Why People Don’t GO to Europe

My husband and I were plowing into some fiesta fondue at my favorite local wine bar, The Funky Door, this weekend when I brought up the subject of next year’s spring break trip. Bless his heart. This guy has to talk travel all.the.time. One benefit of being married to a vacation planner is never really having to think about the details of your next trip (we are both fortunate that he is not a hands-on kind of guy when it comes to the planning process). We’ve already decided that spring break 2017 will be spent in Europe, but there are sooooooo many issues I need him to weigh in on before I can begin the process of putting this trip together–one that I know will continuously change based on the awesome itineraries I assemble for my clients. #occupationalhazard

While sometimes I am always happy to call the shots, I really want my husband to tell me where he wants to go, what he wants to see and do, what his trip objectives are. I’ve spent more time in Europe than he has, and given professional opportunities that arise, I will continue to visit without him. So this is me trying to be fair ;). It’s also an issue of practicality:

  • My husband will not be able to accompany my daughter and I for the first several days of our trip due to work obligations. Therefore, I need to be sure that items high on his priority list do not sneak their way into the first portion of our travels.

My hubby is like many of my clients: he wants to see and do everything. He doesn’t want to miss out on anything. One place (Paris) leads to several others (Brussels, Barcelona, Normandy, the Alps). Yes, he is thrilled and fully supportive of me whisking the kiddo away pre-break and lengthening our time there, but I know it bums him out to think that we’ll still be doing super-cool stuff without him.

Here’s the real issue–the one that I see professionally every single day–the one I struggle with myself from time to time. HE CAN’T MAKE UP HIS MIND!!!!!! It’s just too much. This is not an condition of apathy, it’s a symptom of being overwhelmed by all the options. Kid, meet your candy store.

We Americans have come to treat Europe–an entire continent–as an individual country (or state, even). This is the single biggest fatal flaw when it comes to planning and enjoying a European vacation. Why do we do this?

  1. Trains. Virtually the entire continent is connected by a vast, reliable, and often high-speed rail network. You add to this the relative affordability of European airlines, and you’ve got yourself the ability to get anywhere with speed and efficiency. The major flaw here is equivocating transport to pleasure. When it comes to travel, it is most definitely about the destination, not the journey.
  2. Size. This is a faulty misconception that we need to completely dismember. France alone is about the size of Texas. You can’t visit all of the theme parks in Texas in a week, yet you expect to take on an entire country (or continent)???
  3. Travel time. It takes a long time to get there. I get it. I don’t like to spend a lot of time on a plane. With my 7 year-old. Who does? But we have to accept that it is ok to do so. Lots of people fly over the Atlantic (many from LA–not NYC) several times a month! Yet most leisure travelers treat destinations like Europe, Hawaii, and Asia like once-in-a-lifetime vacations that require a now or never need to cramwaytoomuchstuffin.

We need a mindset shift, people! You do, I do, my husband does. We have simply got to stop looking at Europe as a place we go once, and treat it like a restaurant we will visit again and again. You can order one entree this time, and something else the next. You can enjoy your favorite salad time and again. We are unlimited in our ability to travel, but we must overcome our profound desire to ruin our vacations by either (a) not focusing our pleasure on 1-2 great locations at a time or (b) giving into the overwhelm and not going at all.

So what are YOUR thoughts on our Europe trip?? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below!

Ciao Chow!