“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
Why Fifty-Plus Nomads Should Occasionally Consider Taking Resorts, Cruise, and Festival Oriented Vacations
Many travel-related blogs and websites scorn ¨canned¨ packaged, tourist experiences like resorts, cruises, and amusement parks.
Yet. I spent eight months (out of four and a half years) enjoying these ¨inauthentic¨ experiences. I would not trade these experiences for something more ¨authentic¨.
After spending months enjoying more ¨authentic¨ experiences (like learning vacations and volunteering), going to resorts, cruises, and amusement parks felt like a short vacation and was a lot of fun. I:
- Admired the tremendous creativity and talent.
- Relished the chance to sit back and enjoy the party atmosphere.
The only real problems with these ¨inauthentic¨ experiences are:
- They cost twice as much per day as more ¨authentic¨travel experiences.
- After a week, I get tired of all the noise, crowds, and spectacle.
My Favorite Resorts, Festival and Amusement Park Experiences
Some of my favorite packaged tourist experiences include:
- Spending five days on the Las Vegas strip seeing shows, visiting casinos and hotels, and eating great meals. (I love the food and decoration of the Bellagio resorts).
- Enjoying the tourist attractions around Cancun for two weeks. I particularly loved the Xoximilco and Xcaret amusement parks. Moreover, my favorite Cirque de Soleil show is La Joya. La Joya is a resident show at the Vidanta resort in the Riviera Maya. It is Cirque de Soleil’s only dinner theatre experience. (The theatre is much more intimate than the other Cirque show and the food is truly innovative and tasty). I also really enjoyed the jolly Roger, Cancun’s Pirate Cruise.
- Visiting Dubai’s incredible malls which feature among other oddities one of the world’s largest aquarium tanks and an artificial snow lift (in one of the world’s hottest cities).
- Marveling at the Rio Carnival’s incredible floats, costumes, and music at the Sambadrome. The Carnival- which lasts six to eight hours a night for four nights- is called justifiably¨the Greatest Show on Earth¨.
- Attending the Calgary Stampede. The fireworks, art displays, animal shows, parades, and festivals are some of the best I have ever seen. Calgary also takes on an inimitable festive and warm atmosphere during the Stampede.
- Taking ¨behind the scenes¨ tours of all four Disneyworld parks in Orlando (and both Disneyland Parks in California) which showcased:
- How Disney manages the animals at the Animal Safari Park.
- The shops where Disney designs and cleans their uniforms and costumes.
- The nursery where Disneyworld sculpts its iconic topiaries.
- Some of Epcot’s excellent, ethnic restaurants. (The Les Halles restaurant at the French Pavillion has the best French food outside of France!).
- Small details that Walt Disney designed that remain even to this day at Disneyland California.
- Visiting Hong Kong Disneyland to see both a park that was designed in homage to Disney’s original park vision and observe how the Disney company integrated Chinese culture into the park. (I highly recommend the experiences of eating Chinese pork buns in the Sleeping Beauty Castle).
Some of my favorite travel experiences have taken place aboard cruise ships, including:
- The Norwegian Epic‘s incredible Broadway-style shows: Priscilla: the Queen of the Desert, Burn the Floor, and my favorite– the dinner-theater: Cirque Epicurean.
- Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Sea‘s terrific broadway show: Saturday Night Live and their impressive skating spectacular.
- The beautiful design, decoration, activities, and excellent cuisine on Celebrity’s Constellation and Holland America’s Eurodam.
A Final Note
I explore a related theme in my blog post: What is the Difference Between a Traveler and a Tourist?
Some Additional Posts About Lessons I Learned Traveling Round-the-World for Five Years
- Fifty Plus Nomad’s Exclusive Traveling and Living Abroad Seminars: Let Me Help You Put Your Dreams Into Flight (Coming Soon)Take one of my two Fifty-Plus Nomad seminars in my home in Merida, Mexico. Benefit from my sixteen years of experience traveling and living around the world. Learn how to travel around the world long-term and live in different countries.
