My style of independent travel goes all the way back to my military service in Japan during the 1950s. Actually, my first memory of a one-day trip from home was even earlier, when my dad took me to the New York World's Fair in 1939 — where I marveled at those wonders to come. There were other early trips, too, usually by trolley car, bus, or steam train as we didn't have a car during the Great Depression or World War II.
A trip to England in 1975 really changed my life. I was over there on an ill-conceived quest to try my hand at movie making when I discovered that writing about travel destinations was much more to my liking than filming them. This got me started on the Great Trips / Europe project of creating brochure-guides for one-day adventures, described elsewhere on this blog.
Out of that experience came the opportunity to write travel guide books with a daytrips theme for a long-established New York publisher, Hastings House.
This is how I make the point in my Daytrips guidebooks:
"The word "Daytrip" may not have made it into dictionaries yet, but for experienced independent travelers it represents the easiest, most natural, and often the least expensive approach to exploring a fresh new destination from a fixed base, such as a major city.
While not the answer to every travel situation, daytrips offer significant advantages over point-to-point touring following a set plan. Here are a dozen good reasons for considering the daytrip approach:
- Freedom from the constraints of a fixed itinerary. You can go wherever you feel like going whenever the mood strikes you.
- Freedom from the burden of luggage. Your bags remain in your hotel while you run around with only a guidebook and camera.
- Freedom from the anxiety of reservation foul-ups. You don't have to worry each day about whether that night's lodging will actually materialize.
- The flexibility of making last-minute changes to allow for unexpected weather, serendipitous discoveries, changing interests, new-found passions, and so on.
- The flexibility to take breaks from sightseeing whenever you feel tired or bored, without upsetting a planned itinerary. Why not sleep late in your base city for a change?
- The opportunity to sample different travel experiences without committing more than a day to them.
- The opportunity to become a "temporary resident" of your base city. By staying there for a week or so you can get to know it in depth, becoming familiar with the local restaurants, shops, theaters, night life, and other attractions — enjoying them as a native would.
- The convenience of not having to hunt for a hotel each day, along with the security of knowing that a familiar room is waiting back in your base city.
- The convenience of not having to pack and unpack your bags each day. Your clothes can hang in a closet where they belong, or even be sent out for cleaning.
- The convenience (and security!) of having a fixed address in your base city, where friends, relatives, and business associates can reach you in an emergency. It is often difficult to contact anyone who changes hotels daily.
- The economy of staying at one hotel on a discounted longer-term basis, especially with airline package plans. You can make reservations for your base city without sacrificing any flexibility at all.
- The economy of getting the most value out of a railpass. Daytripping is ideally suited to rail travel since the best train service operates out of base-city hubs. This is especially true in Europe.
Above all, daytrips ease the transition from tourist to accomplished traveler. Even if this is your first trip abroad, you can probably handle an uncomplicated one-day excursion on your own. The confidence gained will help immensely when you tackle more complex destinations, freeing you from the limitations of guided tours and putting you in complete control of your own trip."
They're all available from Amazon. To get there, just click on their ad in the left column, then enter Daytrips under Books on their main page.