The Two Activities Rule

“It has too many notes.” -Amadeus (1984)

I tend to plan fairly active vacations. Reading my itineraries, some people have commented that they’ll need a vacation after doing all that! Take my planned upcoming Africa trip as an example.

  • Sightseeing tour of Istanbul, Turkey including the famous Blue Mosque
  • Mingling and swimming with penguins in the wild
  • Visit Nelson Mandela’s former prison cell
  • Two winery visits and tastings of world famous South African wines
  • Swimming with Great White sharks
  • Historic train ride across South Africa
  • Stops at two historic railroad stations
  • Full day daytime safari
  • Three hour evening safari
  • Two days in Greece including the Acropolis and the Parthenon
  • Tours of at least two additional stopover destinations
  • Visits to more than half a dozen countries on two different continents

All in just 15 days.

But if you look, you’ll count only a dozen major activities. That’s less than one activity per day.

My rule is to generally book no more than two activities per day; a morning/midday activity and an afternoon/evening activity. Only on very rare occasions, when fixed schedules dictate that it’s unavoidable, do I plan more than two activities per day on the trips and tours I put together.

I also take into account the preferences and fitness level of those for whom I’m planning.

For instance, I have a friend who is very fit and active in her everyday life. In vacation she prefers just the opposite. On a one week vacation, she might like one very active day and all the remaining days left more or less wide open for lounging. She might spend each of those days swimming or shopping or drinking frozen drinks poolside.

For someone who wanted an extreme adventure tour, I might plan out something considerably more active. Another friend is looking for just such an off-the-beaten path adventure. She doesn’t want extreme sports or an adrenaline rush, but does want something that will get her moving. One of the ideas we’re kicking around is a five day hike up the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. I’ve also proposed a horseback riding tour across Mongolia in the footsteps of Gengis Khan or a bicycle tour of Bolivia.

Those are the extremes. My tours, honed by my own personal experience, are active enough to be exciting and memorable but not so active as to be exhausting.

If you want to join me in Africa this winter, feel free to reach out to me and let me know. Or maybe Africa is not your speed but you have other travel plans or are just curious what I could craft for you and your own personal travel style. In that case, reach out to me anyway. Even if you ultimately decide to book it yourself or to go elsewhere. I love doing this stuff!

Whatever your travel style, tell your friends about me! (Please.)
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