Ask the Grumpies: Traveling preferences?

Leah asks:

What are your favorite places to travel? What are your main priorities in places you travel?

I am such a homebody.  But I do love going to Los Angeles, especially the Westwood and Santa Monica areas.  That would probably be my favorite place to visit.  The food is just so amazing even from 4/5 star restaurants and there’s sun and everything is beautiful.  I also like San Diego, San Francisco, and Palo Alto for similar reasons (though the latter two are less beautiful… for one thing they’re paying attention to water restrictions).  Berkeley has great food but I find the downtown area kind of boring.  Cambridge, MA I’m extremely familiar with so I’ve got favorite places whenever I visit there (which I tend to do 2-3x/year).  I’ve got friends I like seeing in DC.  Manhattan has good food.  So does Montreal.  But I don’t go out of my way to go to either of the last three places.  Anytime I’m in Ann Arbor I stop at Zingerman’s.   Can you tell that I do most of my traveling for economics conferences?

I like going new places with my family.  I’ve been to Madrid twice without my family and loved it, but I’d like it more if I could take them with me.  I don’t think Germany would have been as nice without my family and I wouldn’t have gone to Luxemburg without them.  Of course, we mostly just go to the rural Midwest to visit DH’s extended family, so where we go doesn’t really have anything to do with where we prefer to go.  Our time is spent on family rather than on new locations.

My main priorities are:  1.  food (as discussed above) and 2.  transportation.  I prefer places that are walkable and have great public transit so I don’t have to drive around in an unfamiliar city.  (Though I have driven so much in LA that it’s pretty familiar at this point, still, who wants to drive in LA?  That’s probably why I prefer Westwood and Santa Monica– walkable and the Big Blue Bus.)  Mainly though I just need to make sure my kindle is loaded up with novels and I’ve packed a pair of pajama bottoms in case my bedroom is too cold and under blanketed.

#2 says:  I don’t want to travel now that I live in Paradise.  I live somewhere great and coach-class air travel has only gotten worse over time.  When I have to travel, I hope there are friends on the other end.

#1 says:  Awww.

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18 Responses to “Ask the Grumpies: Traveling preferences?”

  1. Zenmoo Says:

    At the moment we do most of our traveling to visit family because we want to maintain strong relationships despite living in different countries. Luckily our family lives in New Zealand so we can also do all the other stuff we love (like skiing and hiking and eating good food and drinking wine and craft beer) at the same time.
    I seriously recommend marrying a New Zealander for excellent family related travel opportunities.

    Otherwise, I like Japan for skiing and Singapore for food & culture.

  2. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Today’s extra action (find regular weekly actions from any of the mailing lists/webpages in our activism tab in the upper right corner) comes from the SPLC:
    “We just learned that the Senate Committee on Homeland Security is taking calls about Steve Bannon’s appointment to the National Security Council (NSC).

    We’re told that they’re tallying calls.

    You might get a busy signal but try, try, try again all this weekend. Leave a message if you get through to voicemail.

    The number: 202-224-4751

    Be sure to tell the committee that you believe no individual whose primary responsibility is political in nature should be allowed on the NSC or authorized to attend its meetings. Partisan politics have no place in our national security.”

  3. SP Says:

    Though I haven’t really been back, Santa Monica is one of my favorite places ever.

    I mostly like traveling to new places, and places that surprise me. I also like hiking vacations in the mountains here.

  4. chacha1 Says:

    I’ve gotta be honest, I’ve never been somewhere on vacation and not loved it. For most of my life I’ve been living in places that wouldn’t have been my first choice and doing jobs that were purely expedient. Vacations are a BFD.

    DH and I have had fabulous vacations in Hawaii (Big Island), the Olympic Peninsula, Sedona, San Diego, Sonoma County, western North Carolina (where my sisters live), and Cocoa Beach, FL (near where my parents live, so a week in FL was a compromise to see them. But: NASA!).

    The place we keep going back to is the place we’re buying land, the Sierra foothills. I love those mountains and everything in them.

    Places at the top of my list now (for economic feasibility and for pure attraction) are BC’s Sunshine Coast, Banff/Jasper National Park, and the Rogue River Valley in Oregon. Meanwhile DH is planning a hiking trip to the Utah national parks with his guy pal who hasn’t been able to do anything for ten years because of a pathologically jealous wife (soon to be ex).

