As a couple traveling the world together, we often catch ourselves wanting to do different things when we travel. It turns out we are not alone. Author Deanna Keahy explains to us How Men and Women Travel Differently and why it might not be a bad idea to let the sexes do their own thing.
What do you think: Should couples travel independently at least once a year? Share your thoughts in the comments.
How Men and Women Travel Differently
by Deanna Keahey
Men are always asking, “What do women want”? The answer, of course, is everything, plus a vacation that doesn’t include sleeping on the ground, killing one’s own dinner, or seats in the bleachers at some sporting event. Face it – we know men and women are different, so why do we plan all our trips together? Unless it’s your honeymoon (in which case you really should go together), it might be best if both sexes took at least one trip each year without their significant other. Why? Because you might actually enjoy yourselves more.
Men and women want different things from vacations. Many men like to spend their free time watching, or participating in, sporting events. When given a choice between a VIP experience at a major sporting event such as the Super Bowl, front-row seats to a Rolling Stones concert, an entertainment event like the Grammy Awards that includes schmoozing with celebrities, or a week in Paris, an overwhelming number of men chose the sporting event.
According to a recent study, only 16% would prefer a week in Paris. In other words, men would rather make a pilgrimage to the holy site of Notre Dame in Indiana than the Notre Dame cathedral in France. The same study showed that only 6% of women would choose the sporting event over the other choices. Even stranger is why someone spent money on this survey to tell us the obvious. Duh!
Alas, surveys abound about what men and women want from a trip, and since we’re all unique, we all want different things. However, cliches are cliches for a reason – usually there’s some truth to them. For instance, it is widely believed that women who travel want to see the world in relative comfort and safety, perhaps from the edge of a pool or beach chair, with some shopping thrown in for good measure. Men, on the other hand, are seen as rugged and macho, forgoing the niceties of a five star resort in favor of hitting the road and winging it with nothing but a backpack, their thumb, and maybe a change of underwear, if they think they’ll need it.
Many women would like to travel fast and loose like the men, but then they run the risk of being considered fast and loose. Fact is, a woman traveling alone could run into serious problems, depending on her destination. It’s easier for men to visit more places and have more experiences while traveling solo, because they don’t have to worry so much about where they sleep at night, who’s driving the car they just got into, and who thinks they’re “easy” because they’re American. Women travelers have to consider the consequences of everything they do, from how short their dress is, to the neighborhood where the hotel is located, to whether they should pack briefs of thongs.
That being said, men and women often enjoy similar experiences when traveling in major cities like Tokyo, New York, or Chicago. Additionally, most cities in Western Europe are considered safe for women traveling alone or with friends, because public transportation is fairly safe, English is often spoken, and European women have many of the same rights as their American counterparts. If your travel plans include places further from the beaten path or considered higher risk, you may want to go with a travel group for added safety.
On an emotional level, many women view travel as a means for personal growth, and they seek out experiences that will afford meaningful contact with people from other cultures. They want recipes for the local cuisine and souvenirs created by regional artisans, factors which aren’t always valued as highly by men.
Because men tend to be more competitive than most women, their travel experiences also tend to have clear goals. For example, both men and women may want to hike to the top of a mountain, but men want to reach the peak in record time while women don’t care how long it takes, placing more importance on enjoying the sights along the way. In the end, the slow way may let you get more out of a trip, because travel (like life), is best viewed as a journey rather than a destination.
Deanna Keahey writes a blog on Cool Travel Ideas and exotic destinations around the world. If you’re looking for travel inspiration, check it out!
She is also a contributor to Best Travel Clothes, a site where you’ll find the best selection of travel clothes and accessories for men and women. Wherever your next adventure takes you, you’ll find what you need here.
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