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eiffel tower paris france happy couple travel travelersThis week, the New York Times reported on an emerging trend in America: that spending money on experiences is more rewarding — and contributes to greater consumer happiness — than spending money on material goods.

For those of us who love to travel, this is hardly a revolutionary idea. Sure, a vacation may last only 7 or 10 days, but the photos and the memories (not to mention those oft-embellished anecdotes about haggling in Honduras or getting hopelessly lost in a Moroccan medina) last a lifetime. Why wouldn’t we spend money on a trip to someplace new instead of some high-tech gadget that will be outdated within a year?

But while most of us globetrotters can agree that the experience of traveling beats sitting at home on a brand-new couch, the reality of a satisfying and memorable trip is a little different for everyone. For some travelers, there’s nothing better than spending a week hiking in the backcountry without seeing another soul. For others, it’s being invited to join a local family for a home-cooked meal, drifting in a hot-air balloon above a patchwork of Napa vineyards, or seeing the Sistine Chapel for the first time.

What kinds of travel experiences speak to you? What’s your most vivid memory from your travels?

5 Responses to “New Sofa: $900. Visiting a New Country: Priceless”

  1. SeaMarmot says:

    Here’s a quick one … The place: O’Briens Holiday Lodge in Cashel, Ireland. The colors: Blue (sky), green (pastureland), gray (ruins of nearby Hore Abbey) and white (intermittent clouds, farm terrier named Holly). The mystical experience: The old white terrier said something in Gaelic and nodded to us to follow her to the abbey … so we did, wandering down a dirt path to the quiet site. Very atmospheric place where the past seems to seep through the rocks. The only other visitors were the cows (everyone was at the Rock of Cashel, the town’s most popular magnet). I laid on the alter stone.

  2. Pemberton says:

    Some of the most memorable occurrences from my travels have been free (not including the related costs of airfare, accommodations, etc.). Noteworthy memories include reading on a bench by a busy canal in Amsterdam on a beautiful summer day, and looking out my window at the Statue of Liberty (so close!) on a cruise out of New York. It seems like it’s the small things, the free things and the quiet, reflective moments that make the biggest impact on one’s memory — at least for me. I forget about day-to-day material purchases so often that I’m usually surprised by what’s on the bank statement when it arrives in the mail.

  3. Linda says:

    For me it’s always somewhere warm overlooking the ocean. So my cruises to the Caribbean, Mexico, Bahamas and Panama Canal are the standouts. I also love it when I’ve experienced something I’ve never seen or done before. For example, parasailing in Mazatlan, snorkelling in Barbados, ziplining in Puerto Vallarto. There is nothing better than sitting out the back of a cruise boat in balmy warm weather watching the sailaway at sunset sipping on a pre-dinner drink. I also love swimming under waterfalls-Hawaii, St Vincents and Darwin(not a cruise in Darwin though)Feeling the water pounding on your back has to be the best feeling and best back massage ever. Coming from the southern hemisphere there is nothing better than stepping of the plane and feeling warm after escaping our Winter. Therefore tropical destinations and cruises for me.

  4. Dwayne says:

    We saved for a year for our second cruise (Celebrity Solstace)to the western caribbean. I video taped (and photographed) the trip, and later, made it into a DVD “movie”. Because of our financial staus (Self-employed), we are suffering through this recession.
    I can’t tell you how many times I have watched that DVD. During my hours of dispair…my memories of that cruise (as well as our first one)have helped me make it through. I sell those “Hi-tech” gadgets that the article mentions….and I will have to say…I will take another cruise, over my toys, any day!!

  5. At the age of 68, still beautiful as I am now at 80; I decided to take a 4 week rental car and travel France; using my Michelin Guide to get me hotels and clean restaurants, I landed in St. Tropez at a charming shabby place with a very hands-on proprietor. Amongst the guests were cameramen, models, paraphenalia in the lobby. At bkfast, I asked the beautiful people where the best beach was and they told me and all the rules etc and said they were shooting there and “we’ll see you” Before settling into my lounge chair I decided to have lunch. I gave my name and was told 2 hours wait. All of a sudden I heard my name Lillie, Lillie, Lillie come with us Lillie, Lillie and this short cute Berkeley Woman became the talk of the beach because I spent my afternoon with the “beautiful” People. Itruly felt as though I metamorphosized into Catherine Deneuve.

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