- My Temporary Home Base in Montreal: 10 Reasons I Loved Coming Home During My Five Year Trip Around the WorldDuring my round the world travels,, I was glad to spend tree months every year at a home base in Montreal. Not only did I grow very fond of Quebec and Eastern Canada but it was fun to just do day-to-day activities with friends.
- How To Avoid Loneliness During Your TravelsWhen I was traveling around the world as a young man, I frequently got lonely. When I was able to travel around the world again long term, I deliberately participated in group tours, cruises, volunteering, and learning vacations to avoid loneliness. It worked wonders for me.
- How Too Much Togetherness May Ruin Your Long-Term TravelsWhile too much togetherness hasn’t been a serious problem during my travels. I have met couples who had problems with too much togetherness during their long-term, round the world travels.
- Justifying Your Fifty-Plus Nomad Lifestyle: An Unexpected ChallengeI was surprised how often I had to justify my existence when I traveled around the world. Here are some tips in case you find yourself in the same situation.
- Paying More than Locals As a Foreigner: How to Deal with and Avoid ProblemsWhen I was younger being charged more for things than locals used to piss me off. Now I simply acknowledge it as part of traveling in third-world countries. I find the less it bothers me the less I attract aggressive vendors, too.
- Culture Shock: The Greatest Challenge for Long-Term Travelers and Expats?By far the biggest issue I had while traveling around the world as a younger man was culture shock. It even resulted in me making some major decisions, most of which I regret in retrospect. In my experience, many people suffer from culture shock while traveling around the world or living abroad but most don’t even know they are suffering from culture shock.
- Backpacker Syndrome: Why Travel Burnout is Usually Part of a Nomadic LifestyleI think every long-term traveler regardless of the budget will occasionally suffer from backpacker’s syndrome. I deal with it by slowing down, staying in my hotel for a day or two, or scheduling some new activities.
- Church Overload Syndrome: When You Just Can’t Stand Seeing Another ChurchDuring my five years traveling around the world. I occasionally suffered from mild travel burnout. Only once did I succumb to church overload syndrome because over time I have learned how to appreciate churches. However, church overland syndrome used to bother me frequently and it seems commonplace among other long-term travelers.
- Consider Resorts, Cruises, Festivals, and Amusement Parks in Your Long-Term Travel PlansWhile many travelers pooh-pooh resorts, cruises, festivals, and amusement parks, I enjoy them in small doses. It is fun to see the creativity of the developers and event planners. It is also a nice break from more serious and intellectual activities.
- Learning Vacations and Volunteering: The Most Overlooked Travel OptionsMy favorite type of group travel is volunteering and learning vacations. No aspect of group travel has so influenced who I am as a person and how I view the world.
- Independent Travel: Advantages and DisadvantagesDuring my five years traveling around the world, I spent about half my time traveling independently and the other half on group tours, cruises, volunteering, and learning vacations. I love the freedom to explore things in depth that comes with independent travel. However, I find exclusively traveling independently to get exhausting and lonely if done for months at a time. I also love the diversity of experiences.when I mix group and independent travel.
- Don’t Avoid Group Tours and Cruises During Your Round-the-World TravelOne of my biggest surprises in traveling around the world for five years was how much I enjoyed group tours and cruises. It is nice to have other people deal with arrangements. Many of the tour guides are incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. My fellow travelers were usually kind and interested in learning.
- Traveling in Developed Countries: Why it is a Myth that Traveling to Western Europe and Other Developed Countries is Boring and ExpensiveOne of my biggest surprises when I traveled around the world for five years was how much I loved traveling in the developed world (USA/Canada, Australia/New Zealand, Western Europe, Singapore, Japan, the UAE, etc). Until I began to travel around the world for a long term, I always thought the developed world was less interesting than in the third world. Now I find both equally interesting and enjoyable.
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Third World TravelI believe that everyone who has the opportunity to travel round the world should visit countries in both the developing, third world and the developed world (Western Europe, USA/Canada, Australia/New Zealand, etc.). This post outlines the advantages and disadvantages of third-world, emerging country travels.
- Round the World Travel: My Top 4 LessonsI learned four lessons from my five-year journey around the world: 1) Mix group and independent travel; 2) Travel to varied parts of the world; 3) Avoid travel burnout, and 4) Have a home base.