically around 8 or 9pm, all of the piazzas turned into outdoor restaurants.

Last year we ate around 8pm in France, followed by their wonderful Light Shows around 10pm.

Maybe when you’re Emperor, you could change the timing of sunset! ; )

Posted by
863 posts

When traveling on our own we usually start the day with leisurely coffee and breakfast. Then we venture on some pre planned destination day trip for lunch and exploring that town. At some point we find the perfect piazza, cafe, square and order the regional Aperitivo or drink specialty. Add people watching and sunshine and bingo- perfect afternoon or early evening.

Posted by
380 posts

No template at all. When it happens that’s great. A perfect day can happen at an overly touristy location or the secret hideaway location of a lifetime. It can happen with perfect planning or by happenstance. I understand wanting to make the most of a once in a lifetime journey but some people may get wrapped a little too tightly in search of perfection. I’ve been excited, frustrated, ambivalent, bored but such is life. ( I’ve been in all 50 states and 54 countries, so there is some experience.....)

Rick Steves mellow on screen persona is something to consider while “on the road”.

Posted by
929 posts

No template at all. When it happens that’s great. A perfect day can
happen at an overly touristy location or the secret hideaway location
of a lifetime.

I'm not wired to wing it and the stress of no plan would ruin my enjoyment, but admittedly I have had unexpectedly good days when there was no plan. To save time from re-writing, here's an excerpt from a Trip report I wrote recently;

We’d found a cheap 5-day cruise along the California coast and the ship also docked in Ensenada for a day. In our pre-trip research, we could not find anything of interest that we wanted to see or do there. Even on the ship, there was a lot of jokes from staff of it being a wasted Port. So, we figured we’d head out, wander around for an hour or two and then head back to the ship. As it turns out, it was our most talked about day on that trip. We found this tiny local history museum where we were the only tourists and the staff even seemed surprised that we showed up. It was actually a very interesting museum that described how the area was originally settled and how the Spanish came and pushed the natives off the land; very similar stories to the Native Indian stories in the US and Canada. We then walked along the main shopping street that caters to the tourists off the ship. We found a bar that advertised the best margaritas in the world for $1. $10 later we staggered back to the ship after an unexpectedly fun day.

Here's a link if any of you are still locked at home with nothing better to do. https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/trip-report-most-memorable-moments