    I like driving trips. Cities don’t freak me out. But I live in a megacity so I don’t especially want to vacation in cities. We both like countryside, preferably wine country, because wine country is country without being straight-up redneck.

  5. Linda Says:

    When planning my own travels I prioritize places that have good food and transit, too. I prefer to walk to get around and take buses/trains/trams for longer distances instead of driving. I make exceptions to that to travel with my two close girlfriends, both who seem to like car travel a lot. We’ve taken road trips from the Bay Area to Crater Lake and Portland, and from Boston to Acadia National Park and along the Maine coastline. Our most recent vacation last month was all in the Portland/Mt. Hood area, where one of these friends now lives.

    I’ve actually traveled quite a bit, both domestically and internationally. The solo trips I made after my divorce were probably the ones I liked the best: Galapagos Islands and Spain. I also enjoyed a small tour I took with a girlfriend to Scotland.

    I haven’t traveled much since moving to Paradise, though. Partly that’s because the higher cost of living means I have less to save towards travel, and partly it’s due to my health issues. I have made a few trips back to Chicago to visit with family and for work, but I don’t think of those as fun travel/vacation.

    In the near future I’d love to go back to Spain and walk the Camino de Santiago. I’ve also had a desire to go to Iceland and do a riding trip across the country for years. If I can get into horseback riding again, that one may be possible. The Camino may be more attainable since I can do hiking here for free or low cost to get in condition and practice. For some reason, Sri Lanka is calling my name, too. It just sounds lovely and exotic. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get there, but if not I’m OK with that.

  6. CG Says:

    We’ve been working our way through a lot of the national parks with the kids, and you really can’t go wrong! Also northern Michigan/Sleeping Bear Dunes area is my happy place.

  7. bethh Says:

    I just got back from a trip to Sweden. It was amazing and very very very easy to be a tourist there. Stockholm central area is super walkable and pedestrian-friendly. Transit is great. Everyone speaks very good English. The food was outstanding. The exchange rate is as good as it’s been in years. We also went north to the TreeHotel (seriously check it out) and the IceHotel and they were both awesome in the true sense of the word. I don’t have kids but the place seemed very family-friendly. Highly recommend that part of the world – I’ve never been and will absolutely go back.

    (also, tried calling that number and got a busy signal. will try again)

  8. jjiraffe Says:

    Thanks for all the action updates – helps me to be useful as opposed to just fretting.

    My favorite place to go is London. I used to live there, so I still know it pretty well and we have friends there. Great food, theater, shopping, culture, plus Paris is a short train ride. Great place for kids too: so much history. I also loved Tanzania – great people, food (seafood!) and amazing scenery.

    Food is big for me too. I need to be near good food. That’s probably the best thing about where we live – amazing food. Best of all, the best food is often the cheapest (burritos, dim sum, sushi in particular).

  9. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Priorities: Most definitely food.

    I envy zenmoo’s fabulously cosmopolitan travel tastes :) I was just thinking about how traveling at all is considered a huge luxury in my family and I’m satisfied with the tiniest of travel. I love Italy, Hawaii, San Diego, and I love discovering new places, but I’m mainly a homebody so I can’t be gone for too long at a time.

  10. Flavia Says:

    Cities for me,which usually means walkability or good public transit. I love New York (where I used to live), London, and Rome, but I’m up for any city, big or small.

    History & culture are my main priorities, and I like window-shopping and getting a feel for the particular wares of a place (whether that’s a green market, a bazaar, kitschy gift shops, or whatever). I like trying regional or local cuisine and experiencing the food culture–but dining is a lower priority.

  11. Leah Says:

    I love to travel and am happy most anywhere with at least parts of our vacation. Okay, Biloxi, MS, was not my favorite place. I could do without that. But I surprisingly enjoyed the Mobile, Alabama, area (we did a Gulf Coast road trip when our little one was about 9 months old). Dauphin Island was cool.

    Some of my favorite trips are visiting National Parks (TR Roosevelt Park is one I especially love). Hawai’i was sweet — planning a trip there next year for spring break with my parents, hopefully. Spain is great, tho I’ve only been to southern Spain. I studied abroad in the Netherlands and have been itching to get back since. Same with London and Ireland. New Zealand is fabulous and beautiful and amazing.

    Just wish I had more money and a little more time. There are too many sweet places to go.


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