Wandering into the Wall Street Journal

For those of you who read the WSJ, there’s an article in the Weekend Journal section of tomorrow’s print edition that talks about the changing dynamic of vacations.  Specifically, it seems that vacations are becoming shorter for many, and travel companies are altering their offerings to accommodate that pattern.  This means hotels are waiving minimum stay requirements and tour operators are doing more in less time, all in hopes of wooing the ever thinning ranks of leisure travelers.

A three-night China tour will kick off in July with a 5 a.m. wake-up call. Travelers will take in a solar eclipse (astronomer provided) on Mount Emei, followed by visits to a Giant Buddha statue, an embroidery workshop, an opera (performer interviews included) and meetings with families, students and baby pandas. Seventy-two hours later, it will be time to head home.

Tour operator Remote Lands, whose shortest China tours used to be five or six days, is one of many vacation companies putting its trips on fast-forward. This year, travelers can book a one-night Caribbean spring break trip, or a two-day African safari. Hotels and resorts are throwing out the minimum-stay requirements that used to widen their profit margins, and admitting guests who only want to stay a night or two

And I managed to be one of the examples cited in the article.  I’m actually the very last example, but still, I’m there.  Apparently my 36 hour trip to Trinidad and Tobago was just crazy enough to get me a column inch at the very end of an article in the WSJ.

Seth Miller started taking short trips a year or two ago, to save money and fit his travel within limited vacation time restraints. Last week, the 31-year-old IT consultant from New York went to Trinidad and Tobago, leaving on Saturday and returning Monday morning. "It basically left me on the ground for about 36 hours, then you figure, scratch 12 hours for sleeping," he says.

Mr. Miller spent Sunday morning on Tobago, snorkeling and wandering around the island, and then flew to Trinidad. He hoped to catch some pre-Carnival parties, but his timing didn’t coincide with any, so he ended up watching the Super Bowl at a local bar. "You roll with what happens and take it in stride," he says. Next morning, he returned to New York.

There is also discussion of a three day trip to Costa Rica or a seven day Ecuador trip, including some time in the Galapagos (we could fit them in on our five day trip two years ago).  Those trips don’t really seem that short to me, but I know I’m not the norm in that sense. 

Looking forward, I’ve got a few more similar trips planned already for this year, including Rome for four days, Belize for six days, Panama for three days and an overnight to Florida.  There’s also a yet to be scheduled weekend in Germany in November that may include a hop-scotch tour of Scandinavian airports, too.  Of course, I’ve also got a normal two week vacation planned for the summer, so all the trips aren’t this way.  It is good to have balance in that sense.

I’ve now been covered by the NY Times and the WSJ.  I wonder if I can get myself into the Post or Daily News somehow other than the police blotter…

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.