Our Traveler this week is Marty from the North Shore of Massachusetts. Hi, Marty!
This post is part of our YouPaca The Bag Traveler Series. This series looks at how people from all walks of life travel. We analyze what works for them and what doesn’t, their travel planning strategies, obstacles they’ve encountered, destinations they enjoy, their future travel goals, and more. We hope you enjoy reading this series as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together!
Tell us about yourself.
I am 69 years old and retired. I worked for 42 years on behalf of an international non-profit serving poor elderly. Much of the traveling I have done happened through work, or through volunteer projects I was involved in.
Did you grow up traveling? If no, when did you start to travel?
I took my first plane ride when I was 1 month old, although I would not attribute that voyage to “traveling.” But to some extent it may have been the beginning of a desire that grew through the years just to hop on a plane and go!
My family made a lot of trips to Canada, and one long trip out west, but it was my 4 month sojourn in Europe at the age of 18 that lit the real fire. I would have to wait 7 years to get back, and another 7 years after that.
What is your favorite trip you have taken and why?
My favorite trip: impossible to name one. Top three: Scotland, from whence came my forebearers; Poland (the trip to Auschwitz was soul disturbing); and Egypt, right after 9/11.
How do you normally plan your trips? (do you plan them yourself, join a group tour, hire an agent, etc.)
Most of my trips were planned through work. When I would travel leisurely, I would usually plan the trips myself, using internet search sites like Kayak or Expedia. The Egypt trip I had taken was offered to me by a professional travel company, Grand Circle Corp.
What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome while traveling?
The biggest obstacles I encountered always involved language.
One time I was traveling from Barcelona to Paris with my daughter. We bought train tickets with an assigned car and seats. However, when the train arrived our car didn’t exist! We tried asking agents for help, but they couldn’t understand what we were asking. We jumped on the train and found another passenger that spoke English and they explained that the car had been removed and the train was overbooked! So we had to sit or stand where ever we could find space!
Best travel tip you have ever received?
The best travel tip I can offer is to allow enough time, and to remain flexible.
In my younger years, I did not allow myself enough time and I missed multiple flights before learning my lesson.
Another tip would be to confirm that something is open when you go there, such as a museum. Or if you need tickets well in advance for something, do your research ahead of time. Don’t expect that you might be able to buy tickets when you arrive. You don’t want to show up to a city for something and find out it is either closed or you needed tickets weeks ago.
What is a travel essential that you must travel with and why?
Appropriate and necessary documents, cash or credit cards, medicines, and reservations, if needed, like on trains or boats.
I usually carry printouts of everything that I have planned, so that if the hotel or company says they don’t have my registration, I can quickly provide proof!
Where do you want to visit in the future and why?
I would still like to go to Greece, North Africa, the Caribbean, and a few places in South America.
When I was in college, I backpacked around Europe and was supposed to visit a friend in Greece but I ran out of money before I could get there. I have wanted to plan a trip ever since.
The other destinations are on my list because of ties to family and friends (Morocco, islands in the Caribbean, and different places in South America).
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